Women often say that they want a nice guy, so why do so many of them think that nice guys are THE WORST? The trouble is that Nice Guy’s behavior works against them; what they see as positive and respectful is actually pushing people away. Here’s why being a Nice Guy drives women away… and why it can be so hard to STOP being a Nice Guy.
- What “Nice Guy” behavior says about them
- Why “treating her like a queen” is actually unattractive
- How Nice Guys ruin their relationships
- The #1 mistake Nice Guys make that “bad boys” don’t
- What it takes to STOP being a nice guy… and why being a jerk isn’t the answer
… and so much more.
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Hey everyone, Harris O’Malley from doctornerdlove.com, brought to you by my generous patrons at patreon.com/drnerdlove.
When it comes to dating, one of the topics that comes up more often than almost anything else is the ideas of Nice Guys. Not guys who are nice, but Nice Guys with a capital N, Capital G. It’s an idea that’s held in no small amount of disdain — and with good reason; Nice Guy behavior is profoundly unattractive. It’s a great way to absolutely destroy any chances you had of making a connection with someone you’re into.
The problem that a lot of guys face is that it can be surprisingly hard to stop acting like a Nice Guy. It’s easy to say “women aren’t vending machines you put ‘friend tokens’ into until sex comes out” — and that is a core component of Nice Guy behavior — but that’s not the only issue. In fact, part of why it seems so hard to stop BEING a Nice Guy it can be hard to see why being a Nice Guy is so unattractive. If you ask someone — especially a guy who is prone to getting stuck in the Friend Zone — what they’re doing, they’ll tell you: “Well, I’m being respectful. I’m treating her like a queen.” And who wouldn’t like being treated like a queen?
That’s usually the point where you’ll hear from the usual suspects who’ll tell you that women don’t like nice guys, they want dudes to treat them like shit or who make them do all the work or something about simps because people are always trying to be edgy with new slang. But all that shit’s wrong too. It’s just basic definition by opposition and post-hoc rationalization from dudes who don’t actually like women — women don’t like nice guys, so obviously the answer is to be an asshole instead. Treat ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen. “She says she wants to meet a nice man, I’m nice, she doesn’t like me and she’s dating someone else who doesn’t treat her as well as I would so clearly women just prefer assholes to treat them like shit.”
And it’s notable that more often than not, “asshole” or “bad boy” means “guy who was more successful than I am”.
The actual problem is that Nice Guys only see things from their perspective. They assume that their behavior can only be read as positive or respectful. It’s not that women don’t like men who treat them well or that they’re only attracted to someone they can’t be sure of. The problem is that under the BEST of circumstances, Nice Guys are smothering doormats, who think that their owed something — whether it’s a relationship, or just sex — because they treat her so “well”.
But it’s that behavior and that outlook that works against them; what they see as positive and respectful is actually pushing people away. Not because women like dudes who hold the prospect of being dumped over their heads like a weapon, but because of what Nice Guy behavior actually communicates about them:
They’re excessively needy
They have low self-confidence
They have low emotional IQ
and they have no abundance in their life.
These are all unattractive traits in a man, a sign that a relationship with them will be far more about managing HIS emotions and reassuring him that no everything is fine and yes she really likes him. Nice Guy behavior is an indicator that that he’s going to have as much spine as a sponge and as much initiative sloth. And to make matters worse, often his supposed “worship” of her isn’t about her, it’s about him.
Putting someone on a pedestal SEEMS like you’re paying them a compliment, but in reality, you’re dehumanizing them. You’re not reacting to them as a person or who they actually are, you’re reacting to the things that YOU project on to them and wondering why you can’t connect with them. They’re not a person to you so much as a fantasy that you’ve built up — a fantasy that is ultimately about you. After all, if this person is a Queen or a Goddess and she deigns to grace you with her attention or body, doesn’t that make you super-special?
This is part of the conflict in 500 Days of Summer. Tom doesn’t love Summer so much as he loves the fantasy of her — the person who makes him cool and special because a pretty girl likes the same things he does.
