In an effort to rolemodel the value of shamelessness, I’ve created this mini-autobiography highlighting some of the key moments in my life that caused me to develop Nice Guy Syndrome, and then later to recover from it through discovering authentic self confidence. I explore – my early school experiences with bullying and ostracism – the effects of strict parenting – being sexually ashamed and humiliated (including erectile dysfunction) – having fake friends – learning to use humour to make people like me – discovering the Pick Up Artist scene and diving deeply into seducing women – happening upon the discovery of radical honesty and how to connect with people – learning to confront others and why this was such a phobia for me And a whole lot more. I get deep and personal in this one
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
Dan continues to put out high quality online self-paced courses through the Udemy platform
- Nice Guy Recovery: how to transform from a people pleaser into a confident beast.
- Shamelessness: how to relieve yourself of the “not good enough” story
- Powerful Honesty: takes you through step-by-step development of your communication skills to be more charismatic and powerful in your honesty
- The 3X Confidence and Authenticity Masterclass program: use the famous 3X Model to build confidence in all areas of life
- Financial Freedom for Beginners: includes everything from budgeting, to getting a raise, to investing in the stock market, to starting a side-business and more
- Overcoming Your Fear of Rejection… Permanently!: covers the psychology of “rejection” and what actions to take to make yourself immune to the fear of it
Welcome back. For today’s episode, I’m gonna try something a little different. For a start I’m going to try and live by my values, which isn’t that different, but the way I’m going to do it is to share a lot about myself. So it’s going to be very about Dan episode, literally, it’s going to be autobiographical. So if you’re not that interested in me, then don’t listen to this one because it’ll piss you off.
What I thought I’d do is share something. Now I’ve been keeping track of a potential book in the future that I’m writing called Memories. And what I’m doing is writing down random memories that occur to me, from my childhood, and so on. Just writing them down like little paragraphs, that maybe I’ll pass on to my daughter one day or turn into an autobiography or something. And what I thought is, I’ve got enough for them now that I could share some of them with you to paint a picture of not only how I became a nice guy, but how I got into recovering from it. The whole arc of the story. Everywhere I’ve been. Everything I’ve tried to do. The things that happened to me, not everything, actually but the some of the key significant ones that when I looked back, I knew that they were game changes negatively or positively, they were the ones that I remember as having a big significant impact.
So I’m gonna share some of those with you today, we’ll see how it plays out. Now, of course, I can’t cover everything. That’s why I’ll write a book one day. But here’s some of the key ones that I also know relate to clients that I’ve managed. So they have similar experiences that they also reckon were either detrimental or helpful to their own outcome as a nice guy, and so on.
So one of the first things I remember quite clearly is that we moved schools three times before I turned eight years old. So the first three years of my schooling life, I had three different schools. And I didn’t know it at the time, because I didn’t know any different but I now know that that was devastating. And if parents can avoid it they should, because it is so difficult for kids, especially like myself, who weren’t socialized much. I didn’t have friends, I didn’t have many cousins, I was single, I was the oldest brother and my youngest brother is just a kid, he is just like three years old or two years old.
Going to school is my first real social experience. So I don’t have the skills of how to form friendships or anything like that. And I always remember feeling behind, like everyone else had something sorted out and I didn’t know what was going on. Added to that, six, eight months into my first school and they moved me. So I’m coming in at the end of the year, in another new school completely miles away from anyone I’ve ever known. And the only kids available to be friends with me are the other ones who have been ostracized.
There’s about two of them, plus a neighbor that I lived near. Where we formed a kind of loose – wasn’t really friendship as much as it was a kind of, I guess, an alliance of losers. And I just remember examples like walking around school when one of them was sick or off playing sports, and realizing that that’s how fragile my social circle is, like when one of them’s away, I’m fucked, I’m alone. And I’d wander around the school by myself. I remember I always kept moving, kind of doing a loop to make it look like I was going somewhere. That I wasn’t just a kid with no friends. Like I’m on my way from friends to friends kind of thing, to give that impression. Perhaps, I can’t remember that clearly.
And then when I finally got to my third school, by this stage, I was desperate again, it was a halfway through the year, I was like seven and a half years old when I went to this new school. My parents just moved at these odd times for the school year. So again, I’m going into a school where the cliques are already formed, where people have known each other for years already. But this time, it was a smaller school. And so there wasn’t enough room for multi cliques like the previous one. There was just one group of people, the whole class basically were friends with each other because that’s how small the school was. And so it was easy for me to get in there. And because I could, I was okay at sports and wasn’t completely bizarre or weird, and I’d started to discover how to be funny, I was able to ingratiate myself into the social circle. And that was a huge effect on me.
It made me very anxious about losing people which actually turned into an avoidant attachment style. I realized I can’t get close to people because they’re taken away from me all the time. So I have to always sort of keep my distance. I can’t get too attached. Now it wasn’t fully formed at this stage and I did make some big attachments, but again, when primary school ended, my very best friend was sent to a different high school and all my other friends were sent to the one I went to. My favorite friend was sent to this other high school and I actually had huge arguments with my parents. I was trying to get them to send me to this school. I’m glad they didn’t because it was an all boys school, really rough, I would not have enjoyed it. There was another nail in the coffin. You know, another best friend taken away from me. All right, lesson learned, I’m out.
Also a key thing to note and another memory was that in the early years and the first two schools, I had a reputation – as far as reputation for a kid can go – as being the cry baby. So crying was like my most common response to difficult emotions. If I was angry, sad, hurt – I had, I later found out, I’m highly sensitive, so I feel pain very strongly. And so I’d fall over like any other kid but I’d cry where the other kids wouldn’t. And so I was known as the crybaby kid. And I always thought that that’s the reason I was ostracized, I figured that the fact that I cry all the time was the reason the other kids don’t like me and think I’m weird.
The idea that I was shy, didn’t occur to me. And therewas plenty of other kids who cried and got along socially alright, but still not that many. I mean, this is 80s New Zealand culture, I wasn’t well accepted for being a emotionally sensitive kid.
