I’m a nice guy.
I’ve always been one.
One day, while looking online for flirt lines to use on women (you’ve also searched that, stop lying), somehow this term showed up — nice guy.
As you can guess, I read more and looked deeper into this new world and right there, that moment of realization opened a wide view of self-awareness and understanding how shit I was.
I started to realize why some good/bad things happened to me while (I thought) I was doing the right thing.
The truth slammed my face the way Fletcher throws a chair at Andrew in the movie Whiplash.
Apparently, I figured that due to the family and social conditioning, there is an abundance of nice guys. This made me a little comfortable. I’m not alone. But still, I have to do something about it.
Honestly, I consider that moment of realization a turning point of my life. It opened so many doors and most importantly, hope for self-improvement, which leads to you.
So, in this post, I will help you recognize how much of a nice guy you are, find the root cause, and how to be much less of it.
How to Find a Nice Guy?
Time to be serious. Real dead serious.
This is the time when you look through your life and be really honest while you read these ten statements. You may have to read them a couple more times until you really realize the truth.
Ready? Let’s go.
- You think that if you are good, giving, and caring with other people, you will be loved back, and have a problem-free life.
- You do a lot more than most guys, always giving so much, but you don’t get loved and appreciated enough.
- Fixing other’s problems first, instead of yours makes you happy.
- You don’t like to make your mistakes/faults visible and avoid doing things that have a risk of embarrassing yourself publicly. And you try to fix your mistakes as soon as possible, without letting anybody know.
- You fear/hate rejection, usually in relationships. It shakes your world and you take it really personally.
- You think this is a female or women’s world we are living in.
- While in a conversation, you prefer talking about things that make you look good, happy or perfect.
- You will do anything and/or quit anything to make your girlfriend/wife happy. Hence, making her happy is your biggest goal.
- You seek approval of women around you, especially your mother.
- You do more favors than you ask for.
If you agree with more than five of these statements, read till the end.
Remember, you may not necessarily have all, but some of the nice guy traits.
I have a checklist of this post in a nice little PDF form, click this button to download now:
When Will You Fully Overcome Nice Guy Syndrome?
I know this is not something you’d like to hear, since the title says "stop being a nice guy." But, it’s impossible and there is no need for that. Because it is a part of you as it has been programmed deeply within your brain.
The fact is, if you are an introvert man, you will always be one. It’s impossible to make yourself extrovert (if you think that’s a solution).
Does that mean, there is no need to improve if you’re always going to be a nice guy anyway? No.
Self-improvement is crucial. That’s how you level up your lifestyle, to be successful in every aspect of life.
Many people are afraid of the change, even though it makes the most difference. Promise me you won’t be like them.
What will happen is, in fact, you will continuously become less of a nice guy. Which will make you less of a loser over time. You will identify why you are not getting the love and value that you deserve from people.
Think of this nice guy behavior like a chronic disease (say Diabetes). It can never be fully cured, but you can control it to safer zone with regular (and conscious) care.
Because trying to be a perfect man and not a nice guy will make you even more of it. I’ll show you how and why there is no need to become one.
So, Do You have to Be Bad to Not Be a Nice Guy?
When we think of the opposite of nice, being/acting badly seems obvious. But, that's where many nice guys fail again. They try to be irresponsible, weird, and something they are not.
If you are a nice guy, that does not mean you don’t be nice to people. In fact, many nice guys have really bad behaviors and experiences.
See, being nice is not the problem. In fact, people (especially women) like kind and understanding men.
What sucks the most about nice guys is the belief that they are not okay just as they are. If they are good and do everything right, they will be loved, get their needs met, and have a problem-free life.
This is impossible. Life isn’t that straightforward and smooth. It’s a damn roller-coaster, with unpredictable twists and turns.
Doing everything right will NOT result in everything going right whatsoever.
Nice guys default to that belief. If life doesn’t work like it’s supposed to be, they try harder doing more of it.
