“You’re a nice guy”.
Just like that, a dagger went through my heart. I knew all my chances of romantically connecting with her evaporated like a cloud of stardust.
Actually, they had been long gone before. She was just trying to tell me she didn’t see me in a romantic light at all.
I was hopeless and clueless most of my life when it came to women. I didn’t know what made a man attractive, so I started off by being “nice”. It worked once in 8th grade, and it worked once in high school. But, it ended up having a dismal track record throughout the rest of my life.
This nice guy behavior continued through part of my adult life. I thought women wanted men that were “nice”. After all, I would always hear about women complaining about the assholes and douchebags they were seeing. By being nice, they would see the “light” and choose me instead of going back to the jerk that they still felt an emotional pull towards, right?
We all know how this story ends up…
It took a lot of fuck-ups with dating women, bad relationships, and being stepped over for me to realize being “nice” wasn’t doing me any good. So, I thought I would be an asshole. I failed miserably at that because that just wasn’t my personality type. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I failed miserably at that because that just wasn’t my personality type. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t.
The problem wasn’t being nice. It was the intentions behind why I was being nice.
That is what is fundamentally the issue for guys with nice guy syndrome: They are nice for all the wrong reasons.
Let’s dive into what makes up a nice guy and how it hinders them in life.
Nice Guy Syndrome: Are you a nice guy?
For women you’re attracted to:
- Do you compliment them excessively and put them on a pedestal?
- Do you always buy them dinner and gifts in hopes she’ll start to “feel that way towards you”?
- Do you always agree with what she’s saying and are afraid to rock the boat?
- Are you always available whenever she texts, calls, or needs something from you?
- Are you unable to say “no” to what she asks?
- Do you put up with bad behavior from her such as:
- her texting and flirting with other men (assuming you two are together)
- emotional tantrums
- gaslighting (her blaming you for something that isn’t your fault)
- immature demands
Does it make your blood boil how these women are always dating assholes / jerks, complain about them, yet never consider you as a romantic choice?
If most or any of these applied to you, chances are you suffer from nice guy syndrome.
For platonic relationships:
- Are you usually the butt of jokes?
- Are you always being nice and doing things for other people because you feel like you have to prove your worth?
- Do you end up doing things for other people even when you don’t want to and become resentful?
- Do you find it difficult to assert yourself when someone’s behavior or words make you feel uncomfortable?
If most or any of these applied to you, chances are you suffer from nice guy syndrome.
Being a nice guy is a stifling state to be in. You feel like you’re giving so much to others, but getting so little in return. Everyone seems to walk over you (friends, family, women), and this makes you feel a huge sense of injustice.
Nice Guy Syndrome: Behaviors
Nice guy syndrome behavior 1: People-pleasers
Men with nice guy syndrome are people-pleasers. They will bend over backward to do things for other people, especially women they are attracted to. They will give, give, give until there’s nothing left. But, this behavior is far from benevolent due to the intention behind it: Nice guys will try to please everyone because they believe that’s the only thing they are good for.
Men with nice guy syndrome believe they have to constantly prove they are worthy of love, companionship, and affection otherwise people will abandon them. This is one of the reasons nice guys also fall into relationships with emotionally damaged and manipulative women. These women find nice guys an ego boost (compared to their asshole ex), use them to mend their hearts, and relish in the power to control someone who is at their beck and call.
Nice guy syndrome behavior 2: Gifts with strings attached
Nice guys give gifts with strings attached. What they do or give is not rooted in genuine appreciation and care for the other person. They give because they believe that’s all they’re good for. They also believe that giving will cause the other side to reciprocate the way they want. Other people usually don’t reciprocate because they can’t read the nice guy’s mind and/or they are repelled by the nice guy’s behavior. Something just feels off. This ends up with the nice guy stewing in anger and resentment.
Nice guy syndrome behavior 3: Passive-Aggressive / Indirect Behavior
Men with nice guy syndrome avoid confrontation and asserting themselves like the plague. They believe they deserve all the love, respect, and sex they should get in their mind due to “all they’ve done” for other people. But, they are uncomfortable being direct about getting their needs met when reality doesn’t match their expectations. This energy from their resentment & anger gets channeled into passive-aggressive, indirect behavior.
Examples of this behavior includes:
- condescending comments and remarks
- refusing to admit anything is wrong
- refusing to talk about what’s wrong
- whining & complaining
- bringing up the past to make the other person feel bad
- tit-for-tat behavior (i.e. taking longer to respond to her messages because she took a while to respond to you, flirting with other women because she flirted with other men etc.)
