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Is being the ‘nice guy’ really such a bad thing?
What does it even mean when people say you’re ‘too nice’?
Why is it that being nice to people never seems to get the kind of reaction and results you are hoping for?
You watch all these other guys who are arrogant, irritating, and only think of themselves. They are the popular ones, with people throwing themselves at their feet. They seem to get everything good that life has to offer while you’re stuck in a rut and are always overlooked.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already come to the conclusion that being the ‘nice guy’ is a bad thing and not what you want to be identified as anymore. But how do you shake off a persona that you don’t even know how you came to have?
Does it mean being selfish? Should you start treating people badly? Should you stop offering to help people or never go the extra mile?
More importantly, do you really want to be that type of person?
But shaking off the ‘nice guy’ person isn’t as simple as not ‘acting nice’ anymore. Being ‘nice’ and being labeled the ‘nice guy’ are in fact two completely separate things.
A ‘nice guy’ is a label that’s been given to you because of your character traits. It’s not necessarily a good thing and doesn’t mean that you’re even that nice to people. It means that you’re perceived as the guy that’s never really taken seriously no matter what you seem to do. In fact, the more you try to do something, the less seriously people seem to take you.
To stop being the ‘nice guy’ and start being the guy that gets the dates, gets the promotion, and becomes the life and soul of the party, you need to take a closer look at who you are as a person and how you react to social situations.
To change how people see you and react to you, you’re going to have to reevaluate your character and think about why you act the way you do and who you really want to be.
It’s still important to be nice to people, but you have to be able to do it in a way that doesn’t automatically put you in the friend zone.
It’s difficult to dissect what makes a person a ‘nice guy’ and, if you are one, how to know that you are. Once it is apparent that you’ve been given the ‘nice guy’ label, how do you change people’s perception of you so you can start getting more of what you want without giving up who you are?
If you want to know more about what a ‘nice guy’ is, how to spot if you are one, and ultimately, how to stop being one, then keep reading.
Every situation is personal, so even if you can’t find all the answers to your predicament here, reading more about it is a good place to start. The first step is wanting to make a change, the next step is up to you.
What is ‘nice guy’ syndrome?
So who is the ‘nice guy’? What do people even mean when they label someone in that way?
In a romantic sense, ‘nice guy’ syndrome as it’s sometimes referred to, describes a man who displays acts of kindness or passiveness with the ulterior motive of getting a romantic reward or recognition for his actions.
In essence, he’s overly nice to people in the hope that they will notice and date him because of it. In other scenarios, it’s being the guy that always says yes, in the hope that he’ll benefit from it, but in reality, he gets overlooked because people don’t take his behavior seriously.
It’s not about actually being ‘nice’ and doing genuine acts of kindness. No, being the ‘nice guy’ is a derogatory term for someone who has become stuck in a rut of never being taken seriously or getting what they want.
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘nice guys finish last’ and that’s the real problem with this character trait. Your actions aren’t genuine because you’re secretly hoping for something in return and your behavior is often over the top and off-putting.
You don’t just try to help, you make a big show of it. And this can make people feel uncomfortable. You aren’t assertive and confident enough to go for what you really want and so your feelings are ignored and not taken seriously.
Nice people don’t finish last, but ‘nice guys’ in this sense do because they aren’t honest about what they want.
How do you know that you’re the ‘nice guy’?
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re the ‘nice guy’ of your group, ask yourself if any of the following traits sound like some of the issues you have.
Do you try to become the person you think people want you to be?
You try to please them by telling them what they want to hear or agreeing to do something for them that isn’t really something you agree with or want to do, but you feel like you should because you want them to like you?
When it comes to relationships, are you often put in the friend zone or told that ‘you’re just too nice’ by people you like and get frustrated when you see them go for other guys who treat them badly?
You try to be there for the people you fancy, go out of your way to make them happy, and they might even come to you with their problems as someone to talk to. Yet when it comes to asking them out, they always say no and prefer the guys who ignore them and play hard to get.
How do you feel about yourself? Do you feel as though you lack confidence and don’t know how to achieve the things you want? Do you feel as though you aren’t that attractive or want to change something about yourself?
