Nice Guy Syndrome: 42 “Fake” Things Nice Guys Do & How to Stop Being One

Do you think that nice guys always finish last? They don’t necessarily. But if you have the nice guy syndrome, there are some things you need to know.

nice guy syndrome

You’ll hear this line from countless women, “Oh, he was okay. I dunno… he was just too nice.” Ouch. You could be the cutest guy in the room, however, when you’re too nice or the guy suffering from the nice guy syndrome, some women feel like there’s no challenge and no chase. That’s why there’s no second date.

If you’ve heard, “you’re such a nice guy,” or “too bad I always go for assholes,” well, it sounds like you’re the nice guy. 

Most guys are terrified of being labeled the nice guy. When this happens, people tend to trample all over you. But you can learn how to stop being a nice guy and instead, focus on being someone people find irresistible and super-interesting! 

Now, your goal shouldn’t be to become a jerk toward women. Instead, you should understand the dynamics between men and women better. [Read: How to be more masculine without being a jerk or an A-hole]

So, you can get through this rough patch. You may genuinely be a nice guy *and we’re not asking you to become an asshole,* but there are some things you can do to save yourself from unnecessary rejection and cure your nice guy syndrome.

Psychology of a nice guy

Okay, before we go any further, let’s make this clear. A nice guy is a great guy, he’s the good guy that all girls want to date and fall in love with.

But in this context, the nice guy is the kind of guy who’s just extra. You’ll know when you meet this nice guy. [Read: What is a simp? Meet Gen Z’s new version of the nice guy]

He’s the guy who isn’t just courteous, but the guy who goes 10 miles extra to be nice to someone. The worst part about this kind of nice guy is his eagerness to please. It’s so strong that you can almost smell it off him. He’s not doing it because he’s genuinely nice. 

He’s being nice in the hope that others around him will like him more for it. His neediness and clinginess are so bad that he’s almost always a pushover and someone who suffers from implosive anger.

He’s angry with the world, he’s angry with himself, and he’s angry with everyone. In his eyes, he’s not being appreciated by anyone even though he’s “trying” really hard to be likable. [Read: What do women want in a man – 41 traits that make a guy VERY desirable]

Get it? You’ve probably come across this guy yourself. And if you haven’t, could YOU be this guy?

What is nice guy syndrome?

You might have heard of “nice guy syndrome,” and if you have it, you need to take action ASAP. 

This occurs when guys lack self-confidence and rather than being themselves, they assume they need to be everything other people need. That means their own needs are left on the roadside. [Read: Nice guys finish last – the real reason why girls dislike a fake nice guy]

Of course, there are also covert nice guys. These types act overly nice to try and gain the attention of women, but when their efforts aren’t rewarded how they want them to be, they become offended. 

However, for the most part, nice guys are literally that – just a bit too nice. They lack the confidence and the “get-up-and-go” of confident guys. This often leaves them friend-zoned and completely missing out on the love they want and deserve. 

While being nice when deserved is fine, being nice all the time is damaging. Learning how to stop being a nice guy to the point of excess is something you should focus on. [Read: Nice guy syndrome – 25 things nice guys do and how to fix them ASAP]

What makes you a nice guy?

As we’ve just mentioned, when you’re a nice guy, you do everything for others a bit too much. This often stems from low self-esteem. 

You don’t have the confidence to just say what you want and let people take it how they will. Instead, you overcompensate and try to do extra-nice things for people. 

You assume that by doing so, they’ll like you back in the same way, because how could they not? [Read: When people use you – stop being a doormat and feel in control again]

The truth is, by acting this way, many girls will simply see you as a doormat. They’ll think you’re a great guy to be friends with and someone to call whenever they want someone. 

Will they see you as a super-attractive guy? Probably not. Because you have nice guy syndrome.

So, if you find yourself falling over yourself to try and be nice to other people, always doing what you think they’ll want and never just going with what you want, you’re being too nice. [Read: People pleaser – 21 signs you’re one and how to stop people-pleasing]

How can you tell that you’re being a nice guy too often?