And then when I got into this third school, I can almost remember the exact day it happened. There was something that made me want to cry, and I stopped myself. And I had this epiphany. It was a specific topic, I’m almost remembering a specific incident, where I realized, Fuck, I don’t have to cry, I can stop it from coming out. I have this muscular control in my eyes to stop the tears. And there’s like little techniques I can use, I can not talk because my throat is locked up and talking will make me cry more. And later on, I learned, Chandler Bing-style, that I can crack jokes just as I feel that emotion rising and kind of relieve the tension.
And that was one of the most devastating realizations I’ve ever had in my life because ever since then, I’ve struggled to cry. I mean, I’ve been crying more since my girl was born. So in the last two years, I’ve had more crying than probably the rest of my adulthood combined, if not my whole life, really. But I became shut down. So all the emotions that really are best expressed by crying, especially sadness, stuff like that., I would shut them off so that the crying wouldn’t happen. And this is where, this was the beginning of what would grow into a kind of learned psychopathy, where anything that might make me cry, I’d avoid or prevent.
And it was also one of the main reasons I developed a great fear of confrontation, is because quite often confrontations would make me cry when I was younger. So I was so scared that I’d cry when I tried to stand up for myself, I’d feel like the wobble of my voice and the throat lock up, the heat, warning signs of crying that I would just prevent confrontation. I’m remembering because what I was really scared of was not so much confrontation and anger, though those were scary because they were the harbingers of what was to come, but what really scared me was crying in front of other people and being ostracized for that. I’m only just now kind of realizing… wow, really just now, realizing that’s the real reason I was afraid of confrontation. I didn’t want to be that little boy crying and alone again. Interesting. I’m really just thinking of this right now. Fuck, that’s really interesting.
Anyway, I don’t want to spend too long on each story, but just milestones as we go.
Now, another key milestone that came up – God, there’s so many – but a key one that came up was I performed in a play, the Wizard of Oz. I was like a very secondary/tertiary role. I was like one of the little elf things that they had in the story, and had a singing part, and I did it really well and I enjoyed being on stage. And the reason I consider that to be a significant moment is because I realized that I can impress people by showing off and performing. And nowadays, looking back, I realized that was the birth of an idea that became a persona, which is I can avoid negative emotions and people not liking me by putting on a show, making them laugh, entertaining them in other ways. Making them feel fascinated and intrigued and interested and happy. And I just get instant validation. I remember the whole crowd clapping and laughing at my bit which was both sort of funny and some good singing or something.
And just this kind of clicked like, Oh, I’m not afraid of doing this. I don’t have stage fright. I’m not nervous like all the other kids. I want this to happen. This would later on lead me, probably to inspire me to join a band, and to generally just become the kind of comedian of the group that I ended up being. So that was very significant, after years of yearning to find a way to be popular and guarantee that I wouldn’t be the crying kid left alone, I found this method that was really effective and fun and played to my strengths.
It’s almost a shame that I found this method because it worked. And so it took me down a path of many decades of showing off and performing to get validation instead of finding a more authentic path.
There’s another very key experience, because a lot of my social issues were locked up in romance and sex. So women/girls were where the worst of my shit came out. I expressed interest in a girl in a very poor way. I’ve told the story before, but this girl, her friends came up to me in the playground once and said, Ah, this girl likes you. And I said, well tell her I want to fuck her then. I’m like, eight years old. I don’t even know what fucking is. It just popped out of my mouth because I was going through a phase where I liked to say bad words because it felt thrilling.
And it was one of those things, as soon as you say something, you don’t even know what you’re saying until you see the reaction. And then you’re like, Oh fuck, I’m in so much trouble now. The way that they screamed and ran away. I was up a tree for some reason, I was sitting on a branch, so I’m looking down on them. And they ran off. I can’t even climb down to fix this. I just knew. My heart just sank, like Oh God, I’ve done something very wrong. I’m not sure what, but it’s something to do with what I said. I don’t even really know why I said that. I was just sort of nervous that a girl liked me and didn’t know how to respond. And I panicked and said a stupid thing, trying to be funny.
Anyway, it was handled so poorly by the authorities of their school for both of us, like even if their girl was really upset by what I said, they didn’t handle it well for her benefit, either. I had to write letters of apology. I had to watch this tape on sexual harassment. I was ashamed and embarrassed by adult after adult, parents, teachers, the headmaster, it was treated like I’d fucking tried to rape somebody. It was just handled so horribly.
Not once did anybody ask me with any curiosity, What did you really mean? Why did you say that? They just assumed that I’m this predator, and treated me as such, which only confirmed it to the girl. Whereas if there’d been some mediations, she might have found out that I’m just an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s saying, and he’s really, really sorry he said. She just thought, Oh, that was a predator. I’ve got to stay away from him, which she did. The remainder of our lives, she’s kept her distance from me. Probably been scared of me or worried about me.
And that was my first real big hit about sexuality. And I was too young to understand, too young to get it. Nobody explained it to me. But there was a belief locked down like, Don’t do that whatever that was, do not fucking do that. And I overcorrected. I decided that I’m never going to make girls feel like that again. And because I don’t know what it is I did, I just know it was something sexual, the only plan I could come up with is to never be sexual at all. So that’s what I did for like 20 years, and didn’t go well.
The last childhood type memory that I’ll share today, not the last significant one that I have but last here, is my parents were really strict. I’ve since discovered that this is correlated, scientifically measured to be correlated, with dishonesty. The more strict the parents are, the more likely the kids are to become liars, because that’s the only way they can have a life. If they are honest, well, they get in trouble all the time. And I got in trouble a lot. I was punished before I even knew what the rules were. That’s how I found out what a rule was, is I’d break it without knowing it existed and then be punished. So I wouldn’t even get a warning shot.