Do you default to trying to be extra nice to someone because you don’t think they’ll fancy you, be friends with you, or even promote you for your worth alone?
If someone asks something of you, do you struggle to say no even when that’s the response you really want to, and probably should, give?
Through all of this behavior, the main emotion that you have is that you ultimately feel unwanted and taken for granted. You spend your life trying to do nice things and do things the ‘right’ way, and yet you see people around you who are selfish and arrogant get exactly what they want while you’re ignored.
You don’t feel good about yourself or trust that you’ll get anywhere just by being you, so how do you start changing things for yourself without turning into someone you don’t want to be?
How to stop being the ‘nice guy.’
If you’ve reached the conclusion that you’re a ‘nice guy,’ and you want to do something about it, where do you start? It’s not easy trying to change something about yourself that you might not even realize you’re doing.
Read on for some more tips on how to get out of the rut of being ‘Mr Nice guy’ for all the wrong reasons and just focus on being a nice person.
1. Recognize that there is a problem.
Nothing will change for you unless you admit that you are someone you don’t want to be right now.
No one wants to admit that they are the ‘nice guy’ who is always passed over, ignored, or never taken seriously.
You don’t want to think that you’re the ‘friend zone guy’ who can never seem to get anywhere with a relationship and instead is always put in the box of a ‘really good friend.’
You’d like to think that the nice things you do will eventually pay off, but in reality, they never do.
If you want your situation to change then you must be ready to admit to yourself that there’s a problem. You must be ready to make some personal changes and put in the effort to reshape how you think about yourself and how you come across to other people.
There’s no simple solution to all this that will suddenly make you get all of the attention you’ve been missing. It will be a constantly evolving process of building up your confidence and approaching situations with a different mindset that will eventually form you into the person you want to be.
Think about what you want for yourself. Making a change should be more than just about getting a date or proving that you’re worth listening to. You should work on yourself so you can face up to and tackle those insecurities you know secretly dominate your daily life, and to help you become the best version of yourself for the sake of your own happiness.
2. Stop expecting something in return.
Don’t be that person who buys someone a drink and then gets offended if that person then doesn’t want to give you their number.
Buy them a drink just because you see that theirs is empty and you want to talk to them. Or better yet, just go up and make conversation.
Stop doing ‘nice’ things to get someone’s attention and start just putting yourself in positions where you can get to know people without feeling as though you have to hook them in by doing something for them.
People will react much more positively towards you if they don’t think you’re waiting for something in return.
Starting up a conversation with someone without the intention of getting their number or taking them home will help you to come across as more genuine. You’ll be able to focus on actually getting to know this person rather than being distracted by your ulterior motive.
It’s obvious if someone is doing something for you just so they get something in return, and that immediately makes a person put their defenses up.
People like to feel as though someone wants to get to know them just because they are genuinely interested. You’ll be much more attractive if you aren’t coming across as desperate or needy for someone’s attention.
3. Start saying no to people.
If you don’t want to do something and know someone is taking advantage of you, it’s ok to say no.
Rather than someone disliking you for it, you might be surprised to find that they actually start respecting you more for standing up for yourself.
Stop letting yourself be taken advantage of because you’re too nice to say no and get walked over by people because of it.
If you’re annoyed that no one ever seems to appreciate what you do for them, then stop doing it. Be genuine in your actions and only do something for someone else if you really want to and mean it.
Being the ‘yes man’ can mean that people come to expect that of you, knowing that you’ll do something for them regardless of whether they acknowledge it as they should.
It’s healthy to have some boundaries in place, either at work or in relationships, where you say no for your own mental well-being. Not only will people start taking into consideration how you feel and learning to take what you say more seriously, but they’ll probably appreciate it much more when you do give back to them because they know that you really want to.
4. Stand up for yourself.
If you think you deserve a shot at something, then take the chance and say something about it.
No one likes a pushover, and although you might think you’re being ‘nice’ by not voicing your opinion, you won’t get noticed for it.
If you want to be noticed in a social or work environment, don’t just fade into the background. Pick your moments, but don’t be afraid to disagree and stand up for yourself if you feel strongly about something.
