It’s puzzling. What makes The Asshole so appealing to women? What’s the secret and why do Nice Guys end up standing on the sideline holding a Most Improved Award?
Part of the truth lies in The Asshole’s ability to take care of himself. Nice Guys do not know how to do this, and instead, wear a collection of hats representing these honorable qualities, seldom living up to the integrity they’re convicted of living out. Nice Guy Syndrome infers those who symptoms include, but are not limited to: cleverly hiding their flaws, pleasing to someone’s every whim, passive and non-confrontational, always looking to fix someone else’s problems, and having absolutely no idea their frustration is building up like a pressure cooker. But The Asshole doesn’t have it all down either.
Now, I am not a woman and I am not gay. I cannot speak on behalf of womankind, or the gay community, and I get that I am in a privileged position because I am a male and I am white. However, this article is not about equality, or race, or money, sexual preference, or feminism, or honestly even intended for women. However, I do not discourage anyone from reading onward. This is a wake up call for those unknowingly struggling with Nice Guy Syndrome. It is imperative for Nice Guys to address this misconstrued misnomer, understand their motives behind their actions, and be at peace knowing that it’s not entirely their fault, but entirely their responsibility. So, this is for the Nice Guys, the real assholes.
Nice Guys are different. Most of them are sensitive, benevolent, and will throw themselves into traffic to control harmony. They see their relationships through a portrait of order and fairness, presumably understood by their partner who is their emotional nucleus. In actuality, Nice Guys are subconsciously delusional – the original control freaks, unbeknownst to themselves, believing that if they are good, generous, caring, and unfailingly loyal, their partner will see their good deeds and love them with the utmost gratitude. It’s a Nice Guy fairytale.
However, the actions of a Nice Guy cannot be criminalized because they are, in fact, really thoughtful actions. This is not the problem. The actions are separate from the Nice Guy and they can be performed authentically by any living person. It is the foundation of why they are behaving this way that is concerning.
In my experience, and with men who I’ve talked to about Nice Guy Syndrome, most find this two-faced behavior done unknowingly. Nice Guys never intentionally manipulate anyone, especially a significant other, but in retrospect, and after analyzing their prior behavior, their actions were the very definition of manipulation and secrecy. There is always a repressed catch, no matter how sensitive and passionate he appears on the surface. The Nice Guy is running from his needs.
More often than not, Nice Guy Syndrome is rooted in childhood. Somewhere down the line, and through a myriad of possible scenarios, the thought that one’s needs were not important, or it was wrong for having those needs, fostered a psychological problem instilling fear, rejection, and apprehension from an early age. Nice-Guy-Babies believed that if they could fix problems, appear helpful, and avoid their needs they will be rewarded with requited love and appreciation.
All this does is create avoidance. Nice Guys live their lives through ignoring their needs, and they go to great lengths to avoid chaos and conflict in an attempt to reciprocate approval from those they love. They’re essentially caretakers and approval seekers. Instead of saying what they need, Nice Guys will feel overwhelmingly selfish, and will stuff those needs away like a bad habit. Priorities do not resonate with them. A priority, or more accurately defined, virtue, is their driving force, and they will put others before themselves at all costs.
As a coping mechanism, Nice Guys replace their needs with relentless giving because of their inability and denial to take care of themselves. They always feel like they are fine, and conclude that it’s their partner that is being thoughtless and selfish. Like balancing on a tightrope, they worry that if they disagree, if they perpetuate an argument, if they aren’t always there, they’ll lose the girl and become a misrepresentation of this Nice Guy personality they believe is so honorary. Nice Guys are incredibly secretive about their flaws and will control every avenue to keep their skeletons locked in their closet…or under their mattress.
However noble, the actions themselves have nothing to do with the Nice Guy. It is their belief system that surrounds these actions that prevents them from getting or communicating what they need. Nice Guys subconsciously give to get because it’s abhorrent to ask for anything.
Now, not everything the Nice Guy does under the Sun is secretly self-serving. Nice Guys are not inherently evil, and the persona is not a ploy to deceive another person for exploitation and hedonism. Nice Guy Syndrome is purely a denial of one’s needs.
The Nice Guy must understand that his partner is not responsible for reading his mind and may not always commend his “charitable” nature. True giving does not incur reciprocity. The Nice Guy needs to accept the thought that he has needs, and it is absolutely necessary to need them – no compromise. If the Nice Guy does not make time for himself or his friends, or communicate any of the truly important issues swarming him like a horde of gnats, he will drown in a relationship maelstrom. What Nice Guys fail to realize is that their seemingly selfless behavior is actually the epitome of selfishness. Their actions reflect an inability to communicate a problem, and instead, they give themselves to get appreciation.
People can make their partner happy, but they are not responsible for their partner’s happiness. Take it from someone who used to be the goddamn campaign manager for Nice Guys.
There is this vehement conviction that if Nice Guys embody this selfless representation of what they think is relationship approval, or the road towards impeccable chivalry and sweetness, or an honorable martyr, or the antithesis of The Asshole, or anything but the one who is scorning the hearts of women everywhere, that they are going to be loved and happy. In reality, Nice Guys regain their self-respect and happiness once they get over this fallacy that having needs is selfish and undignified.
So how do nice guys get around this way of thinking? It’s all so backwards to them now. Do they become the jerks they despise or keep on being the nice guy?
Assholes are just as empty. Even though they’re a step ahead by taking care of themselves, their preferred method is to do whatever pleases them, and therefore they are on the extreme end of the spectrum. They’ll preserve their bravado at all costs, and through the process, disregard the existence of other people. Meanwhile, the Nice Guy completely rejects himself and does whatever he can to please the people The Asshole has scorned.
The opposite, the fear of rejection and addressing conflict, is the culprit that puts Nice Guys back in their bedroom, alone. And thus, Nice Guys spend countless hours retracing where they went wrong, self-analyzing to a fault, and likely sink into periods of depression because they never took responsibility for defining and meeting their needs. They took charge of nothing.
So what have we learned?
Nice Guys are at first assholes to themselves, and then assholes to other people.
Assholes are at first assholes to other people, and then assholes to themselves.
If people in a relationship truly care about each other, they will want to meet each other’s needs, but only if both people communicate them truthfully. The more the Nice Guy defines the non-negotiable needs that are important to him, he will feel more fulfilled, confident, and masculine. His partner will be more attracted to a man who takes charge of his own life.
So Nice Guys, quit being such assholes.