Nice guys finish last, or do they? Actually, a new survey says “it depends.” Because there are some areas in life where nice guys do finish last, and others where they finish first. Here’s what the latest science shows, starting with when nice guys don’t win:

  • First, money. In a new 20-year study, Cornell researchers found that “agreeable” men make an average of $10,000 less per year than “aggressive” guys. One reason: Aggressive guys are more likely to assert themselves in salary negotiations, while nice guys tend to take the first offer they get. 

  • Nice guys also finish last with credit scores. In general, research shows that aggressive men have the best scores, and it boils down to the fact that nice guys have a hard time saying “no.” Meaning, they’re more likely to agree to co-signing loans for friends, or share their credit card with family members who default, and ruin their credit.

  • That’s also why nice guys are generally viewed as less competent. Management expert Robert Livingston says generosity, and unselfishness, are a “double-edged sword,” because while you’ll be admired for your kindness, compassion, and willingness to help. You’ll also be perceived as someone who lacks the guts to make tough decisions and be a strong leader

So, when do nice guys finish first?

  • For starters, they’re more likely to have better friends, who look out for their happiness, success, and well-being, and experts say this makes sense, because nice people tend to attract other nice people. 

  • Nice guys also finish first in health. Studies show that doctors spend more time treating and talking to patients they consider nice. 

  • And what happens when you’re a nice guy surrounded by good friends and good health? Several new studies say you’ve got three of the key traits linked to being a successful parent.