“Why don’t women like nice guys?” and “Nice guys finish last” are common complaints among young men. The guys making these complaints probably have Nice Guy Syndrome.
Guys who suffer from Nice Guy Syndrome often complain that they don’t get attention from women because they’re a “nice guy.” But the truth is, women don’t want a “nice guy,” we want a good man.
What Is Nice Guy Syndrome?
There are two different types of “nice guys” that will be discussed in this article. The first is the guy who is insecure and needs constant validation (mainly from women) that he is a Nice Guy. Dr. Robert A. Glover, psychotherapist and author of No More Mr. Nice Guy, says, “Fundamentally, the Nice Guy doesn’t believe he is okay just as he is. Now, this might even be a conscious thought process. For some Nice Guys it is, but for many, it’s a much more unconscious process of thinking that in order to be liked and loved and get their needs met, they have to find a way to become what they think other people want them to be.”
Fundamentally, the Nice Guy doesn’t believe he is okay just as he is...they have to find a way to become what they think other people want them to be.
This category includes men who believe they are entitled to sexual favors from women because they are nice. They’re often only nice to get the attention. A perfect example is Ross Geller from Friends, therefore, we will be referring to this type as the Ross Geller Nice Guy.
The second type of “nice guy” is much more sinister. He also believes he’s entitled to sex because he’s nice, but he uses his kindness as an excuse to get away with toxic, and sometimes violent, behavior. The best example (even though it’s a little on the extreme side) I can think of is Joe Goldberg from You, therefore, we will be referring to him as the Joe Goldberg Nice Guy.
Why He’s Not Really Nice
One of the many lessons I’ve learned the hard way is that if he insists that he’s a nice guy, he’s actually the worst. I’ve used the “But he’s a nice guy” excuse to justify toxic, and sometimes abusive, behavior for some guys in my life. Whether he was being a jerk to me when we were around his friends or trying to turn me against my friends who were telling me he was bad news, this was an excuse I always had in my back pocket during my teens and early 20s.
I’ve used the “But he’s a nice guy” excuse to justify toxic, and sometimes abusive, behavior for some guys in my life.
The Ross Geller Nice Guy isn’t as bad as the Joe Goldberg Nice Guy, but he still has the tendency for toxic behavior. He tends to put his desire for sex (which he believes he deserves because he’s “such a nice guy”) over the feelings of the women he’s interested in, like all of the times Ross was a total jerk to Rachel.
The Joe Goldberg Nice Guy’s behavior is much more toxic and sinister. He uses his belief that he’s nice to get away with toxic and abusive behavior and is often condescending towards women. He believes he’s different from the men who use women for sex and don’t care about their feelings because he’s a “nice guy” — but they’re really two sides of the same coin. In extreme examples, this can lead to abusive and violent behavior. In the show You, actor Penn Badgley does such a good job playing the role that we often need to be reminded of his unacceptable, violent behavior.
What To Look For in a Good Man
When guys complain of how no girl wants a “nice guy,” they have a point. We don’t want a “nice guy” — we want a good man. Good men care about women and don’t put their own desires for sex above a woman’s feelings. They know they’re not entitled to sex because they’re “nice,” and they respect a woman’s consent, comfort, and desires. They’re chivalrous and kind, the exact opposite of guys with Nice Guy Syndrome. When it comes to telling the difference between a “nice guy” and a good man, look for acts of respect, kindness, maturity, and confidence.
When it comes to telling the difference between a “nice guy” and a good man, look for acts of respect, kindness, maturity, and confidence.
Being a good man has a lot to do with confidence. Confidence grows with age, which can explain why so many of us (myself included) face so many “nice guys” when we’re in our teens and early 20s. This leads to the question, can a “nice guy” change and become a good man?
Can a Nice Guy Change?
Guys who are the Ross Geller type are usually very immature and/or insecure. They are likely to change with maturity and growth. If you encounter a guy with Ross Geller Nice Guy tendencies, have a conversation with him. He likely has insecurities in relationships and can become a better man if he faces these insecurities. But the Joe Goldberg Nice Guys are likely abusive and are the ultimate red flag. Don’t get involved with him; it’s not worth it.
We’ve all heard the excuse “But I’m a nice guy” when a guy tries to justify toxic behavior. The truth is, he wouldn’t be acting in a toxic way if he really was nice. That’s why women don’t want a “nice guy,” they want a good man. Luckily, being a good man has a lot to do with maturity, so some who suffer from Nice Guy Syndrome will eventually find the cure and become good men.