I’d be grounded for three weeks for doing something that I thought was okay. In fact, it was okay last week, though because my parents were stressed out and stuff, they just changed the rules depending on their mood. They’re a lot better now, but I kind of got the worst of them, unfortunately, at that time in my life. And they were just… it became clear to me as I got older that they were stricter than the other parents. The other kids got to eat what they wanted for lunch, I always had the super healthy food, I was only allowed one piece of chocolate a week. The other kids got to hang out with each other and play together and go to the movies together all the time. I was only allowed like once a month and I had to earn it, and most of the time was grounded for trumped up charges like stuff I didn’t even do wrong, stuff that other parents wouldn’t even consider to be bad behavior.
So I got a clear sense of unfairness. And slowly but surely, especially into my teen years, which we’re about to merge into, I realized I can get around this by hiding. I can pretend to agree. I can hide the things I’ve done. And I developed a habit of lying to my parents pretty consistently. I would lie before I even had figured out whether or not I should be lying. I’d lie as insurance, like this is probably something I’ll get in trouble for so let’s just play it safe.
I got to the point where unless I’m talking about my successes with my parents, everything else was forced, faked or hidden in some way. I mean, I was literally climbing out of my window at night and sneaking around, that kind of thing. I wasn’t behaving any better than my peers. And this is what strict parents need to understand because it’s not just me, it’s validated by science.
I just got away with it better, I hid it better. And in fact, because they had no oversight of what I was doing because I was dishonest, I was actually at greater risk. I had other friends, we’d all get into trouble together, but they’d be talking to their parents about it. The next day, I’d be there watching this happen. And the parents would be talking it through with them and saying, Well, that was a bit dangerous, wasn’t it? and they had the safety of their parents, they could always talk to them. Whereas I’ve got no one to talk to about this. I have to keep it to myself. I can’t learn any lessons from it. I go to a party and get beaten up, I don’t really learn anything from it because there’s no one to reflect. No one wise.
And I’m really not begrudging my parents. Aside from that they did an excellent job parenting me and I’ve come to realize that a lot of my nice guyness actually comes from my peers rather than my parents. It was my schooling experiences that really formed most of it, not so much them. But they had a role to play in my dishonesty strategy.
I found that it worked on my parents, so then I used it on others. It worked on teachers; it worked on my peers; it worked on the strange policeman who came up and talked to me. I could just lie and lie and lie, and I was good at lying. But everybody believed me, I can’t remember ever being called out. I really was so convincing because I knew how to mix the truth with the lie, and I was very manipulative from an early age. The thing about nice guys is we spend so much time observing other people that we get pretty good at guessing what they’re thinking and feeling and pretty good at guessing what will work and how to say something that will be convincing. And unfortunately, I had that gift, which is not something to brag about because it just turned me into a manipulative… just a fake person really.
Moving on to my teen years, there were a few key experiences. One is I found music, my band, heavy metal, especially as I got into it more and more. I found this one place where I could get my emotions out and still be validated. I could perform on stage and I could rock my head and scream my heart out. I was a singer back then. Playing music that would reflect how I felt on the inside. I was full of resentment and hate and confusion – as a teen I’m sure most of them are. And this is the only way I could show that I felt that way without getting mocked, bullied, or worrying I was going to cry.
So metal really saved me. A lot of people think of metal kids, these goths with chains and black hair and stuff, and think of them as these miserable people, but especially in teen years, they’re actually some of the most emotionally healthy, ironically, because they’re trying to express it, they’re showing it. That blackness that they wear shows they feel on the inside. The thing is all teens feel that blackness. But at least the fuckin middle kids are showing it and those kids are okay with revealing that they’re upset.
And as I’ve found that all the metal people I’ve stayed in touch with over the years, the adults anyway, are far more honest and really, ironically, emotionally stable, with exceptions (with massive exceptions) than the average polo shirt wearing nine to five who listens to Katy Perry dude, because they’re used to just speaking their minds and being a bit rebellious and not giving a fuck what others think and so on. And that’s allowed them to develop a kind of honesty. I’m not saying they’re a perfect group of people by any means. There’s certainly huge conspiracy theories and shit going on in the scene. But if you want honesty, you’re more likely to get it from someone covered in tattoos and earrings than from anyone else, in my experience.
Anyway, so I found the band. And my time in high school was also where I really developed my funniness. I have found that I had a dry, quick sense of humor, that I could exaggerate what other people were saying to make it funnier. And I just sort of stumbled on these principles of comedy, where I could pretty much always get a laugh from pretty much anyone once I got to know them a little bit. I could find out what pushed their buttons and so on. And also what was just generally funny.
And so that became my primary weapon of choice. If you were to just drop in on me in any social interaction, nine times out of 10, I would have been funny. I was trying to be funny all the time. And part of it was healthy, like trying to cope with the horrendous life that is the middle class nice guy. Me and my friends, we use humor a lot. We liked watching funny programs, we weren’t serious about anything, we rebelled and mocked against anybody being serious. And it was fun. It was genuinely fun.
I had a couple of friends in high school – this is not the common experience with nice guys – but a couple of real friends in high school, both girls and guys that I could be fully myself with and just reveal it all. Like they knew about what I wasn’t showing everyone else and so on. And we joked around a lot, we just took the piss and had laughs a lot, because it was the only way to cope with the struggle we’re having psychologically. So being funny became something that I carried through for most of the rest of my life as a defense mechanism against intimacy, to keep people liking me but not letting them get too close. I don’t want to give people intimacy because I lose people all the time, but I also don’t want to be the kid crying alone.
So I found the strategy: be funny, and you’ll be surrounded by people who like you all the time, without actually having to worry if one of them leaves.
Another key incident for me in high school was, we used to all hang out at lunchtime and just shoot the shit. And I’d nowadays I’d call it gossip. We used to talk about people behind their back. So if one of the crew was away, for some reason, we’d just rip the piss out of that person behind their back. It was like a pattern. I now look back and realize it’s really bitchy and insecure and very lacking in integrity. But we’re teenage boys, what do you expect, right?
