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If you pay attention to stories told by women, you may have heard of the self-proclaimed "nice guy": a man who pursues women whether they say yes or no, demanding affection in return for his advances, and often becoming resentful when people don't give him what he wants. To succeed in dating and in life, you need to be a good guy instead of merely being "nice."
Note: This article focuses on straight men, since this is the common and stereotypical demographic of "nice guys." However, people of any gender and orientation can fall into the "nice guy" trap. If you're one of them, you have a problem and you need to work on fixing it.
Method 1Method 1 of 2:Adjusting Your Attitude
Stepping away from being a "nice guy" means learning to be confident, assertive, and willing to let things go when they don't work out.
- 1Know the signs of being a "nice guy." Many "nice guys" work hard to satisfy other people, then get upset when it doesn't get them what they want. You may have a "nice guy" problem if...XResearch sourceXResearch sourceXResearch source
- You are always seeking other people's approval.
- You apologize as a reflex.
- You put others' needs before your own, and your own life suffers for it.
- You have trouble saying "no" to people.
- You're passive and let other people boss you around.
- You often feel like a victim.
- You struggle with dating, and feel like you always give more than you get.
- You end up judging and resenting other people for not reciprocating.
- 2Recognize that being a "Nice Guy" doesn't work. You're likely to get frustrated if you sit around being nice and hoping that something good will fall into your lap.XResearch source
- Many "nice guys" feel like everything they try just doesn't work, and they may end up suppressing their feelings and resenting other people for it.XResearch source
- "Nice guys" can end up with a reputation for being deceptive and creepy, because other people don't know what the "nice guy" wants or what will make him angry.XResearch source
- 3Recognize unrealistic expectations. There are no secret rules of relationships that guarantee that if you do something, you'll get something in return.XResearch source People with "nice guy" ideas may believe that:
- "If I'm nice, women will love me and want to date me."
- "If I meet others' needs, other people should meet my needs."
- "If I do things right, my life will be easier."
- Former "nice guy" Dr. Robert Glover calls these "covert contracts." The trouble with a covert contract is that the other person isn't aware of the terms, or that you are holding them to the contract. Thus, they're bound to disappoint you.
- 4Recognize that nobody owes you anything in return for kindness. Relationships aren't a tit-for-tat exchange, and building up resentment if someone doesn't reciprocate isn't helpful to you. Give for the sake of giving, not because you expect to get something in return.
- Notice if someone doesn't reciprocate. Assume that this person is probably not a good dating option for you.
- Recognize that you don't have to give something if you don't want to. You can say no.
- Remember that nobody has to "give you a chance" and try dating you. Just like you aren't obligated to try dating any random person off the street, nobody ever owes you a date.XResearch source
- If you notice yourself giving in the hopes of getting something back, stop. Instead, just ask for what you want.
- 5Try rejection therapy. "Rejection therapy" is a game you can play to build your resilience and assertiveness skills. Try asking random people for favors; have the goal of making sure they say no to you. Then smile politely and walk away. Here are some examples of things you can do for practice:XResearch source
- Ask someone to race you.
- Ask a store worker for a discount.
- Ask strangers for money.
- Ask to test drive someone else's car.
- Ask strangers to take a selfie with you.
- Warning: Only make the request if you would be okay with them saying "yes!" Sometimes people will surprise you. For example, if you aren't attracted to men but you ask a random guy out and he says yes, that's a bad situation.
- 6Let go of jealousy and insecurities. Quit judging men who are romantically successful, or blaming women for "wanting jerks." Envy is a bad look, and it'll eat you up from the inside (and drive potential dates away). Instead, work on letting things go and acknowledging that there's nothing wrong with you if you don't happen to have what other guys have.
- There are many different ways to be attractive. Some guys are bookish, sensitive, and charming. Some guys are bold, assertive, and spontaneous. Some guys are stoic, gentle, and loving. None of these are wrong. Just because a different guy is attractive in a different way doesn't mean that one of you is less attractive than the other.
- 7Be your own man. Some "nice guys" hear stories about awful men and decide to become the opposite. But they're still relying on other people (especially women) for validation, which isn't helpful.XResearch sourceXResearch source Avoid defining yourself by how you assume that women may see you, and instead, consider how you see yourself.
- You don't need a girlfriend to know that you are a good person.
- Don't feel the need to copy other men who look successful. Instead, focus on your own strengths, and work on being the best version of yourself. This will make you much more attractive, and you'll feel better about yourself too.
