Nice GIRL Syndrome

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I’ve been criticized in the past (and recently) for focusing too much on men when it comes to Nice Guy Syndrome. While it might seem obvious why I do this, the complaint is valid because people-pleasing is not gender-specific.

In fact, all the traits of Nice Guy Syndrome can be found in women, to the point where it would be accurate to create the term Nice GIRL Syndrome.

In this video, I explore Nice Girl Syndrome, detailing the commonalities and differences with the guy version, and exploring what female people-pleasers should focus on to become more confident and socially successful.

Dan’s Top Resources


Dan has 3 bestselling non-fiction books available in both written and audio form:

  • The Naked Truth, his latest release, shows you how radical honesty builds self-confidence and relationships
  • Nothing to Lose explores how to build confidence from the inside by correcting the programming in your brain
  • The Legendary Life is a very practical, action-focused guide on how to plan and execute a life plan that brings you your ideal lifestyle

Online courses

Dan continues to put out high quality online self-paced courses through the Udemy platform

Full transcript (unedited)

You know, I’m always going on and on and about nice guy syndrome. And I’ve had more than a few of my female audience and clients kind of complain that I tend to focus on guys a bit too much. And it’s a fair complaint, because nice guy syndrome is only called that because it was designed by a guy for guys, but people pleasing and the problems surrounding it, ah, universal, both genders experience it. But they do experience a differently in my opinion. And so I’m going to dedicate this video to nice gills when I talk about what they have in common with nice guys, and how they’re different courses is all going to be very general. So please don’t have a go at me if a few points don’t exactly match yours. What I’m just trying to do with this video is acknowledge the nice girls out there and offer some support. Now I’ve coached hundreds, maybe 1000s. But definitely hundreds of people over the last decade almost. And I’ve always had a mixture of clients. While most of them have been guys, I’ve had more than a few woman and people pleasing and nice guy syndrome issues have been universal. And there it’s been the same approach in terms of building integrity and assertiveness and honesty, that helps no skills as it does help nice guys. But there are some differences. There are some context differences. There are some things that make a difference in society when you come from a different gender. So I want to acknowledge some of those in this video. First, let’s quickly go over the things that guys and girls have in common with the whole nice syndrome. COVID contracts, it’s one of the key ones. So expecting things from people without asking for directly and then being disappointed and maybe even punishing them when those things are not delivered. So kind of assuming that everyone thinks like you do. And therefore if somebody doesn’t do what you think is the right thing to do that they’re purposefully disrespecting you, and just hoping that people will deliver your needs without having to ask and risk rejection, being helpful to gain approval and to build your reputation. Everybody does that when they’ve got the nice syndrome being what I call dishonest about a no. Which simply means not saying no when it’s actually the right thing to say, not rejecting the offers and suggestions and instructions from people that are detrimental to your life. You know, particularly in the workplace, you know, taking on more than you should be not saying no not standing up for yourself in terms of your own needs and your own space, avoidance of conflict that’s universal amongst almost all people pleasers. There are some who are kind of high conflict, but generally they have tantrums and explosions and it doesn’t go very well for them. There’s very few of any hardcore people pleasers guy or girl that have healthy confrontations on a regular basis. submission to authority. Now, the authority can be different depending on gender a little bit. So for guys, the authority is often attractive girls in high status males. Whereas for girls, the authority might actually be other girls in the office, for example that they look up to or who have superiority, or family. But the submission to somebody that you deem to be authority like treating them like they’re always right and treating them better than you treat someone that you looked down on. That’s common to people pleasing. And of course, tolerating poor treatment in general. We’ll talk a little bit about specifics later in this video. But generally nice guys and girls eat chips from people, right, they suck it up, they pretend that they’re okay that they’re not bothered by it. And that’s pretty common amongst everybody. Now, sure, there’s lots of other points, I put together these the notes for this video pretty quickly. But those are just to acknowledge that there’s a lot of commonalities between nice guys and nice girls. Again, this is all just being very general. If you’re an exception to the rule, please Put your gun down. I’m not here to fight you. Now here are some of the key differences. In my opinion, based on my experience coaching nice girls. Nice girls don’t tend to struggle with the friendzone issue as much as guys do. So nice guys tend to get into relationships where they’re friends with a girl but they want so much more and they get really frustrated that it never happens. Now nice girls don’t seem to have this problem as much my theory is it’s because in general when it comes to dating and relationships, girls don’t need to directly express attraction to get a guy to make a move. Right so the guide generally will kind of take the risks a lot of the time or girls can feel a lot safer to kind of lead and dominate guys without having