It can be hard to work out whether you need to learn how to stop having nice guy syndrome. After all, being nice isn’t a bad thing per se, but it’s about moderation. 

It’s only when you notice a problem that you need to learn how to stop being a nice guy. 

Ask yourself if you always do everything for others and never anything for yourself. [Read: How to stop being needy – why people get clingy and 32 ways to fix it]

Then, question whether your intentions are truly because you want to be nice or because you’re trying to get them to like you or do something.

Do girls always tell you that you’re nice? Have you found yourself friend-zoned more times than you can count?

These are all signs that you need to learn how to stop being a nice guy. That doesn’t mean you should throw niceness out of your character completely, but it does mean that you need to toughen up! [Read: How to be an alpha male – unleash the irresistible inner you]

Signs of a nice guy and examples of nice guy syndrome

You might think you know how to identify a nice guy, but maybe you don’t. Just by the label “nice” you assume he’s just that – genuinely nice. 

Well, that could be true for some guys. But here’s the other side of the “nice guy.” Watch out for these signs.

1. Brags about his own kindness

He always has to let people know how nice he is. The things he says about himself always point to that he would help anyone out at any time – even strangers.

Nice people don’t have to brag about how kind they are, but the nice guy does. [Read: Secrets to stop being a nice guy who’s always walked over by girls]

2. Calls himself a nice guy

Some of them even call themselves nice guys. He’ll say things like, “People are always calling me a nice guy” to, “I’m a nice guy, so of course, I will help you out!” When someone has to refer to himself that way, it makes you wonder.

3. Makes rejection a moral issue

Everyone gets rejected and no one likes it. But a nice guy has a special moral issue with it. 

He thinks the person rejecting him is unethical and that because he’s a nice guy, he’s better than them. [Read: How to respond to rejection and do the right thing even if it hurts]

4. Has problems with empathy or sympathy

This one probably has you scratching your head. Because why would a nice guy have problems with empathy or sympathy? Well, he wouldn’t if he was genuinely a nice guy. But if he’s not, then he will. 

5. Puts down people who reject him

Because he violently hates rejection, he will routinely criticize and put down the people who reject him. He might call them losers, bitches, sluts, or any other name in the book. It makes him feel better doing this. This is a big part of the nice guy syndrome.

6. Believes girls owe him sex because he’s nice

Since he believes that he is better than the “bad boy,” girls will automatically want to have sex with him. It’s almost like he has a sense of entitlement. [Read: How to be a bad boy – wild *and legal* bad traits women love]

He thinks that as long as he treats girls well, they will fall right into bed with him.

7. He’s manipulative

If you haven’t guessed by now, all of the things we’ve talked about so far are quite manipulative. So, in order to get people to believe that he really is a nice guy, he has to put on a fake front sometimes and even lie a bit.

8. He gets put in the friend zone but hates it

We all know the saying, “nice guys finish last.” Well, he knows that saying too. [Read: 30 subtle ways to get out of the friend zone and make yourself VERY desirable]

And by “finishing last”, that can also translate into “forever in the friend zone.” He knows that girls frequently put him there, but he secretly hates it.

9. Thinks basic decency makes him a catch

The last characteristic of the nice guy syndrome is that he thinks his niceness is enough. He opens doors for people, pays for his dates’ dinners, and is nice to servers. These are normal, basic decent gestures most people should do. 

But he thinks that when he does this that it turns him into some sort of superhero that all girls should worship. [Read: How to stop being a nice guy and go from pushover to an achiever]

Why should you stop being a nice guy?

You might be reading this and thinking, how is being nice bad? Well, it’s not when it’s done in moderation. Everyone should be nice from time to time, after all, you can’t go around being mean to everyone! 

But, when your niceness, whether genuine or forced, is simply because you feel you need to act that way to get people to like you, that’s a problem. 

