How To Stop Being a Nice Guy

It’s exhausting being the nice guy. People walk all over you. Women friend-zone you. You constantly feel disrespected.

However, the fault is not with the world. The fault is with you. You put yourself in that position. The good news is — you can also take yourself out of it.

Learn how to stop being a nice guy, why you must start speaking your mind, and how you can improve your subcommunication.

What It Means To Be a Nice Guy

Let’s get something straight. There are genuinely nice guys, the type of man that both other men and women enjoy spending time with. They treat others respectfully, while not hiding their self-interests.

This is not the kind of nice guy we are talking about in this article. We are talking about the fake nice guy, the man-child who hopes his social niceties will buy him sexual favors.

This nice guy was raised to be a people pleaser. As a child, his mission was to be a “good boy,” to make mommy happy. He has physically grown up in the meantime, but inside, he is still stuck with the same old paradigm. “Must be nice to be liked.”

But what worked with mommy doesn’t work with sexual partners. Women don’t respect the nice guy’s submissiveness. It’s a turn-off. For good biological reasons — being with a pushover is not advantageous to women. If you can’t stand up to her, you won’t stand up to other people either. That makes you a weakling — and weaklings get walked over in life. By associating with you, she would join in your lack of success. Of course, she won’t do that.

If that sounds all too familiar, it means that you have some growing up to do. You must overcome your nice guy syndrome and adopt new, more attractive behaviors. This won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Who Am I To Talk?

For several years, I ran a dating coaching business together with my then-girlfriend. About 80 percent of the men who came to us were self-described nice guys; the term would almost always come up during the initial call.

All of these men understood that their behavior was not attractive to women. At the same, all of them were trying to rationalize it. In their minds, they were just too pure, too well-meaning.

But this is not how others thought of them. They were not perceived as “nice” by women. Rather, they were seen as disingenuous. It was obvious to women that their overly accommodating behavior was fake; they were just hoping to get some. But they were too weak to state their sexual desire outright.

To be clear — I am not hating. Historically, I have displayed many of these tendencies myself. I was also raised to be a people pleaser. And I still catch myself expecting a reward in return for my “nice” front. I know what it feels like to be trapped in this loop.

Fortunately, it is possible to overcome these tendencies. With the methods we taught them, most of our clients eventually did. I will teach you these same methods in this article. In the end, you will know how to stop being a nice guy for good.

10 Signs You Might Be a Nice Guy

Here are 10 telltale signs you might be a nice guy.

1. You Are Overdoing It

It’s one thing to be courteous. It’s another thing to go completely out of your way for a stranger, just because they look attractive.

2. You Are Eager To Please

Nice guys are constantly looking to get a pat on the head. They want others to tell them what a good person they are.

3. You Have a Hidden Agenda

The nice guy pretends to be friendly to others, but in truth, he has an agenda. He is hoping his social niceties will buy him sexual favors.

4. You Are Clingy

The nice guy will call 10 times in a row hoping she will pick up on the 11th time. He doesn’t understand how off-putting their neediness is.

5. You Avoid Conflict

The nice guy’s go-to strategy is to avoid conflicts. He is too afraid to say what he thinks for fear of offending the other person.

6. You Tell Her What She Wants To Hear

Instead of telling your attractive female friend, “I don’t want to drive you to the mall,” you tell her, “Sure, that sounds like fun.”

7. You Have a Scarcity Mindset

The nice guy doesn’t have options. Therefore, he clings to whatever person giving him some morsel of attention.

8. You Are Angry

The polite manners of the nice guy are a facade. In truth, he is angry with others for not reciprocating. This anger often comes out unexpectedly.

9. You Are a Man-Child

As a child, the nice guy always tried to please mommy. Now, he is applying the same strategy to courtship. But it’s not working.

10. You Are Overly Concerned With Fairness

The nice guy is a moralist. He goes on about how things “should be.” He has never learned to see reality for what it is.

How To Stop Being a Nice Guy — A Step-By-Step Guide

Here is how to stop being a nice guy and become a man that others take seriously.

1. Be Congruent

The nice guy pretends to have no expectations, when in fact he does. For example, he might listen to his secret crush’s relationship drama, supposedly to be a “good friend.” But in truth, he hopes to take over for her boyfriend.

There are two ways to break this pattern.

One is to only give if you truly feel like giving. So, if your best friend is having a meltdown and you feel like comforting them, go for it. But if your secret crush is abusing you as her personal psychologist, tell her “No.”

The other option is to clearly communicate your expectations. It is perfectly okay to tell someone, “You realize I am only doing this because I am attracted to you, right?” If you say this with a rakish smile, it might even get you somewhere.

2. Tell the Truth

The nice guy cannot tell the truth; he is too concerned with pleasing his crush. So he will say what is expected of him.

In his head, he thinks is getting somewhere. But the opposite is true. The more you pretend, the less attractive you become. Others can sense you are not being forthright. It makes you look weasely.

You must develop an edge. You must show her what you stand for. And that means telling the truth.

If you don’t want to watch “Emily in Paris” together, say so.

If you don’t want to spend your Saturday at Ikea, refuse her.

If you dislike hanging out with her girlfriends, don’t pretend otherwise.

The point is not to be a jerk. You are not trying to act the “bad boy.” That would be yet another lie.

Rather, you must listen to yourself. Before you react to her request, ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Only then do you open your mouth.

And yes, she might get upset at you. But in the long run, she will come to respect you more. You are showing her the real you. That is attractive even if she might occasionally get mad at you.

