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Why Nice Guys breathe quietly

When I was in my first relationship many many years ago, as a full-blown nice guy, there was a weird habit that I picked up.

I’d breathe very quietly at night.

I noticed it happening but I didn’t know why it was happening. So when I was laying next to my partner I’d try to make sure that my breathing basically created no noise whatsoever.

And it wasn’t just my breathing. The way I snuck around, carefully washed dishes, and even peeing so that I didn’t pee into the water and hit the side of the bowl instead. I tried to sort of make as little inconvenient unpleasant noise as I possibly could.

It never occurred to me that I might be the only one doing this, and not doing it for the healthiest of reasons.

This is where a Nice Guy guesses at what the other person’s boundaries are and obeys those guessed boundaries without checking to see if they’re even real.

It’s like the counter to covert contracts (assuming someone knows your boundaries without you saying). Nice Guys will assume they know your boundaries and try to comply with them. They’ll even start feeling entitled to gratitude for being so “good”, even though this whole thing is only happening inside their own minds.

If you’re a Nice Guy, one thing you can start to practice is to behave the way you actually want to and trust that others will speak up if there really is a boundary violation happening. Let them stop you rather than guessing.

Eat the last piece of cake. Practice guitar in the evening. Tell someone about your interest in anime.

Say what you want to say and do what you want to do until someone actually says something, rather than assuming that you are assaulting everyone with even the slightest of movements.

It turns out I could have breathed loudly the whole time.


For more on this topic, check out my podcast episode “How to Set Boundaries through Healthy Confrontations”

How to Set Boundaries through Healthy Confrontations

One Response

  1. Comment: Sure, some people won’t be bold enough to say something, but it’s good for their development to be provoked into reacting

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