to worry about rejection as much because let’s face it, guys generally have lower standards and woman they’re less likely to say know what a nice girl will do instead that guys don’t do so much is let a bad fit go too far because you’re too agreeable. Now this can go all the way through to abuse and harassment. but more likely sleeping with a guy, you’re not really that into dating a guy multiple times, even though you’d rather say no to him being unable to push back on someone who’s kind of invading your space or crossing your boundaries, you know, nice girls tend to have this problem a lot where they are dominated by dominant guys. And they might sort of want it to happen. But if they are really truthful with themselves, they should have said know, quite a few stages back in the process, a lot of the nice girls that I’ve worked with have come to me for a single problem, they’re trying to keep a relationship going, that’s clearly been fucked for ages. Now I’ve had, I’ve had to breaks my heart, I’ve had clients come to me, where she’s trying to make the relationship work has been bad for three years. And they’ve been going out for three years and six months, right, a massive percentage of the relationships being bad, and they just keep trying to patch it together. They keep trying to make it work, they often blame themselves and think that something they’re doing wrong, or they blame the guy, but they think that they can fix them. And this is far less likely with guys guys, what they tend to do when the relationship goes sour as they’ll sabotage it, they’ll basically try to get fired. They don’t even really realize they’re doing this, but they’re trying to get the girl to dump them. Whereas the girl will try to make it work. It’s like that sunk cost fallacy. She thinks, you know, I’ve invested six months, I have to make this work. What rather than realizing, hey, the first six months were an illusion he was putting on an act. And now this is the real him and you don’t actually like him. And this is not going to work. But a nice girl just keep trying to make it work, partly because of self blame. And partly because of their sunk cost fallacy. Kind of a cliche, one nice girls like to be attracted to bad boys. Whereas nice guys tend to be attracted to girls who are either submissive or bossy. Nice girls, when I say they’re attracted to bad boys, I guess all women, to some extent have a bit of a thing for the rock star. But a nice girl because she’s so agreeable, is like I said, in an earlier point, going to let that guy go further. So whereas a confident girl might be like, Oh, he’s a badass, you know, I’ll sleep with them once but that’s it. You know, a nice girl will be like, is he gonna call me you know, she’ll become attached very quickly have that anxious attachment. This is one way to frame it is nice guys more often tend to have the avoidant attachment style is the dominant style, which means while they think they want someone close intimacy actually freaks them out. And they try to keep people at arm’s length and they subconsciously sabotage their social life, even though they feel like they’re working really hard on it. Whereas the nice girls tend to have the anxious attachment style. So they cling, they’re needy, they tend to repel people, because they try too hard. And that’s beyond us romantic relationships, they also do it in the friend circle, they do it at work, they’re scared of being alone, whereas the nice guy is more scared of intimacy. That kind of specific one I’ve noticed just to my clients, I don’t know if this is general, but nice girls tend to eat shit from their own family. Whereas a nice guy will be a bit more callous and ruthless and distancing themselves from toxic family members. Many of my nice guy clients will move overseas or just cut contact, or limit contact with family members that, you know, really unhealthy or abusive. The nice girls I work with, they actually keep going back for more. It’s like they’re trying to repair the relationship that’s out there hoping that one day become the thing they dreamed of, you know, they have a narcissistic mother. And they spend every weekend at their house having dinner. And she’s the same bitch that she’s always been and you’re trying to make it work and so on. I don’t know if it’s a female thing, but they tend to be far more reluctant to walk away from bed family members and far more reluctant to be assertive and ruthless and setting boundaries with family members. Whereas nice guys, I guess, because of the avoidant attachment or just like Fuck this, I’ll bail. You know, bail on blood relatives, no problem. My girl clients, the thing I struggle to help female clients with the most is setting healthy boundaries with family. It’s not because it’s difficult to do in terms of technique. It’s because it’s very difficult for them to do emotionally is so attached. They’re so resistant to the idea that this might not work out that they’re scared to do anything that might permanently ended. But that’s the kind of thing you have to do in order to create healthy relationships. But they tend to really struggle with that, because it’s not all about negativity, their strengths. And nice girls tend to be more socially intuitive than my guys. Which is actually kind of tragic, because nice guys are blind socially. They make these stupid mistakes socially because they don’t see what’s really going on the friendzone is a great example for that. You know, like why would she make a move? It’s like dude, you’ve got to make the move and the window of opportunity closed many months ago, a girl would seen that straightaway. The problem and breaks my heart really for for nice girls, is they simply don’t trust their instincts, even though their instincts are right. So they’ll be like, oh, this person is probably a bad fit for me. I probably shouldn’t be friends with us. person, I think my boss is a bully, but they’ll doubt themselves and allow that behavior to keep