They’re not drawn to you because of who you really are. And you’re not getting what you want out of the situation, e.g. love and affection, because you’re giving everything to them. [Read: How to be yourself – 26 steps to unfake your life and love being you]

Basically, you’re on the road toward co-dependency and that’s never a great place to be.

How to stop being the nice guy and get over the nice guy syndrome

Once a nice guy, not always a nice guy. No one said you’re stuck with that label. So, if you’ve been having a difficult time in the dating scene, here are some tips you can try so you can shed your nice guy syndrome.

1. Know the signs

If you think you may be Mr. Nice Guy, perhaps it’s time to look at the signs. [Read: How to ask a girl out when you’re a shy guy]

Once you’re aware of the signs, then you’ll be able to take steps to fight your given stereotype and become a man who lands a second date without any questions being asked.

2. Admit you’re Mr. Nice Guy

This will take a shot to your ego, but you’re not getting any dates, so really you have nothing to lose. It’s time to accept the fact that you’re Mr. Nice Guy. Just admit it to yourself.

Once you’re done grieving over your newfound discovery, you can work on combating the title you’ve earned. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re always being taken for granted]

Take a couple of days, eat some ice cream, and watch Rocky. Then, it’s time to get to work.

3. What do you do that fits the stereotype?

There are probably a couple of main actions you do that play a huge role in you not getting women. Maybe you’re too passive-aggressive or perhaps you come off as too needy. 

Although this may appear harmless, women don’t like it. And if they don’t like it, you won’t be getting any girls. [Read: What is a simp? Meet Gen Z’s new version of the nice guy]

4. Stop being predictable

Women are all about patterns. The minute something is out of the regular pattern, they know. They can see when a guy isn’t interested in them before he tells them. 

It’s all in his actions. So, it could be that you’re texting her all the time – switch up the routine a bit and throw her off track. [Read: 20 ingeniously crazy ways to ask a girl out on a date]

5. Stop lavishing her with gifts

Yeah, we’re not sure who thought this was a good idea. You really don’t need to be showing up to first dates with chocolates, a teddy bear, and flowers. Needless to say, it’s a little much. 

You can put all that effort into it, but you probably, almost definitely, won’t score a second date. You don’t need to buy her gifts – you really don’t. It comes off as desperate. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s the truth.

6. Lay off the neediness

Whether you have your own life or not, you need to make it look like you do. No one, whether you’re a man or woman, wants to be around a clinger. [Confession: I’m a boyfriend who’s too clingy and needy, and it sucks!]

There’s actually nothing worse than having some guy who won’t go away and get the hint.

So, if you want her, you’re going to have to show that you have your own life and that you’ll make time for her – but she’s not the only thing in your life.

7. Say no

This is a huge one. You’ve probably never said no to a girl. In fact, even when you want to say no, they do something cute and you shrug and say, “okay.” [Read: How to stand up for yourself – get what you want and deserve]

Well, not anymore. Those days are over. Now, you’re going to say no. Women want a man. Men take charge and say no. You need to set boundaries so that you don’t end up being stuck with the nice guy syndrome.

You don’t need to be brutally honest, but you cannot be afraid to tell the truth. If she’s asking you to do something you don’t want to do, say no. 

That’s right, say no. 

Don’t say yes to everything just to please her. The fact you have personal boundaries is what she finds attractive. [Read: How to say no – 15 ways to reason politely, stop pleasing, and feel kickass]

8. Stop being too available

You’re able to hang out with her any time of the day, any day of the week. That’s a problem. Don’t you have things to do? People to see – people other than her?

She knows that if she calls you to hang out, you’d bail on all your commitments just to see her. Don’t do that. You already made plans, so she’ll have to wait another day. [Read: Needy signs you’re too available for the girl you like]

So, don’t spend too much time with her. 

Though men think spending all their time with a woman will make her more attracted to them, that’s wrong. Spending too much time with a girl you’re into will show signs of desperation and clinginess. 