It never occurred to me that it might be my turn one day. I thought I was in the inner group of the group. I thought I was in the inner circle, who didn’t get touched. Even though it occurred to me that I’ve never seen someone go untouched. If anybody’s away, they get the piss taken out of them. And it was really harsh, wounding stuff, you wouldn’t want to hear it.
Well, there’s one guy, I won’t go into detail, but he seemed to enjoy my suffering while pretending to be my friend. I would say nowadays that he had some sort of personality disorder, but he posed as one of my closest friends. And he always would leak information from other people that would hurt my feelings. He probably had like a borderline personality or something. Anyway, so one day I was away for whatever reason, I came back and he said, They were talking about you today.
He told me what they’re saying. And it was weird stuff. If I had to guess what shit would people talk behind my back, I wouldn’t have guessed this in a million years. But they’re making fun of the fact that I lived on a farm – that would have never occurred to me – saying that I fuck cows and all sorts of stuff. Pretty funny stuff, actually. But the shock was like a bullet to the chest that I felt when I realized Fuck, I’m not immune to this, they don’t love me enough to not do this to me. Right? I’m not in the inner circle. It’s an illusion. I’m not really in at all. The stuff they were saying was brutal. It was a joke for them, but there was a reason they weren’t saying it to my face. They knew it would hurt my feelings deeply if they said it to my face. It was beyond banter. It was personal attacks, wounds.
This just further enabled my avoidant attachment problem. I realised that I don’t even have real friends. Nobody. There were people in that circle who I considered to be my best friends at the time. And nobody stepped up for me, nobody at least walked away from the conversation or didn’t join in. They all jumped in. Now, a lot of it was only hurtful because I was sensitive. There was stuff that maybe could have just been banter if I’d been there face to face. But the fact that they waited until I was away to do it, that was a clear message there about how they felt about the information, what they thought I’d feel about it.
Now, of course, girls became a big deal in high school for me. And there were a lot of key experiences that rocked my world there, but I’ll share a couple with you.
One was a friend of mine who lived across the road. He was a good friend, a year younger, and he was everything I wasn’t when it came to girls. I don’t mean he was more handsome than me or anything like that. But he just had this natural ability that was absolutely mind blowing to me. I understand it now but back then it was like magic, where girls just fell into his lap. He got the treatment from girls that hot girls get from guys. It was ridiculous. They would chase, they would compete for him. He had girls like two years above him having sex with them, which is unheard of in high school to go down the levels like that. And I remember there was a party where there was a queue of gills patiently waiting to get with them, taking turns on hooking up with him. It was insanity. And me being basically his best mate was just, it was like tall and skinny or short and fat; I was so different to him. Same party, I’d be the one who’s organizing the line for him. No girls interested in me.
That’s the time where sex was becoming a big deal. We were lying about who’s getting laid and all that. And this guy just lived in this different realm where girls just loved him. And it was, it didn’t make any sense to me, because he didn’t behave in a way that I thought girls would like. He was always taking the piss out of them, he was always kind of doing whatever he felt like doing, saying offensive things, he didn’t give a shit. To me – that’s how naive I was, of course – me at the time was like, How does that work out? Why would it go like that? Instead of maybe just looking at the results and realizing that is what girls like, you idiot!
And this guy, I’d watch him all the time, just jaw on the floor wishing I had what he had. And just how painfully obvious it was that I was the opposite, like how awkward it would be for me to go on my one date per year, and how painful it was to try and find a girl that would like me, and how the only girls who liked me were crazy as fuck, you wouldn’t want to go near those girls. And all the other people were having girlfriends and having experiences, and I was just left behind, just feeling like I had some sort of Arrested Development. I just couldn’t figure out what everyone else was figuring out.
So he always stood out to me. One of the reasons he was so significant was because he planted a seed about what women actually respond to. And it wouldn’t be another decade before that seed grew into anything for me, when it was validated and confirmed, or more so because it was explained to me. What I was seeing finally made sense.
Becoming him became my goal, it just took me many years to achieve that goal, there was such a lot to learn.
Now another key moment was I had my first sort of girlfriend in high school. And she was not interested in being sexual at all. I made a big effort for three weeks to get a very chaste kiss on the lips. Which at the time, in my circle of friends was a big deal, how much you’re getting, and we always used to talk about the specifics, and you’re getting severely mocked and so on. And I remember, this is the first and only time I ever cheated on a girl.
I was at a party and this really unattractive girl was clearly interested in me. And I just grabbed her and kissed her as a kind of, I don’t know, form of revenge on the girl who wouldn’t be sexual with me or whatever.
Now this was a significant experience for a number of reasons. One is now looking back on it with the wisdom I have now, I know that I wanted to get caught. I know that I wanted her to find out that I did that, because it would end the relationship without me having to end it, which is a classic pattern for nice guys. The avoidant attachments, we try to get ourselves fired, so to speak, rather than quitting. And that’s exactly what happened. The friend I mentioned earlier who secretly liked to hurt me, but while pretending to be my friend he told on me. And so I must have subconsciously known that doing it in front of him was exactly the right move to get rid of her.
She was so much more devastated than I could have possibly predicted. It wrecked her. I remember that phone call, even where I was standing in my house during the phone call, because of how emotional it was. And I just didn’t realize she liked me that much and that I’d really broken her heart. I actually figured that I was trying to reject her before she rejected me because I took the non sexuality on her part as a sign of disinterest. And I didn’t realize that wasn’t the case at all, she was just nervous. And actually, I wasn’t leading.
Anyway, she later basically became a slut. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I mean, she used to use fucking dudes to feel better about herself, and was known for that. And she then became the classic pregnant teen and single mom, and she had that whole life. I saw her many years later and actually apologized to her when we’re adults, and she made it very clear that I was a significant factor in the way she chose to become. I’m not saying I’m really to blame but you know, she was innocent and I broke that and she maybe would have had a much better life had I not done that. Actually, she definitely would have had a much better life if I had not done that.
