Nice Guy Syndrome: What it is and why you should kill it with fire

October 24, 2011 | 33 Comments » | Topics: Dating

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nice guy syndrome



A woman has a close male friend. This means that he is probably interested in her, which is why he hangs around so much. She sees him strictly as a friend. This always starts out with, you’re a great guy, but I don’t like you in that way. This is roughly the equivalent for the guy of going to a job interview and the company saying, You have a great resume, you have all the qualifications we are looking for, but we’re not going to hire you. We will, however, use your resume as the basis for comparison for all other applicants. But, we’re going to hire somebody who is far less qualified and is probably an alcoholic. And if he doesn’t work out, we’ll hire somebody else, but still not you. In fact, we will never hire you. But we will call you from time to time to complain about the person that we hired.

This reasoning right here is the epitome of “Nice Guy” thinking.

Basically a “Nice Guy” is someone who wonders why if they are so nice and good to women, why they won’t reciprocate (sleep with them)? The reason is: because they don’t have to, and no force in the world can change that. Let’s now get into the nitty-gritty of what’s wrong with being a “Nice Guy” (hereafter referred to as an NG).

Some quotes that are helpful:

Vulvarine posted:

I think it’s really important to distinguish between niceness and kindness. Kindness is a real, positive, desirable trait in a romantic partner. Niceness is just the ability to be inoffensive. Most women who don’t like “nice guys” are perfectly affable toward kind men as a dateable group.

Ionic posted:

One of the keys to understanding the Nice Guy vs. the clueless innocent is that the Nice Guy’s definition of himself as such is usually the result of repeated romantic failure and a resulting, crippling bitterness. The clueless innocents eventually bumble their way out of that stage. That’s the difference.

I don’t want to make this into more than it is, but I think many men fail to grasp exactly how uncomfortable and, potentially, vulnerable a woman can feel in the face of persistent attention, flattery, and the like.

It flies in the face of years and years of social conditioning to tell an outwardly “nice” man – one who has in no way technically threatened, harassed, or intimidated you – to “get the fcuk away, I’m not interested.” It’s one thing to tell off the drunk who’s trying to cop a feel on the subway (and even that isn’t always easy). But rejecting the friend who just won’t stop hanging around looking for more? It’s not a simple situation.

So, many women just don’t do it. Especially confident and assertive women can do it easily, but even a woman without self-esteem problems could understandably find it difficult to be ruthlessly direct in that situation. All too often, we opt for subtlety instead.

And that’s where the real problem with Nice Guys comes in. A regular guy would get the hint, see it as a matter of compatibility and not take it personally, then move on to someone more likely to return his interest. A Nice Guy, on the other hand, will stick around and attempt to wear you down. Often Nice Guys will pursue “‘hard luck’ cases” – women who are perhaps not the best-prepared to stand up for themselves.

And in the end, if the Nice Guy doesn’t get what he wants? He invents a scenario that makes his wasted effort a noble quest to overcome (what he tells himself) is his target’s shietty taste in men. Because admitting that he wasted his time pushing for something that was clearly never going to happen is just plain cognitively uncomfortable.

To sum up, the “perfect storm” that goes into creating a self-described Nice Guy is a mix of a sense of entitlement, a mark who is too kind and/or passive to outright reject the NG, and the NG’s persistence in the face of what many other individuals would recognize as subtle signals of mark’s disinclination to mate.

NG behaviour is manipulative. NGs basically do everything they can to ‘make’ someone fall for them in an underhanded way. It makes every “nice” act revolve around the ulterior goal of getting with ‘that’ girl. They do it so hard that it becomes a second nature and they’re not even conscious of it.

NG behaviour ultimately reduces women to objects. While they would vehemently deny it, NGs project all their romantic fantasies on one (or sometimes multiple, or successive) girls, which blinds them to the fact that these women are independent people.

NGs are not nice for the sake of being nice. They’re nice because they think they’ll get something in return. Granted that many people behave that way, but the Nice Guy often has a particularly bad case of this, which sometimes even veers straight into a type of co-dependency or creates a massive entitlement complex.

Most women and many men can sense that you’re a “Nice Guy”, and think it’s creepy. Also, it plain just doesn’t work. Even if you insist on having some sort of mathematical formula for “women like X, Y and Z so if I do that, I’ll get laid”, the Nice Guy Technique has appalling success rates.

Nobody likes assholes, and any women who says she prefers “bad boys” past age 25 is probably sort of broken herself. However, most women who end up with guys that have glaring flaws don’t date them because of their flaws. They end up dating them/sleeping with them because they are self-confident, have interesting stuff to say, are attractive or act like actual people instead of a scripted doormat. Also, maybe her SO is acting hostile towards you because he can sense your true motives.

One particular reason why the “friendship” between an NG and their ‘one true love’ or whatever is shallow and questionable is that NGs typically don’t go in against their object’s opinions (unless their position is threatened somehow), even if these are wrong or questionable. It’s pretty passive at best and sycophantic at worst.

NGs often describe themselves as being “nice”, and oddly enough, so do many people around them. Well, if the first thing that comes up in your mind, or in others’ if you need to be described, is “nice”, then you have a problem because it means you’re not particularly seen as having personality.


If you are, then why are you moping how girls only “want you as a friend”? Also, a variant of this excuse is NGs who go out of their way to not do anything or act on their feelings as long as their object of desire is in a relationship, but prefer pining in the shadows, bottling up massive frustrations.

Popular culture tends to feed the idea that the NG thing is somehow cute, worth empathising with or even truly romantic. Like so many clichés about love and relationships in pop culture, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Pop culture loves exploiting NGs because it tugs on a few heart strings and is good for drama. It doesn’t make this sort of behaviour mentally healthy or advisable, and if you’re going to take dating advice from pop culture, well, then I don’t know what to say.

Nice guys make an advance that cannot be rejected in a socially acceptable way. If a guy says, “Hey, how about a date?”, then it’s perfectly socially acceptable to say, “Nah, I’m not interested.” But instead he might say, “Oh, you’re moving? I’d love to help. When? Hmm, I’m working that day, but I can call out sick. It’s really no problem! I don’t own a truck, but I could rent one of those ones from the Home Depot.” Is this guy really helpful just generally, or is there some subtext there of him trying to impress you? Should you say, “That would be really helpful, but since I am not attracted to you, I am honor-bound not to accept your offer of assistance”? Of course not. So you don’t say it, and then there’s this weird THING sort of hanging in the air in your dealings with that person in the future. You’re like 85% sure that he’s into you, but every time he has an opportunity to actually say it, he passes it up. Eventually, you relax a little, and then one day one of your dumber girlfriends lets on in front of this guy that you have car trouble. You try to hiss at her or step on her foot or something, but you’re too slow or she’s too clueless, and his eyes brighten. “Can I look at it? I’d be happy to help!” Ugh.

Apart from being a non-argument/false dichotomy (it’s not one or the other), in fact, NGs are already assholes, but with a mask of niceness. You can certainly be a nice person without the deeper layers of manipulation, self-pity and self-entitlement.



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