Bottom-line, nice guys are terrified of facing problems head-on. The anger and resentment they feel towards other people leaks out in many different, unhealthy manners. Over time, it may even build and cause them to explode in a fit of rage.
Nice guy syndrome behavior 4: Caretaking
Nice guys will often try to caretake other people’s emotions. This means they focus on other people’s emotions & problems and try to assume responsibility for them.
Caretaking is avoidant and selfish behavior. Nice guys caretake other people to avoid the discomfort in facing themselves (their needs and emotions) and to feel valuable by taking care of other people. Caretaking is also selfish because nice guys want something from other people (validation, sex, praise) instead of genuinely giving with no strings attached.
In a past relationship, I would often try to caretake my girlfriend’s emotions. I would incessantly listen to her complain about her ex-bf she still wasn’t over and do all sorts of things to help her get over him. I assumed the role of Captain Save-a-Ho because I was deathly scared of losing her. I was scared of being alone, and did not know when I would get another “hot girlfriend”. Losing her would be a fundamental blow to my identity of being able to date attractive women, and would make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. All the actions I took to caretake her were rooted in this fear.
Nice guy syndrome behavior 5: Hiding shameful behavior & compulsions
Nice guys have a deep sense of shame in who they are. Guilt is feeling bad about what you’ve done, but shame is about who you are. Men with nice guy syndrome believe they are not lovable unless they prove themselves somehow. Consequently, they are petrified of people seeing them do things that make them feel ashamed of themselves. They believe once people see these behaviors and actions, those individuals will no longer love, accept, or want to be with them.
As a consequence, guys with nice guy syndrome will cover-up all behaviors & results that they believe tarnishes their image. This originates from the following belief: “If people see me as I truly am, they won’t want to be with me. If they don’t want to be with me, that means I am worthless.”
Examples of cover-up behavior include:
- Trying to hide failures in their career life
- Trying to hide failures in their love life
- Trying to cover up the past (i.e. being bullied as a child, being a loner) because it makes them feel bad about themselves
- Lying about their achievements in their social, personal, career, relationships lives so they look good to others
Most nice guys struggle with sexually compulsive behavior as well. In today’s culture that unfairly measures masculinity by a man’s ability to get with women, nice guys feel hugely inferior and ashamed of where they’re at in their love lives. Many women are not attracted to them and/or their partners are not connecting with them sexually. This causes nice guys to act out through sexually compulsive behavior such as excessive porn watching, affairs, prostitutes, and excessive masturbation. This further reinforces the cycle of shame.
Nice Guy Syndrome: What causes it
At the root of nice guy syndrome is FEAR.
Fear of women. Fear of rejection. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of loss. Fear of not being able to pick yourself back up. All these fears ultimately tie down to the biggest fear that you are inherently unlovable and not good enough. This is a massive lie that is deeply embedded in the psyche of nice guys. Most (if not all) of guys with nice guy syndrome have low self-esteem.
That’s why it’s so hard for nice guys to walk away from an emotionally abusive relationship that clearly is going to go nowhere.
That’s why it’s so hard for nice guys to stand up for themselves when other people are walking over them.
That’s why it’s so hard for nice guys to advance in their career because they are deathly terrified of stepping up and potentially being exposed as “incompetent”.
Fear is also tied hand-in-hand with shame.
As mentioned earlier, nice guys feel fundamentally inferior to other people. They adopt performance-related behavior to prove they’re good enough. But, adopting this behavior actually reinforces their shame about being “inferior” to others. No matter their actions or achievements, nice guys never feel good enough because their actions are always rooted in trying to prove themselves instead of understanding they are already worthy individuals.
The vicious cycle of shame and fear continues, and the only way to win is to not play the game.
Nice Guy Syndrome: The perils of being a nice guy
Being a nice guy cripples you in every part of your life: love, friendships, career, and business.
Men with nice guy syndrome:
- settle in relationships with women they are not attracted to or with women who emotionally manipulate them
- stay with a group of friends that don’t push them to become a better man because they’re scared they won’t be able to make other friends
- tolerate being walked over by other people because they don’t believe they are worthy enough to stand up for themselves
- have a mediocre career because they are terrified of stepping up, which would force them to responsible for themselves and confront their fears of success and failure
- make little headway in their business (if start at all)
What you do in one thing is what you do in everything. Living life as a scared, nice guy means all aspects of your life will suffer until you learn how to break the chains of fear that bind you.
Tired of being a nice guy and want to actually get what you want in love, relationships, and health? Book a call with me to see how I can help you.