And the amount of damage I did was so contrary to my nature. Underneath most nice guys is a genuinely nice person. And just to think that I did that much damage when actually I was trying to get myself out of it is the reason I’ve never cheated since and never will. I can’tdo that to another person; for me it felt like murder. I could never do that again.
So I eventually got laid in high school. A girl does like me. It takes me about eight months to do anything about it. She was patient… and she initiated. And I have my first relationship, I lose my virginity, I have a long term relationship for the first time. And that’s when the nice guy emerged. I didn’t know how much of a nice guy was until I was put into a relationship situation, which was my high stakes environment. I’ve got a girl that likes me and I want to keep her, without getting so intimate that I get my feelings hurt. What a difficult game to play.
And so I did everything I could to keep her happy every second of the day. Difficult to do with any woman, but especially difficult with a precocious teen girl. Again, this is a girl, she wasn’t superficial or particularly crazy or anything, but she was certainly – she felt her emotions deeply. And she had a huge range of… as she’s a teen with teen girlfriends, and they’re always bitching about each other and giving each other shit and making each other cry and all that. So it was very difficult work for me to keep her happy and consistent all the time.
I had to learn very quickly how to be sexually pleasing, even for my first sexual relationship, and so on and so forth. And for two and a half years, every ounce of my energy went into making her happy. Then of course, as we got into, two and a half years took us out of high school. I’m at uni now, or getting close to it, and there are no issues. Then she broke up with me. Now I say out of nowhere, because that’s what it looked like from my perspective, like everything’s going smooth sailing. Then only for a couple of weeks, she’s distant, she’s got this new group of friends with a new job, I don’t really know what’s going on. It’s weird when she’s not getting back to me like she usually does and so on so forth. Been a while since we had sex, what’s going on? And one day, she shows up like, We need talk, and I’m just like, Oh fuck, I’m dumped, dumped after like two and a half years. Holy fuck.
What I now realize is that being a nice guy is absolutely boring as fuck to be with. You don’t get an emotional range. You can’t respect the guy. It’s predictable. It’s unexciting. And even if predictability and unexciting was a strength, the fact that it’s just forced and fake and there’s no real emotions going on – no woman so stupid that she can’t eventually figure out that this ain’t right. And something deep in her just goes, Get away from this dude. Which is what happened. She just left. She found someone who was more real, perhaps she may have cheated on me. I’m not sure, this was never confirmed.
But once again, I’m abandoned. It seemed to be for no reason. It seemed to be out of my control. And so, if my avoidant attachment wasn’t already fully flared, now comes to be my persona. I’m never letting someone hurt me like that again. I let my guard down. She got in. I loved her. And then she crushed me out of nowhere. And I just came to see the world in this bitter way that I see now in the red pill communities and stuff. These guys who got a shocking hit like this, or more than one, and their reaction was to view the world as unfair and view themselves as victims, and I went there.
And this is also around the time that I went to university and had another shock, which is I have no fucking idea how to socialize and make new friends. (I didn’t realize until much later that the uni crowd is not my type of people). But I desperately was trying to ingratiate myself with them, trying to get in with the crew. But partly it was a logistical thing I had, because I was so interested in psychology, I sort of cobbled together this super degree of psychology and I didn’t have all the classes the same like most people did, who were doing the same stream this year. So I wasn’t seeing people as often. I wasn’t quite able to form the cliques with them like they did. Then I wasn’t getting invited to parties, and I live far away and all this stuff. And once again, I’m like, Holy shit, I don’t really have any friends.
Something started that would continue long into my 20s, which is: I’d get anxious before the weekend. Is anyone going to text me? Is anyone going to let me know what they’re up to? Are they going to text me back? Do I really have friends at all? Am I going to be sitting at home with my parents this weekend? God forbid. Uni and the Breakup happened at the same time. That was the start of my four year drought of no sex despite my best efforts. It was the start of a growing awareness that I don’t actually have many real friendships, that the crew I hang out with, the group that don’t seem to miss me when I’m gone, they don’t seem to give a fuck about me. They forget to invite me to stuff. They weren’t callous mean people that were bad people. I just wasn’t important to them. They didn’t feel deeply connected to me. I was just entertainment and I had created that. I was the one that engineered that situation.
My avoidant intimacy was starting to have its downsides. Like many childhood strategies, especially nice guy syndrome, it’s in adulthood where it starts to backfire, and I’m starting to experience that backfire. Now I’m struggling to make friends at university, struggling to have a connection with my real friends, feeling very alone, not knowing what to do with women.
Not getting anywhere with women because partly, I had an issue with erectile dysfunction that I was aware of that when I was with a new girl, I couldn’t really get it up because I was too nervous. And so I had started to unconsciously self sabotage myself with women. So consciously, it felt like I was trying really hard with girls all the time, every weekend, dancing near them at the nightclub, or trying to make them laugh in my friend circle and desperately hoping something would happen. I had friendzone after friendzone with these girls that I’d spend four nights a week hanging out with them at their house and just end up becoming the gay friend. It must have been at least half a dozen girls that I did this with, six to eight months at a time. Brutal.
God, it’s so painful to think back, just desperately trying to get laid, and not really superficially, not just wanting to get my dick wet, but just for validation. I just wanted someone to like me. And the only validation I trusted – because people had abandoned me so often- was sex. That was the only thing that I could trust, like a girl really does actually like me. If she just said, I like you, we’re great friends, kiss me anything – that could be fake. Until she opens her legs, how can I be sure that I’m a good person? That’s where my self esteem was. I’m not alone in that.
So when you’ve also got erectile dysfunction, which prevents you ever claiming that prize – well, it’s a kind of hell, isn’t it? And so I lived in hell for my early 20s. The only moments of happiness I had were being alone, like reading books and stuff like that; the rare times that I went on international trips, like when I went to America the first time, (which I’ll talk about); and drugs, drugs and alcohol. Getting high and drunk was about my only time that I’d experience real pleasure. The rest of the time, I was basically just anxious or miserable.
