Sunday, November 02, 2008

The "Nice Guy" Continuum

I was taught in Services Marketing about the Goods-Services continuum and how goods and services are intertwined as shown below.

Now this is not a marketing lesson. Just establishing a base for a concept that i think draws a perfect parallel to this.

We have all heard the term "Nice guys finish last" tons of times. Why do you think that is so? If our hindi movies are to be believed, Acchai ki burai par hamesha jeet hoti hai(Being nice always wins over being bad). But still nice guys do finish last right? Ive got reasons for that.

Now the picture above shows the "Nice Guy Continuum". Being nice and being bad involves a very thin line. The only similarity with both of them is that they are at the bottom of the heap in their respective classes.

The Nice guy always has a Nicer guy above him. And the both of them have the Nicest guy above them at the top of the pile. He is the one who gets all the spoils. The best job, the best girl, the best car, the best popularity rankings etc etc. Ofcourse, to climb up this contimuum requires certain peculiar qualities. Intelligence, humlity, respect of other humans are trivial virtues present only in the "Nice" guy. These hold no value. The "Nicest" guy has money, good looks, kick ass attitude, shark - eat - shark instinct, suave mannerisms, ability to handle inflated egos of pretty women, not too much of a conscience etc etc. To move up the continuum these qualities are absolutely necessary and are savagely sought after.

The "Nice" guy is always only nice enough to be a "friend". He always gets lines like.."You are a great friend" or "I respect you (only) as a friend". There is always an only hidden somewhere. Since he is at the bottom of the heap, friend is the only way he can go. Hence he also gets lines like "I dont look at you in that way" etc etc. The "Nice" guy is the one you say you are with when you dont want to get into trouble with your parents for being out late.... He is also the guy with whom the girl's boyfriend trusts her to go out for a cup of coffee with... The "Nice" guy is always "safe" to be with! The nice the guy is the one whom you know you can stand up and still be sure he wont mind or get mad. Hes also the guy who you know wont mind if you forget to invite him for a party. The fact is that he is the guy who is, as John Rambo (In First Blood II) put it, expendable. It doesnt really make a difference whether hes there or not.

Now the Bad guy is also the worse of the lot. He sucks at being bad. He is the one who always get caught, busted, made the fall guy etc etc. He cant even be good at being bad! The Baddest are the ones who are pure evil, but without getting caught. They are the best at being bad! Dawood, Osama - Bin - Laden, Carlos etc etc. Being bad just aint as good as being the Worse!

So as you can see, the Nice guy is actually the loser of the pack. The phrase "Nice guy" is actually an euphemism meant to make the "Nice" guys feel good about themselves.

I think i know where in I lie in that continuum. To be honest, I'd love to be at the top of the pile atleast once. But some of those "qualities" needed to move "up" in life i just dont have! And some i think iam better off without.

"Nice guys finish last".... Ofcourse they do..The are ALREADY last!


Bindhast said...

i am surprized to see...i am the first one to comment on this post...very 'nicely' written....

Blue Eyed Devil said...

Lol..Thanks.. Maybe people dont agree with my obervations..;-)