Yes, hang out with her in your spare time, but also leave time for self-care, hobbies, and interests. [Read: Alone time – why you need it, how it helps, and how to make the most of it]

9. Create some challenge

Try not to text her or call her when she expects it. That way, she’ll notice that the pattern has broken and that something is different. 

She may become suspicious if there’s another girl, which is great. This will spark her competitive side.

10. You can be bad

Maybe you wanna be a bad boy, but you’re nervous about going out of the box. Listen, as long as you’re not hurting anyone, why not be the bad boy? [Read: 15 reasons nice guys finish last all the time]

You don’t have to punch people in the face when they walk by or egg someone’s house to be a bad boy. The bad boy is an energy that comes from within, so you just need to dig it out.

11. Go outside of your comfort zone

Women like men who are adventurous and interested in exploring and trying new things. 

If you’re used to sitting on your couch and playing video games and you’re not getting a girl, it’s time to change up your lifestyle. [Read: How to broaden your horizons and get out of your comfort zone for good]

Go outside of your comfort zone and do things you wouldn’t typically do so you can shed your nice guy syndrome.

12. Give her breathing space

Let her come to you. You can initiate the first conversation, but if she likes you, she’ll keep talking. If you’re suffocating her with your texts and calls, she won’t be coming around. 

It’s okay to play a little hard to get. Remember, women like a challenge. [Read: When a girl says she needs space – what she means and what you should do]

13. Get used to confrontation

Listen, if you let them, most women will walk all over you. It’s not that they plan to do it, but they like pushing the boundaries to see how far you’ll let them go.

That being said, when they step out of line, you’ll need to say no. Which will probably turn into an argument. 

Don’t be scared to argue with the girl you like. She’ll argue back but also understand where the line is drawn. [Read: Tips to transform you from a nice guy to a real man]

14. Say what you want

Don’t be scared to voice your opinion because you’re unsure if the girl you like will approve. It’s your opinion! So, what if she doesn’t like it?

By not voicing your opinion, you become dull and boring. That’s how you get stuck in the nice guy syndrome. You basically end up like a lap dog that just follows her around. That won’t get you the girl – that’ll get you the title of Mr. Nice Guy.

Just be honest about what you want. 

Women who talk to honest men find it refreshing. If you want to ask a girl out on a date, ask her. Don’t try to become her friend and work your way up to a date. You don’t want to be friends with her- you want to date her. 

So, be honest and upfront. If you don’t tell her what you want, you play yourself. [Read: These are the signs of insecurity that insecure people can’t hide]

15. You don’t always need approval

You’re Mr. Nice Guy because you’re concerned about other people’s feelings. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s something the world needs more of. 

But it becomes a problem when other people come before you all the time. You don’t need to be a people-pleaser and get approval from everyone before doing something. This is why you’re Mr. Nice Guy.

16. Gain confidence

Work on your self-esteem and confidence. Listen, it is all about confidence. This is usually the root cause of all nice guys. Because you lack self-esteem, you try too hard to get attention from women. 

Your relationships are directly correlated to your mental health and self-esteem. Set boundaries and focus on healthy relationships where you and your partner are equal. [Read: Nice guy syndrome – 16 reasons why girls find them sooo boring!]

This is all about working on your confidence and creating personal boundaries with your relationships. By doing this, shockingly, you’re viewed as a bad boy as opposed to Mr. Nice Guy.

You are a good person, and you are worthy of being with someone who cares about you. 

17. Put yourself first 

Nice guys make one crucial mistake: they put the girl first.

By doing that, you allow her to walk all over you. She should know you value yourself and aren’t willing to put yourself second. [Read: Why the nice guy isn’t really such a nice guy deep inside]

If you have hobbies, do them. Your goals, work toward them. If you want to know how to stop being a nice guy, don’t lower yourself for someone else, it’s not attractive.