And the fact that Nice Guys put people on pedestals is advertising their lack of self-esteem. When you put someone on a pedestal, you’re telling them that you are literally beneath them. Why should any woman be interested in a guy who doesn’t actually believe in his own worth? A relationship with him isn’t going to be about “oh he treats me like a queen”, it’s going to be “Oh, he’s spending every minute clinging to me like a codependent barnacle.”
Which isn’t a great foundation for a relationship, let’s be real.
Just as importantly though, Nice Guys misunderstand what “treat them like a queen” means. To them it doesn’t mean “treat them with respect” or “appreciate them for what they do and who they are”, it means “smothering them with attention” and trying to create a sense of obligation by constantly doing things for them.
It’s one thing if you occasionally do something nice or thoughtful for a friend or someone you care about. It’s another when they won’t ever leave you alone. And Nice Guys will drown their targets with attention because they have no sense of value in themselves or any sense of confidence or security. They don’t believe that women could possibly like them for themselves and so their “value” must come from what they DO for her.
Of course, the OTHER reason why Nice Guys are constantly showering attention on their target and always hanging around is because it ensures that she won’t have time to meet someone else who she might like better. Nice Guys are ALWAYS living in mortal fear that someone else will come around and snatch her away by virtue of… not being a Nice Guy.
Which you think would be a clue.
But because they believe that their value comes from what they do for her — whether it’s compliments and ‘worship’, gifts, attention or the like — they feel that providing all of this creates an obligation for her to return the favor. This is why when a woman rejects a Nice Guy or calls him out for his behavior, they’ll almost always start listing all of the things that they do for her and how it’s unfair that he does all of THIS and she does NOTHING in return.
But that’s not an arrangement that she ever agreed to. That’s something that he came up with on his own and is trying to IMPOSE upon her; “I did all these things for you even though you didn’t ask me to and so now YOU OWE ME.” He’s getting angry at her for not playing along with a set of rules that he invented and never bothered to tell her.
And let’s be real: he never told her that all these things he was doing came with a bill because he knows at some level that this would blow his chances, messily and all over the place.
Here’s the thing though: not only is this behavior profoundly unattractive and drives women away… it also only serves to make things worse for Nice Guys, causing them to obsess even harder, which in turn makes it more difficult for them to let go or move on.
One of the quirks of the human psychology is that we do things for people we like. The more we do things for them, the more we assume we must like them.
The more Nice Guys do for their targets, the more they find themselves investing in them, emotionally. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle; they like this person and they want this person to like them back so they give them more and more attention, do more and more things for them in hopes of winning them over. That causes them to emotionally invest even more in their target, which then prompts them to do more and give more attention to them.
The problem is that the people they’re investing in aren’t investing in THEM in return. All that’s happening is that the Nice Guy is doubling and tripling down on their feelings while their target isn’t reciprocating.
Even if this were a viable technique to win someone over — and it’s not — then it still just creates a one-sided relationship where one person cares deeply and the other simply doesn’t. If you want someone to like you, you have to give them space to reciprocate, to invest in you too. After all, how can they miss you if you never go away?
Lots of guys in general and Nice Guys in particular are loathe to do this because, well, there’s the fear of what they’ll find out if they do back off. They fear — and with good reason — that if they back off, they’ll get confirmation that she just doesn’t like them when she doesn’t fill in the gap that’s left.
The truth is, if you pull back to give someone space to reciprocate and they don’t… well, it was probably never going to happen anyway. And yeah, it sucks, but a dead tree is never going to grow no matter how much you water it.
Nice Guys are unwilling to face this possibility. They’re unwilling to let their crush go because… well, honestly, it’s mostly because they’ve spent all this time on one person and emotionally invested in them so heavily that they can’t let it go. To do so would mean accepting that they’ve WASTED all of their time, energy and resources on a relationship that will never happen and that’s an incredibly hard thing to face. This is what’s known as the Sunk Cost Fallacy — sticking with a decision in hopes of recouping costs (or pulling out a positive outcome), even when it’s literally impossible. Nice Guys keep watering that dead plant because they’ve ALREADY spent all this time and energy on it and to admit defeat would be admitting that they were doing so in vain.