And it really came home one year. My friends used to always go away together in a group for New Year’s Eve, a week or two somewhere, camping usually. And it was something we had to organise very early in the year because all the best spots get booked out. And one year, they just didn’t remember to include me in the plans. Because I realised about halfway through the year, Oh, it’s getting on a bit. Somebody should be organizing something. And I was never the organizer person – which of course I have to take ownership for. But the ones who usually were the organizers hadn’t been in touch, so I reached out to them with, Who’s organizing new years? Oh it’s blah, blah, blah, Okay, blah, blah, what’s the plan? He’s like, Oh, yeah, we are all booked out, man. It’s already sorted. Did you want to come with? I was like, The fuck fo you mean, do I want to come with? I hang out with you guys every weekend? What the fuck else am I gonna do? Oh, sorry, the campsite us booked out now, there’s no room for you.
There was also a little bit of pushback, like maybe somebody could have squeezed me into a tent or let me sleep in the back of their car, which is what they did for their preferred people. If I was one of the inner crew, they would have moved mountains to get me there. But they’re just like, Sorry, man. It’s all booked. Yeah, no room, sorry. Like I was some interloper, trying to get in on something that I wasn’t really welcome to, which may have actually been the case.
So for the first time, I realized that’s a real, real accurate measure of where I stand, especially because in the same year, I’d see them wrangle somebody else in who forgot and didn’t care, but somebody they loved. They’ll give that person – they’ll make that happen. He can sleep on the floor, at least. For me, it was more like, Sorry mate, there’s only a double bed left and we need there for our coats, you know, so sorry.
So that was a big wake up call where I realized I don’t have any friends. Really. I mean, I did have a couple, I don’t want to dismiss those. I’m still friends with them to this day. But my big crew crew, like a dozen more people – I actually had various groups that I’d be sort of connected to – I realized that I’m nothing to them. They don’t care if I live or die, really. I mean, that’d be sad if I die, but not for very long.
Also, when I went to the USA for the first time, only for almost six months, I think overall, and I came back and nobody had missed me. That was another big warning sign. Nobody was emailing me or hitting me up on social media to see how it was going or anything, except for the few that I really was close with.
But the USA trip itself was another eye opener, and another one that sort of formed me. I don’t know why. It was partly who I was with, I went with the few people in New Zealand that I was actually connected to in a real way. A couple of guys.
But I was in this new country. And I was in this progressive environment. I went to one of the rich kid camps where you’re allowed to be whatever the fuck you want. They had a magic section, they had a circus section with a trapeze and all, they had a Dungeons and Dragons room, they had fucking climbing, they had waterskiing, every type of person on the fucking planet was there. Tennis!
I’d been lucky enough to get into one of the rich kid camps as a camp counselor, through an exchange program thing that they do. And I realized, Fuck, I can be anything I want here. I’m can be a rockstar. I’m can be a fucking nerd and there’s a group. And I’m welcomed by everybody. Everybody welcomed everyone. There was little to no bullying. And I saw basketball kids hanging out with Dungeons and Dragons kids, no problem at all. I’ve never seen that before in my life, where I can be anything.
And instinct kicked in where I was like, Go on then, just be you. Now, I don’t know how authentic I’d rate it now looking back, but as a first go, I don’t know, I dressed differently, I just said how I feel to people, told them I liked them. I was still pretty avoidant, and hiding behind humor and stuff, but nowhere near as much as in New Zealand. I was included a lot more, people were inviting me to stuff instead of leaving me behind. I had a couple of really close friends. I even had a girlfriend for the first time in forever, though I still didn’t consummate it because of my problems. But, I got to sort of see what being myself might look like. I got a taste.
I was actually depressed about the idea of going back home and knowing that I’d have to revert back to the people pleaser, because for the first time in forever I was being welcomed as whatever I wanted to be. And I could speak my mind more honestly, and so on. It’s probably 10% of the honesty I currently live by, but back then it was a big deal.
It was also around that time, there was a girl I had a crush on since high school. And she emailed me while I was in America. Long story short, saying I had missed an opportunity with her because I’d gone to America. We had actually had a little date right before I left, I think and then by the time I got back she was engaged to somebody. So that was a pretty small window of opportunity. But that was a significant event for me as well because she liked me.
And there was a dawning realization: maybe girls do like me. The reason that stood out was because that email was maybe the first time in fucking forever that a girl I liked had shown that she liked me back, and liked me back like romantically not just as a friend. Prior to that I’d only ever sort of hung out or hooked up with girls who liked me but I didn’t really like them. And so when I realized, Man, a high quality irl by my standards likes me, it was just again like a seed planted, like maybe I’m not as fucking much of a loser as I thought I was; there’s some other reason why I’m not doing so well with girls. Maybe there are girls who do like me and I’m just not being able to make that connection somehow.
Before we get into the pickup artist period of my life there was one thing that happened.
I was in town one night and there’s two dudes having a fight – well more like three dudes but primarily two – and it was very much an uneven battle. So one guy was basically whopping the ass of the other dude. And I didn’t know the backstory. I just sort of turned the corner and this fight was happening, but all I could sense was like no matter what the little dude has done, fights over. Like he’s done. He’s had enough. And I actually got in between.
Here I am thinking I’m afraid of confrontation. I’m afraid of violence. I’m afraid of being hurt and so on so forth. And here I am, without thinking I was getting between two brawling as dudes. I think I actually took a bit of a punch myself or I know I had some sort of injury from just being in the way. But I separated them. I got home that night – which I didn’t realize until I got home – I looked in the mirror and I’m covered in the loser dude’s blood from like chin to waist, all over my shirt. I was just covered in blood, looking like fucking Dexter you know?