Consequently, the situation worsens. They keep doing the same thing without getting results, and one day, they burst out their frustration and resentment that they’ve build up at others.
This cycle repeats again.
What Made You a Nice Guy?
All this started right when you were born. The kind of people and environment you were exposed to, shaped your paradigms.
A paradigm is like a map. Those paradigms make up our character and they tell you which decisions you need to make next.
Nice guys believe that if they live up to the expectations of others, usually parents, then they will become accepted as a man or boy and will be loved. And when their needs aren’t met, they believe that it’s their fault.
The world wants something that they are not. The belief that there is something lacking with them when experienced in repetition, forms a paradigm.
To overcome or fix it, they try hard and create survival mechanisms.
Little nice guys, when they experience any kind of abandonment, think it’s their fault. To cope up, they try to prevent, hide, or fix this perceived badness from everyone.
The parents are responsible for those abandonments. Here’s how:
- Either the parents are not good providers, don’t pay enough attention, or
- they are too demanding, wanting their kid to become what they think is “ideal” or “perfect,” or
- by making them believe that “being yourself” or “being masculine” is a bad thing.
A common scenario is when boys have bad fathers or are separated from their fathers and other male role models, and left to be raised by women.
Women only teach their perspective of masculinity, which is merely masculine, more feminine. Hence, nice guys become dependent on women and seek their approval. To get their needs met and loved back, nice guys hide masculine traits, which women usually label as “bad.”
Young men when only raised by women (not all mothers are same, by the way), may seem ideal or perfect, but when exposed to the real world, they become even more weak, extremely needy, and simply self-destructing living beings.
You First, Else Last
The very first habit you have to build to recover from this, as Dr. Robert Glover calls, “nice guy syndrome” is to prioritize yourself over others.
Not sometimes, but 99 out of 100 times.
See, if somebody wants you to do something and it doesn’t benefit you on a personal level, say no. You can’t do it and there is no need.
It doesn’t matter if they hate, break ties with you, think that you are selfish, or whatever, say that you have some other personal thing to do and you’re busy.
You and Your Invisible Contracts
See, I have done things for others that literally had nothing to do with me for which (I thought) I was going to get something in return. Turned out, they were clearly using me for their own benefit. And I realized how much of an idiot I was.
Hear me when I say, I’m not saying you don’t have to be kind and giving and all that good stuff. But, you have to understand what their intentions are.
The great part is that, when you say “no” to people, you will lose some worthless people, which is great. If they still stick around, more likely they are good people that you should surround yourself with.
It might seem like a big thing to say no, but you need to ask yourself, what is that worst that could possibly happen?
Let me tell you, only good things.
They will try again and you will reject again. Then, they will find somebody else to do what they want or do it by themselves, or whatever. Their headache. Why do you care?
It’s not a big deal. Just say no already!
Most importantly, even if you are doing things for them and if their intentions are good, don’t expect anything in return. The invisible contract that “If I do this for you, then you will do this for me,” this only exists to yourself.
If you say “I love you,” don’t expect others to say it back. Whenever somebody says something good to me, I treat it as a bonus.
The fact is, nobody gives a fuck about you. Nobody. So, should you.
What about Family, Relatives, and Close Friends?
You have to be extra “no-no” on them. Because they are those people who you’d want to have your back on when the times are tough.
You will realize, whether or not they actually care about you and love you for you.
Nice Guys are Great Caretakers, But Worst at Caring
Nice guys love people with flaws and those who might need some fixing and caretaking. Do you know why? Because they are flawed. Like attracts like.
They think that fixing others’ problems makes them more important and get their needs met. Apparently, doing so avoids them getting their own problems fixed.
You create more problems for yourself when you try to fix the unhappy, unfortunate, and people with problems, even though you are excellent at fixing.
