People have always said “nice guys finish last” and Hollywood certainly seems to agree. Who hasn’t noticed that the kinder men in the movies are constantly being edged out by the less-likable ones, particularly when they’re forced to compete for the heroine’s affections? Those Hollywood storylines make for great entertainment, but maybe there’s more to it than that.
Personalities Affect Earnings
Scientists have long since determined that people’s personalities (along with a great many other factors) affect their earning potential. However, a recent study by Harvard Business Review found out that hardworking, outgoing men with disagreeable personalities generally earn more than their peers.
It not really surprising that extroverts tend to earn more money than people with quieter personality types. After all, most companies require their employees to be able to handle at least a modicum of human interaction and managers who handle numerous underlings typically make more than regular employees.
Nor is it shocking that hardworking, well-organized individuals are more likely to get ahead than others. Who doesn’t admire that coworker in every office who always seems to have everything together, at least on the surface?
However, it is a bit odd that guys who score in the top 20 percent when it comes to agreeableness earn less than other men after they’ve reached their thirties. This factor reaches its peak when men hit their forties and continues until they reach their sixties.
Males on the higher rungs of the education ladder seem to benefit even more from having disagreeability as a character trait than individuals who merely hold a bachelor’s degree. Of course, agreeable people and men, in particular, are less likely to be employed in leadership positions. But otherwise, women are immune to this effect.
Personalities Affect Relationships
Another issue that often falls under this same header is the aforementioned fact that (at least in fiction) women seem to be overly attracted to guys who are certifiable jerks.
An article in Psychology Today suggests that this could have a lot to do with the actual meaning of the word "nice" when it’s used in certain circumstances. After all, the term is often used as a polite way to suggest that a woman isn’t interested in a particular guy. Therefore, being termed nice could have negative connotations in romantic situations that it wouldn’t normally have.
Studies have nonetheless proved that women would rather date nice guys over normal guys or ones who are jerks, even those who are better looking. The good news here is that kind individuals are perceived to be intelligent and more interested in commitment. But they’re also considered to less attractive, less experienced, and less assertive than their peers. They are also the men that women typically seek out for long-term relationships.
However good-looking, wealthy, and generally "flashy" (but possibly obnoxious) males tend to do better when it comes to one-night stands and other short-term arrangements. Once source even referred to this group as the "selfish" guys.
Although the findings suggest that there seems to be something of a trade-off when it comes to attractiveness versus kindness, they don’t accurately show the whole picture. Socially adaptable, nice guys scored higher than their peers when it came to attractiveness and date-worthiness. However, these individuals had to prove they were kind, presumably through altruistic behaviors, in order for their social skills to have any effect on their rankings.
What’s Really Valuable?
Perhaps the truth is those nice guys might not do so well when it comes to scoring points at the office. But they’re more likely to score a relationship that lasts. After all, as some article readers have pointed out, someone’s salary isn’t the grand sum of everything.
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