- 8Don't be afraid to be masculine. Being a good person doesn't have to mean alienating yourself from your masculinity. If you want to lift weights, be tough, dress like a cowboy, watch sports, or do any other stereotypical "manly" things, you can! Be yourself, own your quirks, and make it part of your style.
- Women don't necessarily find "manly men" unattractive. Aggressive, mean, misogynistic, and uncaring men are unattractive, but you can be manly without being those things. Macho jerks are bad, but genuinely manly men are attractive.
- If you don't feel comfortable being "manly," that's okay too. Focus on wearing and doing the things that make you happy.
- Be yourself, not a chameleon who mimics whatever he thinks women will like.XResearch source
- 9Mean what you say. Many "nice guys" try to avoid making waves because they fear conflict too much. But in the end, they are shooting themselves in the foot, because they don't stand up for themselves and they end up coming off as deceptive. Instead, take the courage to speak your mind.
- Quit saying yes when you want to say no.
- Politely say no to people if they make requests that would be too much of a burden on you.XResearch source For example, if you have to study all weekend and you're asked to babysit for half a day, don't say yes. Just say "Sorry, I have to study."
- Break bad news gently. You don't have to be rude to be honest. For example, you can say things like "No, I think the yellow dress was more flattering" or "I already have plans. Are you free next week?"
- 10Take care of yourself first. Learn to count on yourself. Being a pushover and neglecting yourself isn't good for you. Take care of your own needs first, and once that is done, offer your spare energy doing a mix of things that you enjoy and things that help other people.
- 11Don't unleash pent-up anger on others. Yes, it stinks when you don't get what you want. It's okay to be upset. But that doesn't give you the right to call names, accuse everyone of everything, or act like a bully. If you start swearing or calling names when you get rejected, you aren't acting like a nice guy at all. Find healthy outlets instead of hurting others or blaming everyone but yourself.
- Other people are not responsible for fulfilling expectations they didn't even know you had.
- Don't send angry messages to people who don't want to date you. Instead, take a break and do something that helps you process things or relax. Rage-filled messages can scare women.
- Consider anger management classes if you feel the need to verbally abuse people who don't go out with you.
- 12Consider therapy if you don't know what else to do. If you feel like you're trapped in ineffective and negative behavior patterns, it might help to see a counselor and ask for tools to handle things in more productive ways.
- Some people think that "real men" don't get therapy. In reality, taking a step towards making things right is an incredibly brave thing to do.XResearch source
Method 2Method 2 of 2:Handling Dating
It may take time, but by adjusting your attitude, you can start having a better dating life (and feeling better about yourself too).
- 1Recognize and respect the signs that someone isn't interested. It's normal to strike out sometimes, and if someone is disinterested, it's time to cut your losses and leave. Remember, romantic rejection is normal and doesn't reflect badly on you. It's time to move on if the person you're flirting with is...
- Looking away from you
- Using "closed off" body language, with their arms or legs folded like a barrier
- Trying to change the subject or avoid you
- Turning their body and/or feet away
- Making excuses, like "I would, but..." or "I have a boyfriend" or "I have to go" (You want someone who is enthusiastic about dating you.)
Never keep pushing a person who looks uncomfortable.XResearch source This can really upset them, and they may start crying or asking authority figures for help. If you think you've upset someone, say "I'm sorry for making you uncomfortable. I'll stop" and leave them alone.
- 2Choose potential dates based on personality, not on appearance. Beauty is skin deep, and a gorgeous woman with a mean personality is not a good date. Instead, look for people who are kind, good at listening, and fun to be around (regardless of whether they're "pretty" or not). You'll be much happier with someone who treats you well.
- It doesn't hurt to be attracted to someone who is good-looking. Just make sure that you like their personality too!
- A sweet, funny, ugly girlfriend is way better than a pretty, mean one.
- 3Beware people who seek to take advantage of you. Just like it's wrong for a man to take advantage of an unassertive woman, it's wrong for a woman to take advantage of a man (or for anyone to take advantage of anyone). If you notice that someone seems to be using you, and asks you for things without reciprocating, start spending less time with them.
- As you start becoming more assertive, saying "no," and growing a backbone, it's possible you will lose a few "friends." But it's likely that these people didn't care much about you in the first place. They just liked using you because they knew you were afraid to say "no" to them.