I just remember looking at the blood going, How is it I’m brave enough to get into that situation but I’m such a pussy? And just again it was this thing prodding from the darkness of my subconscious. Just like when I missed the opportunity with the girl, and I was myself a bit in America. I just saw these things that I’m capable of that didn’t make sense to who I thought I was. Like I’m stronger than I think I am, and more lovable than I think I am. I guess I just got this prodding. All of this would come to fruition later. But I got these prods throughout my life of like, Come on, bro look what you’re what you can do, look who you could be. And then it would just like disappear back into the blackness and I’ll go back to people pleasing, thinking that was the best I could offer, like me by myself wasn’t good enough so I gotta put on a show. So every now and then I’d see these moments of glory, nobility or great results that just didn’t line up with who I was. It wasn’t possible to me to be that person and get that result, that kind of thing.
Then one day, I’m on the internet. This is myspace days; old school. Searching around, I don’t know exactly what I’m searching for, maybe how to get a date or something, I’m desperate at this point, the droughts been going for a long time. Even when a girl likes me, I don’t know what to do about it. Fucking desperate. I’m dying here. Everybody but me is having success with women. And I stumble across what looks like a kind of online argument, or some kind of forum. And in this forum guys are talking about women, but in a way I’d never seen before in my life.
They’re talking about women like a computer algorithm. To this day, I don’t remember who was looking at, probably some of the old school masters of the pickup artist movement before it was famous, before anybody knew what the fuck was I stumbled onto it briefly for a short time. And I remember being shocked by what I was reading. These guys were talking about a systematic way to make a girl like you. And if what they were saying was to be believed, it worked. And I did nothing about it at the time – it was it was like seeing the plans for a nuclear bomb and just going, I fucking don’t want to make this, it’s too dangerous. But I knew what I was seeing was something that was hidden from society. And important to me.
And you know, maybe I just wasn’t desperate enough, but it stuck in my memory long enough that years later, when I’m working for a book place for selling books for some fucking reason, I see this book called The Game. And it looked like a Bible. And that’s why I picked it up, like What is this? And it says something about how to get women, and something inside me stirred like, Oh, is this like this shit, the thing I read on the internet that time, that weird forum thing? It’s now a book? Has somebody turned it into a book?
Now this time I’m ready. I’ve had enough. For years, no girls even seeming to like me, desperately alone, thinking I’m never going to have a girlfriend again in my life. Everybody teasing me about it. And this book looks like the fucking Bible. Yeah, I’m gonna give it a read! In fact, I shoplifted it. Well, I stole it from my workplace. I just acted like I was taking it to sell it somewhere and just kept it. I read it.
I must have read it cover to cover in a single night. And I read it many many more times. Bookmarking pages, highlighting passages, it really became my Bible. It had the gold trim around the edge of the pages, and then like a black leather case with the built in bookmark thing made out of ribbon. And as I read it, not only did I relate to the author so strongly, just this hope bloomed like, There’s a way out this! This is what no guy who is good with girls has ever been able to explain to me. Whenever I’ve asked they haven’t been able to give me advice that I could actually follow. He hasn’t been able to break it down to steps that allow for my lack of courage or anything.
And here’s a book that does exactly that, to the fucking letter, no stone unturned.
The fact that the book ends in disaster for the people doing it, I just dismissed it like, They got laid. The idea that this is actually a dark path to walk that just ends in misery and ruin and nobody actually gets anything out of it in the long run. I didn’t give a fuck. That guy who hasn’t had sex and for years but knows what sex is like, yeah he doesn’t care about that. I certainly didn’t.
Again, this is where my courage both sort of went for me and against me. I went out all by myself, no support, no awareness of anybody else doing this stuff in Auckland, New Zealand, where I think I was one of the few maybe – for all I know I was the pioneer in Auckland, the first to do pick up stuff on his own. Later on I became aware of other dudes doing it, but it does seem that I was like one of the first. I mean, I took this book when it first was published. It wasn’t even known when I stole it.
Anyway, I started going to clubs and pubs, and for the first time in my life I was initiating conversations with strangers. Now it was very fake. What I was doing was contrived. I was practicing lines that I had read and books, and later on in online forums. I literally had a piece of paper in my pocket with a to do list, like a checklist of stages I needed to go through in a conversation, good bits to use, and each stage of the conversation. And my goal for that night, maybe it’s maintaining eye contact, maybe it’s touching, maybe it’s trying this new routine. It was very scripted and manipulative. But it fucking worked.
By saying, when I say it worked, I don’t mean it got me healthy relationships with great people. Because I certainly did not do that. When I say it worked, what I mean is, for the first time in my life, I was able to talk to girls and get a positive response that wasn’t friendzoning. Right? I had girls laughing with me, flirting with me. Eventually, after many months of practicing, I would have girls offering their phone number.
And then slowly but surely, sure enough, I broke the dry spell. It was actually with a girl I went to high school with, but I basically I used the stuff I’d been learning on her. And she went from high school buddy to fuck buddy, which I’m sure was to her disappointment because I was terrible in bed after so long out of the game. But this thing had broken the drought, the drought that had plagued my mind every day of my life for four fucking years, multiple times per day coming up as something that bothered me. It was finally over. I had a phone full of phone numbers. I had girls texting me three, four times a day. It was just that I’d never seen anything like this before. I never had this much love from women in my life before.
I didn’t realize of course, I could have had that all along had I just been real and authentic with girls. But I didn’t have that comparison. I had a life of being alone and unloved by girls as comparison. And this was like finding heaven on earth. It was one of the happiest periods of my life to date. One of the most exciting and optimistic periods where I was like, Fuck, I have a future with women. I know what I’m doing now, and it just got more and more.
Then it started to kind of skew off in a direction where the more successful I became, the less satisfying it became. So at some point I was now doing well, I’d have sex regularly, there’d be times where I’d be seeing more than one girl at a time, calling it discreet open relationships, like they didn’t know they were in an open relationship. There were girls using me for sex to get back at their boyfriend. Stuff like this was happening, which to me, written on paper in my 20s, would look like the lifestyle of my dreams. But there’s something coming up.
One is that they never stayed with me for very long. Like once I run out of material, it got old. At first I’d blow her away, I’d make all her friends jealous or piss off all the guys who are trying to get with her by just scooping her up in one go. Then three weeks later, she’d lose interest and move on.