As long as you’re not being antagonistic, people will respect you more for being honest and genuine about how you feel rather than agreeing with everyone else just because you think you’re being ‘nice’ about it.
No one will take your opinion seriously if you never seem to have one, and you’ll find yourself being walked over by people who are ready to say how they really feel.
In relationships, if you think you’re being taken advantage of and treated unfairly, then say so. Nothing will change unless you stand up for yourself and say how you feel.
If you’re letting someone take advantage of your good nature or forever going the extra mile for them just to get their attention, then they will come to expect that behavior from you.
Have some self-respect and be true to what you really feel. Once you start doing that and finding your voice, you’ll naturally start feeling more confident in your decisions and find it easier to reach for what you want.
5. Only be nice if you genuinely mean it.
Being nice isn’t about getting a reward. Genuine kindness is done without the expectation of acknowledgement or getting something in return. You do it out of the goodness of your own heart because you want to see the life of someone else get better.
When you’re performing a real act of kindness, you’re comfortable with going out of your way to do something for someone. You’re not keeping a tally in your head of all the times you’ve done something good to use against them in the future.
If you go above and beyond, you’re not doing this because you want to make a big drama out of what you’re doing in the hope that it’s noticed, you’re more likely playing down the effort it took you because you want the focus to be on the person you’re trying to make happy, not on you.
Being a nice person is something everyone should strive to be, but there’s a difference between being a nice person and being labeled a ‘nice guy.’
Start being more authentic in your actions and genuine in your attentions. Before you say yes to doing something for someone else, ask yourself this: if no one knew what you were doing for them, would you still do it just to make them happy? If the answer is yes, then go ahead, if not, then don’t try to be something you’re not.
6. Work on your self-esteem.
If you’re honest, a lot of what motivates you to do things for other people is your low opinion of yourself. You’re not really being nice because you genuinely want to be, you’re doing it to get noticed because you don’t think you’d be noticed for any other reason.
Maybe you don’t think you’re good looking enough or you’re not in the physical shape you want to be in right now compared to other guys, so you have to do something else to be noticed.
You find it hard to live up to the stereotypical standards of what makes a man attractive. You’re not the ‘funny’ guy with a loud personality, so you take the quieter route of being the person that does nice things for everyone else in the hope that they’ll like you for that instead.
The problem with being this person is that people will see through what you’re doing. They know that your actions aren’t heartfelt and are done with the intention of impressing them, and will most likely be put off by that.
The more people don’t take you seriously, the harder your self-esteem will be hit. It’s a vicious cycle unless you try to make a change at the root of the problem and start giving yourself some more credit.
Wake up every day and make a point of telling yourself something good or something you like about who you are. Start focusing on the positives instead of the negatives about yourself.
If you’ve been meaning to go to the gym, stop putting it off and just go for it. Invest in what you wear that makes you feel good and start putting some effort into looking after yourself so you can feel and look your best.
Instead of spending all your time on other people, start spending a little more of it on you so you can start being the man you really want to be.
7. Start putting yourself out there.
Do you ever look at guys who come across so arrogant and overconfident, and who aren’t half as nice as you, and watch them get all the romantic attention, all the promotions at work, and see everyone gravitate towards them?
If you ever wonder why, the answer is simple: it’s their confidence. People are attracted to confident people. We like being in the presence of someone who knows who they are and what they want. Assertiveness is sexy.
This guy might walk up to a girl and take his shot, flirting with her and making it clear exactly how he feels. Sometimes he might be turned down, but more often than not, the slight arrogance and confidence he has in himself is enough to get him their number.
Being too cautious about putting yourself out there and telling someone how you feel won’t work in your favor. Rejection is hard, but it’s something you can overcome, and it’s better to take your chance than forever be waiting, hoping someone notices you.
If you keep putting yourself in the position of the confidant and friend with people you fancy because you think that’s the way to get close to them, then you’re going to end up in the friend zone over and over.
Start taking the chance and putting yourself out there, make your intentions clear and you might be more successful than you think in getting what you want.