going, they’re actually intuiting it correctly. They’re like, I’ve got a bad feeling about this guy or this girl, and they’re right. But they doubt the bad feeling and allow, you know, they’ll justify it, justify it to themselves or talk themselves through it, you know, a nice girl client of mine, for example, had a boss that bullied her for like a year and a half, and she keeps going, like, what am I doing wrong? So a boss shouldn’t bully you even once the boss has a problem clearly, and you knew that. But then you after you knew that you came back around and said, No, maybe it’s me. Yeah, so I see that happen a lot. So they’ve got a strength of social intuition, which, you know, with my help, they can turn into the mastery level expertise. But because they doubt it, they never really get to benefit from that strength. The girls tend to self sacrifice more strongly than the guys do. And they’re proud of it. You know, a classic example I see is in the mothers that I’ve coached, you know, they will destroy themselves to give everything to their kids. And they think that’s a good idea. They’re actually very proud of it and very resistant to any challenge to their, despite the fact that opinion, and research clearly shows that that’s not in the best interest of the child, they will fight for it, they’ll say, that’s actually a strength of mine, I’m glad I do. And like, it’s kids, you got to give everything to your kids, you know, and it’s not just about children, they’ll do it at the office, they’ll do it for their partner, they’ll do it for their friends, they’ll break their backs for other people. And then like, we’re a badge of honor about it, right? Despite the fact that nobody’s really winning from the situation. I think girls tend to suffer from false humility. More than the guys do. Nice guys actually like to pretend that they’re modest, but they humble brag a lot. They like to slip out their strengths and some indirect ways to try and get praised for it. Whereas the girls I work with fight actively to pretend that they’re not strong. And I think this one’s largely a social conditioning issue, you know, the kind of difference between how boys and girls are raised, a girl’s far more likely to be shit on for praising herself than a guy as you know. And ironically, by other women, from my experience, especially in the workplace, the biggest barrier to girl being self promoting is other girls on the office, from what my clients tell me and what the research shows as well. So you get this kind of false humility that they don’t even know as dishonesty. You know, a lot of my female clients will downplay their strengths. Every time I point out that they are strong, and something that they did well in something like a year, but blah, blah, blah, you know, and they fight against it. Whereas the nice guys tend to be like, secretly proud of it, because they were bragging the whole time. Anyway, this one’s not that common, but I had to call it out. Generally, my guy clients have better same six social circles, then my girl clients do my nice girl clients tend to but not always, either have very few good female friends, or they’re only friends with guys. They seem to struggle with the female to female friendship dynamic. And they either in the friends, they end up with either superficial or kind of abusive and not healthy for them. Or there’s just very few girls that they can connect with well and low they just don’t see eye to eye with other girls very well. And they find groups of girls intimidating, probably my guess from high school experiences that kind of clicky female bullying, it’s specific to high school girls, you know, they just want to stay away from that. A lot of nice girls, they fell into groups of guys as friends. Because, you know, guys, it’s kind of straightforward. When A is you know, where your standard, they don’t have emotional kind of conflicts and vengeance and stuff that you get with teenage girls. So it’s safer. It’s, it’s easier to navigate a lot of nice girls actually on the autistic spectrum. And they have no idea because it’s actually quite hard to see and diagnosed with females, you know, things like Aspergers. So they struggled socially, and they just didn’t really know why, you know, they just didn’t get it. But they can often fall into groups of guys because guys are stupid and underdeveloped compared to girls and therefore easier to get along with, frankly, it’s the truth, what can I say? My girl clients are more interested in love than six. So my nice guy clients, at least when they first come to me, quite often obsessed with six, or getting laid and some aspect, even if it’s not really six, they want physically, they wanted to kind of socially they want to be able to say they can do it. And, you know, they have that as their primary goal before their other goals and partly a fear of intimacy means that they’ll prioritize sex over relationships. Whereas my female clients, you know, let’s face it, it’s not that hard for a girl to get laid if she really wanted to. Okay, it’s even if a guy had no standards, it’s still hard for him to get laid in general, especially when he has you know, struggles socially speaking, but When you have an anxious attachment style, you’re far more far more interested in trying to find and keep a partner who will love you and provide endless love so that you don’t feel alone. And so my nice girl clients tend to fixate on that. Their fear of loneliness is kind of stronger than the horn Enos. In my opinion, nice guys tend to go into the fixing category, they like to fix everybody else’s problems while avoiding being fixed. They push back on help. Nice guys don’t like to receive help very much. There’s not all of them there’s categories but probably a majority of them like the fix without being fixed. My nice girl clients they like to care take and become codependent. So they quite like creating relationship where you need each other. So they will receive help