Because that’s so hard to accept, it’s easier to instead reframe this unwillingness to let go as devotion, to make a refusal to accept reality a virtue by claiming that it’s proof of the depth and sincerity of their love — depth and sincerity that, they hope, will melt the coldest heart and inspire their target to give them a chance.
But it won’t. And the longer they cling to the fantasy, the harder it is to let go. It’s hard to face the embarrassment and shame of admitting that you’ve been holding on to a hopeless cause, and many people would rather cling to that cause than face the truth… even if facing the truth would finally free you to find someone who WOULD like you back.
That laser-like focus on one person becomes its own weakness, because it keeps Nice Guys from cultivating abundance in their lives, especially an abundance of women. Not in the sense of “All of these women like me and I can have my pick”, but an abundance of awareness of how many women are out there who are just as awesome as their crush, if not more so. An abundance of connection, and support — not just potential lovers but FRIENDS.
A man who has an abundance of women in his life — women he has a legitimate connection with, women who like him, trust him and know they can rely on him, not just people he can vomit his feelings all over — is more appealing to women over all. That makes it immensely easier to meet and attract women who will like him and want to date him… and that in turn helps make him more attractive.
After all, one of the reasons why so-called “bad boys” and “assholes” are in demand is because they don’t “need” a particular person — at least, not before they’re both invested in their relationship together. Those “bad boys” aren’t getting hung up on one person, because there are others women out out there.
That abundance mindset helps them avoid investing in someone who can’t or won’t invest in them because while that one person is great, they’re not the only woman in the world. That ONE woman may not like them or be right for them but that’s fine, because there’re plenty of others who WILL be right for them and WILL be into them, and it’s a better use of his time and resources to go pay attention to THEM than it is to keep trying to water a dead tree.
And while rejection may still sting, it doesn’t hurt them as badly because they DIDN’T over-invest. It’s far easier to move on when you haven’t spent weeks or months trying to convince someone to like you and getting upset when they don’t see you as more than a friend.
But the thing to realize is that getting someone to invest isn’t about stupid aphorisms like “treat ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen” or “ignore them to make them like you”. It’s about letting people do things for you that get them to invest, inspiring them to WANT to invest in you. If they’re not interested in putting in the effort into you, then it’s not worth YOUR investing in THEM. There has to be balance; a one sided relationship is nothing but misery for everyone involved.
Now the thing that people often say is “well how do I get people to invest in me?” or “but women won’t invest in me,”
And the problem is that you can’t trick someone into investing in you or convince them to do something they don’t want to do. It doesn’t work and it won’t generate real interest from them.
The answer, as unsatisfying as it can be, is to work on being someone WORTH investing in. You have to invest in YOURSELF first, take that time and energy you’ve been expending on watering that dead tree, and spend it on YOURSELF instead.
Find your value, so that you aren’t relying on external validation and you can have faith in your own worth. If this is something you have trouble with, I’ve linked to a worksheet to help you find your value in the show notes.
Work on developing your presentation, your presence and your attitude; find the things that help you feel like a sexy bad-ass and incorporate them into your life.
Build an interesting and attractive lifestyle, one full of passion and fulfillment, living a life that brings YOU satisfaction and other people would want to take part in. That encourages THEM to WANT to spend time with you, to do things for you or to invest in you.
If you need a place to start, I’ve got an entire playlist of videos to help you out, private coaching options as well as my books and a massive archive of free material over at doctornerdlove.com. The information you need is available to you if you’re ready to start putting in the effort.
It’s time to stop being a Nice Guy. Nobody likes the Nice Guy. It’s time to start investing in yourself, avoiding those unattractive behaviors, breaking the Nice Guy mindset. Women don’t want a nice guy… they want a great guy. The guy… that you can be.