- 4Learn to make peace with romantic rejection. Getting turned down doesn't mean you aren't an upstanding guy. Sometimes, it's a bad time, or the two of you wouldn't be very romantically compatible. If someone rejects you, there isn't anything wrong with you or with them.XResearch source It's just a bad match, and you can move on to the next person who might be a better fit for you. Reasons for rejection can include:
- Incompatible sexual orientations (e.g. a man asking out a lesbian)
- You're not that person's type
- The person is already in a relationship
- The person is too busy for a relationship
- The person wants to focus on their own issues right now
- The person has trust issues
- 5Flirt, and see if they flirt back. Being nice to somebody and hoping they eventually fall in love is a very frustrating, unhelpful tactic. Instead, let the person know that you like them. If they seem clueless, it means you need to dial it up so that they get it. If they seem uncomfortable or start saying that you're "a good friend," it means you need to move on. If they smile and flirt back, it means you should keep flirting, and maybe try asking them out.
- Look at them and smile flirtatiously.
- Find excuses to touch them (if they seem comfortable with it).
- Compliment them.
- Ask them out. It can be simple: even just "I think you're beautiful and I'd like to take you out to a movie sometime" is a good way to ask someone out.
- 6Do things instead of just being nice. Niceness is the bare minimum that most people expect of each other. You don't get a gold star for human decency. If you want to be seen as special, then you need to do special things.XResearch source What do you do that sets you apart from a random guy on the street?XResearch source Use your actions to show your interest and your suitability as a romantic partner.
- Which person do you think the average straight single woman would want to date: the guy who constructs elaborate fantasies in his head without doing anything, or the guy who will listen to her, surprise her with her favorite food and flowers, and rub her feet after she has had a long day at work? (You can be the second guy!)
- Remember that it's what you do, not who you are, that makes you a viable partner. You can change what you do.
Remember: You don't need to be super handsome, gifted, or popular to do special things. All you need is attentiveness, a good attitude, and a willingness to take action in a way that's valuable. Be useful.
- 7Ask for what you want.Assertiveness and good communication are key to getting and maintaining a healthy relationship. If you want to date, kiss, or do something else, take a deep breath and ask.XResearch source Being brave gets you a straight answer, and takes you out of the purgatory of suspense.
- If you get turned down for a date, it's not the end of the world. Now you know that you would be wasting your time trying to date this person, and you can look for the next person to try asking.
- If your date turns down an invitation for a romantic activity, it's okay. Maybe they're too busy, or they aren't in the mood. If you think something might be wrong, just ask "is everything okay?"
- People can tell if you're trying to take a "tit-for-tat" approach.XResearch source For example, if you do little things for your girlfriend in the hopes that she'll reward you in the bedroom, she'll probably figure out what you're doing and think you're manipulative. Instead, only do nice things for the sake of being nice, and ask for what you want.
- 8Start being more open about your feelings. If you're feeling stressed about something, try saying "I'm stressed." If something's bothering you, say "Can I talk to you about something that has been on my mind?" Relationships go both ways, and you can give your partner opportunities to give back to you.
- 9Approach relationship decisions as equals. A "nice guy" may feel like he has to be passive to please the person he's dating. But you can speak your mind and assert yourself without steamrolling your partner.
- If you never tell your date what you want, they may end up feeling very confused because they don't know what's going on in your head. A good partner wants to date someone who will speak their mind.
- Hiding your true wants and thoughts just builds up toxic resentment, which isn't good for you or your relationship.
- 10Focus on partnership, not "winning." Your goal isn't to score or defeat your date, and your date isn't your opponent. Instead, treat relationships like being on a team, or like living life using the buddy system.
- Respect yourself and other people. A respectful man is much more attractive than a "nice" man who neglects himself or says spiteful things behind people's backs.
- Be patient with yourself. Unlearning bad habits and adopting new ones, can take time and practice. Don't expect yourself to be perfect after a day or a week.
- Avoid websites that guarantee they know a perfect trick to make people fall in love with you. Relationships are hard work, and there are no cheat codes to hack the system.
- Stay away from toxic material that disrespects women, or ranks men based on how "alpha" or "pathetic" they are.
- ↑http://attractioninstitute.com/recovering-from-being-a-nice-guy/ (Note: This article takes the "tough love" approach, which may be hard to read.)
- Quiz: Are You A Nice Guy? by Dr. Glover
- 5 Ways to Avoid Becoming a So-Called 'Nice Guy' by Jordan Gray