Another thing that was happening is I started to feel really uncomfortable about sleeping with girls after kind of seducing them. Do they even know who they’re really sleeping with? Is this the same as fraud? It started to feel a bit rapey, frankly. And it also, I realized, it wasn’t really validating because the guy they liked was the guy I constructed based on material that I learned from other dudes that was primarily about getting with girls. And the real me was still alone. None of these girls were staying with the real me.
The ones who were with me long enough that I couldn’t keep up the act much longer, they lost interest, which told me the real me was still unloved. And so it was starting to get just unsatisfying. So like most people when it’s unsatisfying, I just did more of it. Trying to change it up, trying different styles.
At this time, the whole game thing was this huge industry. I’d actually paid to go on like a bootcamp where when I went to Sydney and did stuff under an instructor’s eye, in real life, which by then I was actually doing really well with it, so to speak. And there’s all these different styles and one style that was coming out was a kind of one that they called Direct, which is where you go to a girl in the middle of the day, right there on the street, and say, I think you’re gorgeous. I wanted to meet you.
And that appealed to me because at the time not only did it do the one thing that none of the other styles were doing, which is just you came out right with your attraction. You didn’t hide it and make them earn it. You just said, I like you, straightaway. And it had that honesty appeal to it, where I’m like, If I can say that straight up, then I’ve got nothing else to hide. And it didn’t so much have scripted routines and such. It was more they had you talk about yourself or ask about her but it was kind of like You put you into it. At least that’s how I interpreted it, which led to one of my biggest moments in my life.
After three months of trying and failing to muster up the courage to do this, I finally went to a shopping mall, went up to a girl and said, I think you’re gorgeous. And she smiled. And that smile was one of the biggest game changers in my entire life. That smile said, You being you and saying what you really think is something I like. And I don’t know if I’d ever really heard that before; seen evidence of that – a girl out of nowhere just liking me for me saying what I think and how I feel about her and nothing else. I wasn’t putting on a show or anything. I guess a show of bravery, perhaps.
But that first so called direct approach was my first step actually away from the pickup artist thing. Because as I did it more and more, I started to realize this only really works if I’m being real with them. If you just go up to any girl and say, I think you’re gorgeous, even though that’s not what you really think of her, you don’t actually get that great smile and reaction. It has to be the spontaneous like, Holy fuck, that she has to feel that you are actually feeling. And I realized that I can’t script this anymore. I had to go to people, look at them, and then say whatever’s on my mind.
And I started doing it with anybody. I’d do it with a girl who’s walking with her parents, elderly parents, not like a child, or girls with their boyfriend, or just a group of dudes. And I realized this isn’t just romantic, I can do this anywhere, anytime. As I did that more and more, the goal shifted from getting the girl and getting laid and all those things, which I now found relatively straightforward, to impressing myself. What’s the most dangerous situation I can do this in? What’s the boldest thing I can say? Can I teach someone else and show them how it’s done? and so on.
And that’s where I started shifting more and more to focus on courage and honesty, and eventually just to focus on honesty. Eventually, I realized that I don’t need to worry about trying to get laid or get a girlfriend or anything because honesty will take care of that for me. It will only allow the best girls through. And then eventually, over months of practice, I weaned myself off the strategy of pickup artistry. And got to just honesty.
I got to radical honesty, where I would happily say something that would make people reject me, make them think less of me or hurt my reputation. I just didn’t give a shit. I just felt impressed that I said that. I don’t care if it gets a bad reaction. I’m confronting people. One of the stories I’ve told before, where I confronted all my workmates about gossiping, it just made them hate me, but I didn’t care, and so on. And that’s when I guess I picked up this kind of religion of honesty, as I call it. I decided that I’m going to go all in on honesty. I don’t care if it means I sleep by myself tonight. Honesty is all that matters. It’s the only thing I’ve ever thoroughly enjoyed. And the only time I get validation is healthy validation. It’s the kind of thing that means they like me for who I really am. And I came to realize that that’s the ultimate form of social connection; it’s where you’ve shown someone everything about you, so they really are like, Yeah that, that’s what I like.
I came to realize I don’t want everyone to like me, I just want that. Just a few people who feel like that, that’s good enough for me. Basically, that will also lead to me going, I don’t even need anyone else to feel that way about me. I need to feel that way. That’s it, though it is very nice when other people do. And as a married man, I guess I got into it.
Last few experiences would be related to my department of corrections working experience and my coaching. But I won’t go too far into that because by this stage I had really worked through most of my nice guy stuff.
But in corrections was the final frontier for confrontations. I had the biggest scariest guys ever confronting me on a daily basis. And it was just trial by fire. So I went in there as a meek lamb, being intimidated and manipulated by these dudes. And a few years later, I was telling them how to step right. And not just that, but leadership I learned. I became a manager and a coach within that role. I learned how to lead others, how to get the best out of people without manipulating them, how to bring out their best that was already in there. Which eventually became coaching.
And every single coaching session I have is an education in psychology, teaches me more about myself, makes me have realizations about myself. And other stuff too, but I don’t want to go too much longer because that isn’t what really counts towards nice guy recovery as much as the other stuff I’ve talked about today. Actually, I can see in my notes I left out a lot of things. But you don’t want to be sitting here for five hours.
So that’s some of the key experiences that formed me and then destroyed me. And then reformed me. And I wouldn’t change a single thing. I’ve done some horrible things. I’ve had some shitty experiences of pain, and a lot of pain psychologically and emotionally. But every single bit of it was a step in the staircase, I couldn’t change any of it. If I changed any of those things that ever happened, no matter how awful they were, I’d be less now. So they have to stay. And I can’t change them anyway. So that helps.
Thank you for listening. I’m flattered if you got this far and give a shit about my life, and I hope there was something in there, a few at least if nothing else, something to relate to. And I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Unless they’re negative, in which case I’ll ignore you. And I’ll see you guys next time. Oh, yes, of course. If you want any help, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org I’m available for coaching as always. See you guys next time.