3. Practice Being Disagreeable

The nice guy will go along with anything asked of him. To break that pattern, embark on a training program.

First, place yourself in a new social context. Find an event on Meetup or Facebook to attend. You should not know anybody. This will make it easier for you to try out new behaviors. People haven’t labeled you the nice guy yet.

Now, at some point during the event, allow yourself to be a bit disagreeable. For example, if someone says, “I love the new album by Taylor Swift,” reply, “I don’t. She is starting to repeat herself. I think she is too worried about selling albums at this point.” To be clear — only say this if you truly think that. Don’t put on a show.

Another good exercise is to refuse somebody. For example, if someone asks you to hold their drink while they go dancing, say, “I would rather not.”

After these practice sessions, journal about them. Reflect on the instances when you fell back into your old people-pleasing patterns. Write down what you could have done differently.

Keep practicing, and you will eventually be able to implement these behaviors with friends and family, too. They will be a bit shocked at first but also marvel at your newfound moxie.

4. Define Your Parameters

The nice guy is a social chameleon. With person A, he will say what they want to hear. With person B, he will say the opposite. There is no core identity. The nice guy never took the time to find out who he is.

If that is you, you have some catching up to do. You must define these three parameters:

  1. Your values
  2. Your goals
  3. Your boundaries

Your values are what guide you. Ask yourself, “What is my ultimate decision-making criterion?” For example, my core value is freedom. When push comes to shove, this is what I will choose. But for other people, it might be something else, like community.

Your goals are about what you want to achieve in life. For example, one of my goals is to build my personal brand online and monetize that through courses.

Goals should be based on your core values. But where values are all-encompassing, your goals should be specific. “Community” might be your value. “Start a local support group for people with auto-immune diseases,” is a goal.

Your boundaries are about where you draw the line. For example, you might refuse to attend events that you have no interest in.

By defining these parameters you become an entity. Others can now see what you stand for. You are no longer a social chameleon.

5. Work on Your Subcommunication

To rid yourself of your nice-guy vibes, you need to fix your body language.

Here are a few pointers:

Stop smiling so much. A smile should be a sincere expression of how you feel, not your default facial expression.

Stop nodding so much, unless you truly agree with somebody. If you nod at anything, you will seem eager.

Avoid rapport laughter. Many people, when they make a controversial statement, will add apologetic laughter afterward. They are trying to defuse the tension. But it makes them look weak.

To eliminate these behaviors, start recording yourself. For example, record your next Zoom call for work. Afterward, watch the recording. Take note when you displayed any of the behaviors above. Then replay the situation in front of a mirror, but this time without the submissive body language.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Lose

Nice guys are afraid to show themselves as they are, for fear of losing out.

They have a point. By unapologetically stating what you want, you might rub some people the wrong way. You might botch that date or that job interview.

But it just means it wasn’t the right fit. Long term, you would have been unhappy in that relationship. Long term, you would have come to hate that job.

Not every chance is worth taking. Quality over quantity.

7. Learn To Talk to Strangers

As a nice guy, you need to learn how to talk to strangers (both women and men). When you can create new social opportunities for yourself at will, you will stop being so clingy.

But most men are afraid to approach a stranger, and that goes double for the nice guy. To overcome this, you must gradually desensitize yourself to your fear. Here is what that might look like:

  • Every time you leave the house, smile at a stranger in passing. Do this for two weeks, until it becomes second nature.
  • Next, smile and also say, “Hi”. That’s it. Do this for another two weeks.
  • Start giving quick compliments. With women, say, “I know it sounds a bit unusual, but I just had to come over and say you look beautiful today. Have a great day.”
  • With men, you might say something like, “Hey man, I noticed you are wearing a Tool shirt. Great band. Have a good one.”
  • Start asking follow-up questions. With women, you might say, “What I noticed about you is how professional you look. If I had to guess, I would say you are a lawyer. Am I right?”
  • With a guy, you might say something like, “You look like you work out. Do you know a good gym around here? I am looking for a new place.”

If all of this reads a bit awkward, well, it is. There is no perfect formula for chatting up a stranger. You will have to take risks and sometimes, you might sound like a weirdo.

Don’t let this deter you. The more you practice, the more natural you will sound. But it only happens with experience.

8. Look the Fool

As a recovering nice guy, you must try out new behaviors. Initially, these behaviors won’t be congruent. Others will be able to tell and even make fun of you. Don’t sweat it.

It’s like any other skill set. When you first learned to ride a bike, you would constantly fall off. You looked clumsy. But you kept at it. Eventually, you made it look effortless.

Social skills are no different. You must first go through a phase of looking a fool to appear competent later.

9. Stop Overcompensating

Many recovering nice guys have a tendency to overcompensate. I noticed this with my dating coaching clients a lot. Overnight, they would go from acting too nice to being too abrasive.

I am all for you trying out new social behaviors. But use common sense. Don’t become this Clint Eastwood caricature, especially if you cannot back it up in a confrontation.

10. Never Pout

The least attractive feature of the nice guy is their pouting. “I am being so nice, why can’t others be nice to me?” Like a child, they are demanding a reward.

“How to stop being a nice guy,” means overcoming this infantile notion. Other people don’t exist to please you. If others are not interested in what you have to offer, it’s your job to adjust your value proposition. Learn to listen to the market.

Adopt this game logic, and the pouting will stop. You will be too busy looking for solutions.

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