The most important step is to identify whether you are caretaking someone. Caretaking is when you do a lot more things for them than they do for you. Like showing affection, giving gifts, cooking them food, giving advice, encouraging them, paying their bills, and even buying houses.
Once you’ve identified, stop caretaking and let them handle their shit.
Your Needs are Always a Priority
Become selfish and self-centered.
I know, I’ve been saying things that might get you pissed off. But, the sooner you understand, the better.
“Are you serious? I’ve got a wife, kids, a job, and bills to pay. How can I be selfish and not look after my family?”
See, that’s the problem with a typical nice guy. Due to your childhood and past conditions, your needs weren’t met, and you believed that it is bad to have your own needs.
We, humans, have our needs and wants. The belief, if you hide your needs then no one will abandon you, in return makes you extremely needy.
This makes you poor and uncomfortable at receiving. You are so busy helping others and doing it right, that you don’t let others do things for you.
Do Things that Directly Benefit You
If you asked me for one thing that you must learn and start doing right now, it is to put yourself first and make your needs a priority.
Exercise and go to the gym. Eat quality food. Get enough sleep. Hang out with your male friends (highly recommended). Buy new clothes. Read books. Listen to music (my favorite habit to distract myself from others). Visit a place that you’ve always wanted.
You will become less needy and more attractive. Because people (especially women) like men who care about themselves more than anybody. It shows you are strong and powerful.
Moreover, this will benefit people around you. Those unnecessary arguments, guessing games, invisible contracts, and resentment will be gone.
Simply putting, the world will revolve around you, not you around them.
You are Not a Chameleon, Stop Acting Like One
In order to be liked, nice guys become anything they can to please people, or what they think people want them to be. Nevertheless, they often end up being nothing.
Looking good, being smart, respecting others, marrying an attractive woman, being nice, dressing well, owning nice things, etc., are such things they often use to seek approval. They believe that these things give them identity and value.
Because being good and doing it right makes them feel valuable and compensates for their belief that they are bad.
The truth is, these things have nothing to do with who you are as a person.
At the same time, nice guys so empty from inside that they fear if someone really got to know them. That’s why they tend to manipulate others and hide their flaws.
Why Nice Guys Seek Women’s Approval
As nice guys are validation seekers, they interpret a woman’s approval as the ultimate validation of their value.
Sexual availability is the ultimate form of acceptance. But, if she’s depressed, in a bad mood, or angry, nice guys think it’s their fault, i.e., she is not accepting them. So, they must do something quickly to fix it, by offering solutions, manipulating, lying, sacrificing themselves, or caretaking.
Hence, her mood sets the tone of the relationship. His mood is insignificant.
A nice guy puts his woman on a pedestal, giving her the power to define him, his worth, and the relationship. If she says, “you’re a jerk,” he will probably believe her.
First, nice guys put their women on a pedestal, and then they claim to love them the most. But, when nice guys don’t receive the love they expect, they express violent anger.
Manipulating and Hiding Behavior
I had always believed that if I break something, forget doing something, do something wrong, be late, show I’m sad, depressed, or in pain, someone was going to be angry and hate me.
Even as little as getting my clothes dirty would frighten me, that my mother will get angry (which she doesn’t).
So, I’d try my best to hide, or cover up as soon as possible. As I got older and until that moment of realization, I learned that it is okay to make mistakes and not cover them up.
It is okay to be hurt, be sad, be ashamed, make mistakes, break shit up, and show vulnerability because I’m a human. And humans are imperfect.
Nice guys pride themselves on being honest, loyal, and trustworthy, but they’re the worst at it.
- tell a partial truth,
- be extra good and caring to distract others from their flaws,
- fix without letting others know that they broke something,
- prevent others from getting closer, or
- make others look bad.
Nice guys so badly want to look perfect that they fail to show humanity. People connect by sharing emotions, experiences, and one’s life, which are imperfect.
When and Where Nice Guys Seek Other’s Approval
Identification is always the first step.
