The Nice Guy Syndrome: Decompacting the entire situation; now that I can transfer my thoughts onto here better.
I was previously a nice guy. Yeah, I suffered from the nice guy syndrome for many years. The first time I was aware that I was a nice guy was way back in 2006. I remember a friend gave me his book that he had been reading for a year by then. He knew I needed to read it but I just wasn’t interested, well, until I came to the end of my tether with women and was more open to suggestion.
The Nice Guy Syndrome: So it begins
The nice guy syndrome all begins in High School usually. For some, a little earlier, like it was me, but for others it’s around the age they hit puberty and that’s around the High School years. It all depends on the interactions we’ve had with our parents and how we’ve watched both of them interact with one another as we’ve grown up. I’ve always said lead by example because our kids copy us more than they listen to us. Most of my friends have had a rally of successful relationships. In fact all bar one have been in exceptionally long term relationships — over two years now.
My mother instilled some cracking values into me. Don’t cheat on your partner when you get one she’d regularly tell me, don’t be like your dad. Always tell the truth. Make sure you treat your next girlfriend like a queen. Mum wasn’t a feminist, but she could have been one — she wanted to see her little boy with a strong woman, not have the nice guy syndrome. I get that. Good on her.
I watched as all through my puberty and before, mum had a long term relationship with one man that treated me like his own. I have some amazing memories forged with John and I still dream about him today. But he died, and both mum and I were distressed and distraught, and I learned one cruel lesson that year. Relationships end badly, it’s better not to be in them. And thus, started my nice guy syndrome.
Pushing her away, yet wanting her close
Armed with my feelings at arms length but also having the desire to get close to a woman I always chose friendship first and then wanted to see if anything happened afterwards. It sounds nicer than it actually was because it usually ended up in both myself and my friends getting hurt. Her wildly confused at why I was asking her out at such an inappropriate time, and me bashing my feelings even deeper into my chest for fear of them being bruised again. It sucked the situation I was in. I just didn’t understand women. I didn’t know I had the nice guy syndrome, though. I was unaware.
I had been brought up to serve and to protect, to open up, to talk about my feelings, to sit and listen to her — what more should a woman want from a man? It’s what they kept saying to me, “He doesn’t listen” but I listened to her, “he doesn’t care” but I cared for her. It was all as confusing as it was messy. She was staring me right in the eyes telling me all of this whilst I was just right there waiting for her to tell me how much of a mistake she was making and she should be hooking up with me. In all honesty she probably knew I had the nice guy syndrome.
They’ll take advantage too!
I’ve had women take advantage of my nice guy syndrome too. I’ve never understood the desire to make a man a lap dog without being in an intimate relationship with but there are definitely women that will take advantage of this. I’ve even had women try and get me to buy expensive things for them because they thought I was emotionally attached enough. Luckily, I was old enough by then to spot a con when I saw it — and yet these women exist. Some will keep him at arms length just for the emotional boost his pining over her affords her. I’ve had to talk a man through thoughts of suicide because of this once. Never underestimate the human propensity for power. Because that’s all it is at the end of the day. Power.
See, my mum had instilled fantastic values into me, and realistically she did very well with the tools that she had. But I lacked a strong male influence in the household at the crucial time when I was going through puberty. Her long term boyfriend had contracted stomach cancer and died around about the time I was taking a strong interest in women and I had no-one to watch, or at least talk to about it. And through that I just had to make up my own rules as I went along; and that consisted of a lot of trial and error. Like the time when I touched a girls breasts and was knocked to the floor with a straight punch to the nose. I learned as I went along.
Yet I had no-one to watch. Us kids, we imitate what we see and not what we are told. In fact I’d hazard a guess that most parents would say that their teenagers never listen, and I could understand that because I never did. But I watched. I watched more than I let on. As I expect most kids do. I had to learn pickup the hard way because there was just no-one around to teach me.
Depression, anxiety, alcohol, drugs
Let’s not forget the negative spirals us with the nice guy syndrome get ourselves into; the depression, the anxiety, the drink, drugs, and porn. I was never successful in any way so I took to the numbing sensations of life. Life was too messy to deal with so it was easy to turn to the illicit side of life to quell the burning sensation of failure I had inside me. And that is the final nail in the coffin to nice guyery. The burning sensation of failure. The inability to ask a woman on date because of the burning sensation of failure. The inability to do anything successful because of (and the fear of) the burning sensation of failure.
Most don’t know, or understand that it’s a negative cycle and if they lay off the illicit substances then life will get amazingly easier. The more addictions I’ve quit the easier it has been to manage my money, and dealing with life’s problems is more like a flow than a barrier. Alcohol, drugs, not that I’m bothered if anyone engages in a bit of night time fun, but it’s to the detriment of their own mental health. Most with the nice guy syndrome are well on their way to becoming addicts.
Society and the nice guy syndrome
And yet, I feel society looks way down on us with the nice guy syndrome and in a way I’m glad I’m not one now. I can’t find anything good written about these types of people. You could have taken a picture of me, at 16, tying one of the girls that I liked shoelaces, and meme’d underneath it — “nice guy level 9999” or made a meme about some dude holding a door open for a woman and wanting more from it, but I feel we’re misrepresented in this way. All we wanted to be is nice, and be liked. We didn’t automatically assume we would get sex for being nice. We understood there are social rules to society, and whilst we weren’t the best socialites we still understood autonomy and freedom to choose, especially for women — which is why we would mostly get upset for remaining in the friend zone.
At base the nice guy syndrome is quite a severely limiting condition. We have developed paradigms in childhood that have helped us cope with our outside world. Perhaps it has been treading on eggshells to keep an overbearing mother or father subdued; whatever the case we have learned that being nice gets us what we want, and that is the antithesis of success — sometimes you have to do things you are uncomfortable with to get ahead. You have to think more about yourself.
I’m not a nice guy anymore. 12 years ago I read a book called No More Mr Nice Guy and it changed my entire life. It taught me to find who I really was, take responsibility for my actions and seek help for what I was going through. I’m happily married with an amazing wife, and son.
If I can do it, so can you!