8. Don’t be a jerk.
One of the saddest things to see happen is when a typically ‘nice guy’ starts acting like a jerk.
It usually happens when they’re fed up with being ignored and think that by becoming the arrogant, macho guy they see getting all the attention, that everything will start working out better for them.
It doesn’t. And the simple reason for that is that they haven’t realized the difference between being assertive and being plain dislikable.
You can be nice and assertive and confident all at once. You can still go out of your way to be nice for people and have boundaries at the same time. The best kind of guys are the ones who are just trying to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
Don’t shy away when you walk into a room. Instead, make an effort to talk to people. Don’t think that someone will want to talk to you only if you offer to grab a drink for them or help them with a bag.
Stop putting yourself up for doing that extra workload for your boss when you know it’s not going to get you anywhere.
But… and it’s a big BUT… that doesn’t mean you should never offer to help out or stop being polite.
Have confidence in your own worth that people should notice you, want to get to know and talk to you just because of who you are. Embody the ‘nice guy’ in the right way. That is, do nice and helpful things because you want to. And then watch as people start to react to you in a more positive way.
Don’t try to be the opposite of who you are right now just to make a change in your life. Instead, just think about what motivates your actions and make sure everything you do comes from a good place.
Being the ‘nice guy’ doesn’t have to be something negative, but you need to have the right intentions in what you’re doing.
You only come across as inauthentic when you aren’t caring about genuinely being nice, you’re using ‘being nice’ as a cover to get something you want, or to hide your insecurities.
People will see through what you’re doing, and it’s difficult to trust or get close to someone who you know isn’t being genuine. If they realize that you’re only being nice because you want something from them, they’ll naturally pull away from you. They would have far more respect for you if you were just honest with them.
You can still be a nice person and get what you want from life. Just remember that half of what makes someone popular or attractive is their confidence in themselves.
Now, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but if you remain humble enough to still be kind to people when they need you to be and confident enough to still go after what you want, then that’s the combination that will help you to become the successful person you want to be.
You don’t have to be a jerk just because you don’t want to be the ‘nice guy.’ If you’ve already been put in the box as the ‘nice guy,’ then try turning it to your advantage. Be the nice guy, but be a genuinely nice guy.
Be there for people to talk to because you’re the person they can trust and feel comfortable going to. Pick up extra projects at work because you know they’ll help the end goal of the team. Help out more at home because you know it will mean you spend more time with your family.
Being the ‘nice guy’ in a negative sense is much less to do with your actions and much more to do with the opinion you have of yourself. You may not realize it right now, but think about how you perceive yourself in terms of relationships or personal success.
Do you lack confidence? Do you see other people as more attractive than you? Why? What do they have that you don’t? Why don’t you back yourself when it comes to asking someone out and being open with your feelings?
Identifying and working on your own self-confidence can help you move out of the ‘nice guy’ persona that you’ve got for yourself and start being the real you. You’ll stop being a people pleaser and instead start concentrating on making yourself happy again.
If you manage to become the ‘nice guy’ who is doing good things for the right reasons, you might not have the appeal of the loudest, best looking, or most confident guy in the room, but eventually you could still come out on top.
People will realize that what you need in a partner isn’t just the best looking person or someone who’s a great flirt, but someone you can trust and you feel totally comfortable around.
And that could be you if you just stopped being the person you think everyone wants you to be and just started being you.
There’s no simple answer to why you’re the ‘nice guy’ or how you stop being one. It’s a fine line between changing the person you are for the wrong reasons and trying to be a better version of yourself.
At the heart of it, you want to be the person you know you can be, the person who achieves what they aim for, the person who is recognized for their successes, and the person who has the confidence to take the chance to be happy.
You won’t get any of these things by putting other people’s needs before your own, especially if you’re only doing it because you think you’ll be rewarded that way.
Start by being authentic in your actions, honest in your intentions, and genuine in who you are. Good things will follow.
Still not sure how to stop being a ‘nice guy’? While the information above is sound, it can really help to have someone address any personal worries or issues you have so that you can change your nice guy ways. That person should be an experienced relationship and dating expert who knows how to guide people like you. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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