Consciously observe your behavior and make a list of those things (see above for examples) you use to get approval from others.
Stop doing those things for at least a month. When you do this, you will try very hard to get external validation. But, you have to resist it and notice why do you feel the need to get external approval.
During the month, you will notice that no one really cares why you stopped doing those things.
While you are realizing that, also change your beliefs about yourself. If you think you aren’t worth much, build it. Start doing things that directly benefit you (we’ve already covered how).
Prioritizing your needs will make you believe that you are worth more.
You might feel anxious, uncomfortable, confused, or frightened. No matter how frightening it feels, keep doing it. Your beliefs will change over time.
Remember, the monsters are inside your head, not under the bed.
Seek the Approval of the Only Person Who Really Matters
Once I started learning about recovering from nice guy and improving my lifestyle, I read a lot of books and consumed content online, which forced me to think about myself and my behavior.
I spent so much of my time alone studying, thinking, and doing my own thing. And I avoided talking to people other than 2-3 important people. There was no reason to win people’s approval, hide my faults and mistakes.
I did whatever I wanted, whenever.
While being alone (I still spend a significant amount of time alone), I learn so much about me, my life, and life in general that nobody, not even my school/college could teach me.
Go somewhere far alone, take a vacation, where no one knows you. Don’t be afraid and make unnecessary excuses, unless somebody’s going to get homeless. This activity must be treated with utmost priority.
Spending time alone doesn’t kill you. In fact, you will overcome that fear of loneliness and isolation. You will learn that there is no need to stay in bad or intolerable relationships, and have addictive habits like alcohol, sex, food, or keeping yourself unnecessarily busy.
Keep affirming yourself that you can handle it, you are strong, your needs are important, and it is okay to be imperfect and make mistakes.
When you go out alone, there’s nobody to take care of, question, ask, or get validation. There’s only you, the most important person.
Shed Your Chameleon Skin
Throughout my whole school life, I didn’t have many friends. And the ones I had, they were not so trustable.
I was the guy who’d usually sit alone, who never raised his hand, didn’t knew how to act around girls, and probably the least important guy in the classroom. The way I talked was weird and too shy.
The problem was not them, but me. If I don’t trust them, how can somebody trust me?
But, the solution is not to try to trust others more. It’s actually the opposite.
Not many people liked me, so I tried hard, which showed my needy side. Neediness is not attractive.
I improved when I did two things. First, I made a really good friend with whom I could share my reality, humanity. Second, I didn’t give a fuck what others thought.
(Not me and my friend in the picture.)
He understood me, I was comfortable with him, and I improved. It was, during my last years of school, when I shared a lot about myself more clearly and eventually made more, really good friends than I thought I would.
I shared my imperfections and they liked me because they are imperfect too.
The most important lesson I learned was that when you don’t care what your friends will think if you do something stupid, crazy, bad, or weird, you will become more comfortable around them and the friendship becomes stronger.
People can love you just as you are.
A Powerful & Masculine Man is What You Need to Become
There is no key to smooth life.
Nice guys believe that if they could do everything right then good things will happen. They believe that they are honest and loyal, but they are fundamentally dishonest.
As they always try to get women’s approval, they suppress those qualities that make them masculine thinking that they will be valued more.
They are weak when it comes to connecting with themselves on a personal level. This makes them bad at handling difficult situations that come their way in day-to-day life.
And, the number of nice guys who take care of themselves, exercise, and have a strong body is less.
Nice Guys Suck at Expressing Feelings
Nice guys hate being emotional. They hate anything emotional, their own feelings or everyone else’s. Some even hate watching emotional movies.
Because doing so makes them vulnerable. They think that it attracts negative attention, appears bad, or makes them feel abandoned.
Many times, I’ve learned that expressing my feelings doesn’t kill me. In fact, they make me even stronger. And these things take time.
See, feelings are an integral part of life. You become more of a human when you express them in front of people you trust.