quite happily because it creates a kind of like, I need you and that kind of keeps you a little bit and that’s a bit subconscious. And then of course caretaking, they like to be needed. Nice guys like to fix but being needed is actually a bit of a shaky topic because it’s right next door to intimacy. So they’re always walking on eggshells when it comes to being needed. But being helpful being fixable, you know, being the fixer comes on solves problems, and then bails. Again, they like there. Whereas the woman generally tend to want to stick around and want to do that codependents thing. So it creates like a bond, my guidelines tend to struggle to confront at all. So they don’t even want to get things started their fear of rejection. And embarrassment means that they just don’t speak their mind. And that’s true also for my female clients, but my female clients tend to more struggle with the fear that they’re going to break emotionally when they confront. So they’re worried about crying quite specifically, and looking weak, female weak, they’re worried about the kind of social stigma there. So they struggle to confront, because they’re worried that they’ll look like a weepy girl kind of thing, they bring that up a lot. Whereas the guys tend to struggle to confront because they’re worried about the outcome, or they’ll lose the argument looks stupid, not get what they want, and so on. The woman seem to be primarily focused on how they will be deceived emotionally, whether or not they’ll be respected. Because of the way they react emotionally, they’re not as outcome focused is the guys false positivity. So nice guys do this as well. But it’s a kind of classic weapon for nice skills is put on a big smile and act like you’re happy all the time. And this is I think, against social conditioning, conditioning towards females, they’re told to be friendly and happy and nice all the time. Whereas guys get more of a pat on the back for being angry and surly, you’re like, you’re allowed to be angry as a guy, you’re allowed to be a bit rude and put on a staunch tough face. Again, this is very culturally specific, depends where you are in the world and so on. But generally, that’s the case with nice guys as they do the poker face thing. Whereas nice girls tend to put on the big smile, and, you know, let the teeth hide the depression kind of thing. And lastly, and this is the one that like really slays me personally, nice guy is more likely to get masculine coaching. You know, nice guys are more likely are like, Alright, I need a kick up the ass, I need someone to tell me what the fuck I’m doing wrong and call out my shit. And so they’ll go towards masculine style coaching, which is what I do. So shameless self promotion here, but that I do it because it works. whereas females tend to come to me, and they’ve already been in therapy for five years with the same therapist, you know, they’ve already been getting the feminine approach to what is a problem that needs to be solved with a masculine approach, the feminine approach works for those kinds of issues, right? If self acceptance is your real issue of making peace with the world, you know, if you require nurturing in the feminine approach is absolutely what you need. But nice guy slash girl syndrome is not something that solve with the feminine approach, in my opinion. And I do believe I’m an expert in this topic, the masculine approach, you need to get your shit together, you need your beliefs challenged, you need to get uncomfortable with your behavior, you need to start throwing your weight around a little bit and be a little bit more disagreeable and so on, in order to break out of this people pleasing disease. And unfortunately, you know, this is just the truth. It’s not self promotion, it’s just the truth. But nearly every time I’ve had a female client who’s done many years of therapy, when she has a session with me, she’ll say I got more out of that session than all of the therapy combined. And that’s not even a particular testimonial. For me personally, though, I am good at what I do. It’s just that they’ve been doing something that doesn’t work. So of course, a single masculine focus session is going to be better than doing something that doesn’t work. nice guy syndrome, nice girl syndrome. It doesn’t need to be explored and what happened in your childhood and what’s your relationship with your mother? That’s actually not all that helpful. What’s really helpful is what the fuck you’re going to do about it. Hey, gonna step up, what are your real values? What are you doing that disappoints you? How do you stop doing that it’s all active move forward facing. It’s not so much about why it happened. It’s what you’re going to do about it. So of course, get in touch with me if you want some of that action. But I just wanted to really put this video out there to acknowledge that there is a difference that nice gills exist, they are a thing, that they have their own nuance they have their own commonalities and traits and generalities when it comes to this. And I do see you and I know you exist. And I acknowledge you. And I want to help you as much as I can. I do believe that even though I kind of market to nice guys and they say guy all the time, the stuff I put out there should help you as well. All right, it’s should be as helpful almost at least as it is to a guy. I just speak to guys because if I said nice people all the time, nobody would know who I’m talking to. You know, it’s just a marketing thing. That’s one of the downsides of business. You have to talk that way to get people’s attention. But any of the stuff I put out there has nice guy in the title have a look at it because it will apply to you too. And hopefully it will help. Thank you so much for watching. Hope that helps you feel acknowledged if it pisses you off jack it in the comments. I’ll address it. I’m always willing to learn more. I’ll see you next time.

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