18. Take conversations slowly 

If you’re a fast talker, it’s time to slow things down. We know you may be nervous, but that doesn’t mean you speed through the conversation. [Read: How to respect women without patronizing them]

Take a couple of deep breaths and enjoy the conversation. If you’re too quick, it loses some of the mystery.

19. Keep your expectations to a minimum 

The reason why some guys get what they want is that they’re not expecting anything to happen. Don’t go into a conversation thinking you’re going to get laid or go on a date. Expect nothing from her and see where the conversation goes. 

By expecting nothing, you’ll relax and put yourself in the right headspace. That’s one step when learning how to stop being a nice guy. 

20. Don’t overcompensate 

When it comes to frat bros and Mr. Nice Guys, they share one thing in common: overcompensation. As a nice guy, you probably know this is a problem for you. [Read: How to talk to girls and leave them swooning]

But don’t become a complete jerk. If you overcompensate, you’ll just go to the other end of the spectrum.

21. Keep apologies to a minimum 

If you really want to abandon the nice guy syndrome, then don’t apologize all the time. This doesn’t mean you should never apologize.

If you do something wrong, say sorry. But apologizing one thousand times because you screwed up or something else happened isn’t going to get you what you want. [Read: The honest truth why nice guys finish last all the time]

Over-apologizing isn’t sexy, if anything it feels smothering. Keep your apologies for when it’s absolutely necessary when learning how to stop being a nice guy.

22. Set your own schedule 

When we meet someone we like, it’s easy to change our lives for them. But you shouldn’t change your schedule to please someone else. 

Yes, make time for them, but live by your schedule. You’re not going to miss your chance, instead, you’ll show her you’re independent.

23. You can be nice, but don’t take your eyes off the prize 

A person who trains for a marathon for a year and then stops to pick up someone who falls right before the finish line won’t win the race. They forget the intention of running a marathon.

If you keep your eyes on your goals and don’t get sidetracked by making decisions that aren’t in your best interest, then you won’t come in last.

It isn’t your job to take care of the world. It is your job to take care of yourself. So, remember why you do what you do, and stay on task. [Read: The 20 qualities in a guy that actually makes him a good man]

24. Don’t be afraid to call in favors

The problem with being nice is that it’s easy to be too nice. That puts you in pushover territory. You can be nice, just make sure you are nice to the people who are nice back.

Don’t waste your time being indiscriminately nice to people who don’t have your back or won’t return the favor. Only invest in those who invest in you, and don’t be afraid to ask for the same niceness from those around you.

25. Voice your opinion when necessary

Being a decent guy doesn’t mean that you can’t speak the truth. If you have an opinion and it is valid, speak up. You aren’t mean by thinking or addressing an issue. [Read: Here’s how you can be masculine without being a jerk]

Whether it is work or your personal life, voicing what goes on in your head doesn’t make you nasty. It makes you real, valuable, and a part of the team.

26. Remember that nice isn’t the opposite of competitive 

If you have a secret crush you’re trying to win over or a job promotion you want, being competitive doesn’t negate being nice. 

You can be competitive, stay after and work extra hours, or convince the person of your dreams to choose you, and still be nice. [Read: Traits that split apart weak men and strong men]

Working hard to get what you want isn’t about being nice. Competition is competition and outside the realm of nice or mean. Don’t confuse the two. 

As long as you play fair and don’t do anything underhanded or cunning, it is okay to go for what you want.

27. Take charge and make decisions 

One of the biggest things that nice guys get wrong is choosing to let the lady make all the decisions. [Read: Indecisiveness – when your inability to decide is a decision too]

You believe you’re being gentlemanly and courteous by letting her take the lead, but in actuality, it just looks weak and indecisive.

So, take charge chaps! You decide where to meet, you decide whether to go buffet or a-la-carte, and you decide when and where to meet next. 

Let her know that she is in the presence of an alpha male and a suitable life-long partner. [Read: Why am I so indecisive? 25 whys and ways to be an instant decision maker]

28. Learn to listen 

Taking a genuine interest in what the lady is saying is so important. It lets her feel important and it gives you time to think about what you’re going to say or do next. 

Most importantly, it shows that you’re confident enough to take on board what others have to say. Of course, don’t be afraid to speak your mind either, which is another sign that you are confident and manly.

29. Quit complaining

Don’t do it! Many nice guys have a dreadful habit of complaining about aches and pains, or about how unfair their boss is. [Read: Is your negative thinking ruining your life?]

They talk about how the next-door neighbor’s dog keeps them awake at night, how nobody really understands them, and so on.

Seriously, guys, you’re not being nice – you’re being an utter drip. She’s going to walk away feeling like she’s just been on a date with a teenage girl rather than an adult man. Keep it to yourself!

30. Be a rock 

A real man is emotionally stable at all times, which is quite a different thing from being emotional, aka the hallmark of a nice guy. Nice guys gush and cry and sulk and seek approval. Real men do not. [Read: Ways to avoid being the nice guy who’s stuck in the friend zone]

They don’t let the behavior or attitude of other people rattle them in the slightest, and they take it all on the chin.

They are gregarious types, but they never desperately chase attention or approval and always give equal time to every part of their lives. 

This is quite unlike the nice guy who will drop everything else when they meet the woman of their dreams to the point of ruining the rest of their life. [Read: How to be a badass in 25 awesomely bad ways]

31. Physical awareness 

Of course, looking good is an essential factor in trying to win over the woman of your dreams, but you don’t want to come across as vain. 

Constant self-grooming, looking in mirrors, rearranging your clothes, posing, and so on, gives a very bad impression.

Although if asked, most people would point to arrogance as being the cause of such behavior. [Read: 15 reasons why “nice guys” are usually perceived as losers by women]

At a subconscious level, the alarm bells will start ringing and your desired other half will be alerted to the fact that you have confidence issues.

32. Fit in bro time

It’s easy to drop everything for the girl because you’re desperate for her to see you as someone who’s great to be around. Don’t do it. Instead, schedule some bro time!

This shows that you have a life outside of trying to woo her. She’ll want to learn more about what you do away from her and that will grab her attention. [Read: 72 bromandments – the bro code rules every guy must know and follow]

Of course, it’s also good for your well-being because we all need time with our friends.

33. Forget FOMO

If you have FOMO, or fear of missing out, drop it. FOMO will only cause you to act in a needy way and be terrified of missing something good. 

Do what you want to do and that’s all you need to know. If you’re supposed to miss out on something, it’s going to pass you by regardless! [Read: What is FOMO? How to read the signs and overcome the stress it causes]

By doing the things you want to do, you’re sure to find enjoyment and you won’t come over as someone who’s terrified of missing something.

Despite all of this, don’t lose your basic niceness 

You probably feel as if your niceness is the thing that holds you back from getting what you want. The truth is, being nice never hurts unless you let it hurt you. There are degrees of niceness and too much of it is never a good thing. 

Don’t change who you are, thinking it is your basic goodness that keeps you behind. You don’t want to become those people who’ve hurt you, won by cheating, or made you feel less than others. [Read: Toxic people – 48 warning signs and the best ways to deal with them]

Remember, you don’t have to change who you are to do that. Redefine what nice is and who is worthy of your niceness and who is not.

There is a difference between being nice and being the nice guy. It is a good thing to be nice, but it is never a good thing to let people take advantage of your kindness. [Read: The qualities of a good man that set him apart from a lesser man]

Don’t lose your essence because you think being honest, fair, and kind gets you in trouble.

What keeps you back is a fear of being your true self and putting yourself first. You don’t have to learn how to stop being a nice guy completely, you just need to know where the boundaries are. 

[Read: 25 ways to become the badass you’ve always wanted to be]

You don’t have to be Mr. Nice Guy. If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing a date and being with the girl you like. It’s time to cure the nice guy syndrome once and for all.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...