Feeling angry, sad, anxious, happy, helpless, etc., is normal. When you share and let go of a lifetime of unnecessary baggage, you feel more energetic, connected with yourself and life.
Fear & Dishonesty is the Killer
I’ve always tried to play it safe.
Why? Because of fear of looking bad and messing things up. To prevent it, I’ve avoided doing anything or telling the truth, that might make me look bad.
I’ve noticed that, by not telling the truth and lying to others, you make those people less important, even if you say you love them. Because lying feels negative and when it is associated with people, you try to avoid those people.
See, fear is normal. By playing it safe, you are unnecessarily suffering yourself.
Instead, decide to defeat that fear and handle it like a man. Say to yourself repeatedly that, “No matter what happens, I will handle it.”
Most importantly, develop integrity. Do what you think is right, without any need of hiding/lying from others.
Don’t Be a Doormat
Nice guys have a serious problem. They let anybody push them back by letting others in and tolerate the intolerable, to avoid conflict or upset them.
They believe if they do so, the other person will quit pushing and everything will be smooth. But, it rarely ever happens.
It is really important to set boundaries, which is not about getting other people different but getting ourselves to be different. If someone crosses boundaries, it is your problem.
Take responsibility for how you let others treat you. If something or someone seems intolerable, don’t tolerate and be clear about the restrictions.
It does not matter if they get upset. Later, you will see that it gives them the opportunity to behave differently.
Let go of others’ problems and associating them with yourself. Care about people, but let them handle their problems. It is their headache.
Lack of Masculine Traits
Nice guys always try to suppress their aggressive, destructive and brutal sides.
Because these traits frighten us and most women, we limit these traits to win women’s approval. And complain, why women are attracted to jerks or bad boys (because they are more masculine).
As a result, nice guys lose other masculine aspects like strength, courage, discipline, leadership, ego, integrity and power.
Due to that fear of appearing too controlling and upsetting their partners, nice guys lack the leadership qualities that their families need. Consequently, the leading job is taken by the wives by default.
Nice guys tend to be disconnected from other men, especially their fathers. They think that other men are jerks and are not comfortable with them. This is not good.
What they do instead, they stay deeply connected to their mothers in adulthood. This inhibits their connection with other women (and men). Because women don’t like men who try to please them. They want a man who pleases himself.
All these things are a result of poor parenting.
Don’t Forget Your Father & Other Men
Surround yourself with four successful people and you’ll become the fifth.
The same way, you can become more masculine. Spend more time with your father and male friends. A lot.
But, this is not that easy. Because it requires time, effort, taking risks, being vulnerable, and doing things that most guys do.
To be less monogamous to your mother, the solution is not to avoid your mother, but you need to spend more time with men, especially your father.
How many times do you talk to him? It doesn’t matter how good/bad/unavailable he is. Confront him, talk, and ask him a ton of questions.
Maybe, he is not what you think he is. Or maybe, he is not a villain that you mother has portrayed.
Spending more time with him will help you discover what it means to be a man and be masculine. There are many qualities that you both share.
Be in a gang. Doing anything that requires teamwork like sports, discussion groups, volunteering, or just hanging out with your gang does the job.
With men, your gang, there is no need to please, lie, or caretake anybody. Instead, you embrace your masculinity.
No Need to Be Perfect
Being vulnerable is not when you share your sobbing sad stories. It means that you share/do things that do not make you look perfect.
Perfection is boring as fuck.
I’d rather be embarrassed/controversial than getting ignored. Because it makes you interesting and gets people to talk about you more often. And you know that people only talk about people who are different and seem interesting enough.
That makes you important.
If you noticed, I’ve been vulnerable many times in this post. I shared my personal stories that I rarely ever talk about on a regular basis. And I’m pretty sure, you were more indulged when I did.
The question is, are you willing to share yours?
Also, I made a checklist long time ago that I used to overcome this nice guy syndrome. I'm giving it away for free: