What is a Nice Guy?

Nice Guy vs nice guy

I’ve come to realise that there’s some confusion about the term “Nice Guy”.

Some use this term to describe people (and themselves) who they consider to be generous, kind, compassionate, giving, helpful, polite, and caring.

And while the Nice Guys I specialise in helping may demonstrate any or all of these traits, they are different from confidently generous people.

Nice Guy Syndrome, a condition coined by Dr Robert Glover, describes men who see themselves as “nice” but are actually quite psychologically and socially disordered due to childhood trauma, which I explore in depth in this video:

It’s all about motives

The key difference between a nice guy and Nice Guy is about WHY they do these “nice” behaviours.

For men with Nice Guy Syndrome, being nice is actually a form of manipulation and strategic self-protection. They would argue against this when challenged, but the truth is easy to find when you look for it.

While a confident guy might be nice without any attachment to outcomes or how he’s perceived (i.e. he doesn’t mind if you don’t notice that he’s being nice or you don’t thank him for it), and Nice Guy is obsessed with the results of being nice.

Some of the results he’s going for:

  • avoid confrontation
  • prevent rejection
  • suppress “negative” emotions in other people and themselves
  • develop a reputation as a good person (rather than actually be a good person) and avoid being seen as a bad person
  • try to make everything feel “fair”
  • avoid being the one who has to take risks through leadership and decision-making
  • keep things comfortable, predictable and enjoyable at all times
  • prove that he is worthy to others – e.g. be seen as talented, reliable, successful, interesting, entertaining etc.
  • make people like him and love him
  • make people happy so they think he’s a good person (not just so they can be happy)
  • get approval and validation from others (“proof” that he’s a good person)
  • remove all problems, hassles, discomfort and obstacles from his life so he has no pain or struggles


While most Nice Guys won’t admit it until they do some deep introspection, their main goal is to control how other people see them (the official term for this manipulation is “impression management), and control how people feel.

They do this by either manipulating people into approving of them, or – if they lack the skills for this – to prevent disapproval to get to the same goal of being liked.

For more about Nice Guy control tactics, check this out:

Their methods and common behaviours

All Nice Guys are slightly different, in fact I’ve identified at least 5 different consistent types: The Performer, The Controller, The Wallflower, The Inner Critic, and the combination who has some of everything.

You may only have some of these traits to qualify:

  • lying to get a better outcome
  • false agreement to avoid conflict and make people feel good around you
  • covert contracts – expecting rewards from people for your good behaviour but not asking directly
  • struggle to initiate sex
  • hiding your preferences if they might offend people
  • backing down from aggressive or assertive people
  • over-achieving and performing beyond call of duty at work or in activities that are judged by others
  • fake laughing and otherwise showing people approval when you secretly disagree or dislike them
  • ruminating on why other people don’t like you and trying to figure out how to turn them around
  • sacrificing yourself for others needs even when they could do it without you
  • treating strangers better than your loved ones
  • Green Light Syndrome – waiting for encouragement or permission to make a move
  • quitting things that are difficult or unlikely to result in him becoming the best quickly
  • punish people with sulking and indirect expression of emotion that they’re force to translate
  • exaggerate and otherwise add fiction to the truth to make you more entertaining, interesting and attractive
  • sticking to what you’re good at and find easy rather than pursuing true passions
  • staying in relationships and friendships without really loving the person

Wanna escape Nice Guy Syndrome and become a confident authentic man? Take my social confidence quiz now to receive free advanced content:

Are you a Nice Guy or just a decent person?

You might wonder if you’re a Nice Guy or just genuinely a kind person. You’ll know you’re genuinely kind (without being driven by insecurities) if:

  • you don’t care if people notice or appreciate your kindness – you just do it because it’s the right thing to do
  • you can also stand up for yourself and upset people if needed to live with integrity, even if it means making them hate you
  • you don’t fear rejection and don’t mind directly asking for what you want e.g. telling a woman you find her attractive without first knowing if she likes you
  • you’re good at ending relationships (i.e. rejecting people), and you don’t force them to do it by sabotaging the connection
  • you prefer being honest over being liked, and you’ll tell a truth that will upset someone if that’s what they really need to know
  • you take care of your own needs first and don’t sacrifice yourself for others
  • you treat those closest to you with more courtesy than total strangers or distant associates (e.g. you’re nicer to your family than your workmates)

If you demonstrate a lot of the traits from that list then you probably don’t have Nice Guy Syndrome (though you could still have other confidence issues).

And if that list doesn’t sound like you very much, and you identify with the other Nice Guy stuff I’ve talked about in this post, then you probably have the syndrome pretty strongly.

How you can make massive progress in just a few months!

You can do all this on your own.

Through trial and error, books, courses and online content, you can figure it out slowly piece by piece over time if you dedicate yourself to it and are willing to fail often and get uncomfortable in order to achieve social mastery and build strong self confidence.


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Thanks for reading

Hope to speak to you soon

Dan Munro



Wanna escape Nice Guy Syndrome and become a confident authentic man? Take my social confidence quiz now to receive free advanced content:

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