Continued thoughts on Nice Guy Syndrome

I recently wrote a post about Harold Lauder, a character from Stephen King’s The Stand. I mentioned that Harold has a thing called “Nice Guy Syndrome.”

One criticism of that post came from a man who complained, “Can’t be nice, can’t be a jerk! It’s tough being a male!”

I’m truly sorry if anyone else got the vibe from my last post that I don’t like nice guys. That wasn’t my intent. In fact, I love nice guys. I’m dating one. I appreciate any man who goes out of his way to be kind to others. I am not talking about those men when I talk about men with Nice Guy Syndrome.

Because men with Nice Guy Syndrome are NOT nice guys.

Here’s why:

Being “nice” just to get something isn’t really nice: A man with Nice Guy Syndrome will go out of his way for his “lady fair. He will rush to her side when she’s sad, listen to her problems, and let her cry on his shoulder.

But when she starts dating someone else, what happens? The man with Nice Guy Syndrome complains about being stuck in the “friend zone.” He may even become hostile, referring to her as a bitch, or a whore, or more likely he will insult her intelligence, calling her an idiot for not picking him.

We see that his niceness was not  his nature, but was simply a means to an end.

Men who are only nice until a woman turns them down aren’t nice guys. They’re just manipulative Harold Lauders, hiding their true colors in order to receive their reward (note: you can often diagnose Nice Guy Syndrome early on by paying attention to the way a man treats others besides his object of affection–does he respect other women? How about men? Or is he only “nice” to one woman?)

Objectifying women isn’t really nice: Men with Nice Guy Syndrome act as if the world is a vending machine that trades niceness for women. If they are nice and don’t end up with a woman, they feel that they have been cheated.

A man with Nice Guy Syndrome feels that his niceness should entitle him to a relationship in the same way that a man who goes to a prostitute feels that his money should entitle him to sex. A man with Nice Guy Syndrome doesn’t view women as complex human beings. He views them as objects with a price tag, so naturally he is frustrated when he learns that his niceness cannot be used as currency to buy a relationship.

Invalidating a woman’s choice isn’t really nice: A man with Nice Guy Syndrome is quick to judge any other man that his love interest starts dating. He will become skeptical and over-protective. He will speedily label the other man a jerk, and will tell his friends that the girl is stupid for dating him.

Rather than allowing the woman to make her own decisions, he treats her as a foolish child.

Blaming women for being stuck in abusive relationships isn’t really nice: Now, sometimes women really do end up in relationships with jerks. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. But does the reality of domestic abuse excuse the actions of the “nice guy?”

No.

A man with Nice Guy Syndrome ridicules, with an “I told you so” manner, the women who end up in these abusive relationships. All other factors are ignored in favor of a “You could have had me, but you picked him. You deserve what you got and I’m going to sit back an laugh” mindset.

Never mind the complex, crippling problems that keep women in abusive relationships. Never mind the fact that the jerk the woman is dating likely started out as a “nice guy” too…

Contributing to rape culture isn’t really nice: At the center of rape culture is the idea that a woman’s (or a man’s) “No” should not be taken seriously. If she consents to some things, or if she sends certain “signals,” a man can assume that he is free to sleep with her, regardless of her opinion on the matter.

A man with Nice Guy Syndrome, even if he does not rape a woman, is participating in rape culture when he repeatedly pursues a woman who has turned him down. He does not take “No” for answer, and will not back off once he is rejected because he feels that her friendship with him should eventually entitle him to a relationship. He accuses the woman of leading him on, even if she has made her feelings toward him clear. He may even stalk her or publicly humiliate her.

Men with Nice Guy Syndrome are products of and participants in rape culture. Like Harold Lauder of The Stand, they can even be dangerous–becoming hostile and abusive toward women who do not return their affections or toward men who “steal” their women. They are manipulative men who objectify and feel entitled to women–who think that women can be bought with a price.

Men with Nice Guy Syndrome are NOT nice guys.

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  • http://mamacompton.blogspot.com Erin

    This is so, so, so true. Thank you for clarifying “Nice Guy” syndrome so eloquently.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      you’re welcome!

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    Ah, gotcha! In my last comment, I was basically saying how I have the opposite of Nice Guy Syndrome; instead of hating women, I hate myself!

    Actually, now that I think about it, I think I had Nice Guy Syndrome once. Yeah, wasn’t pretty! But I learned, thank God.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      My boyfriend talked to me about having a similar problem–hating himself whenever he got rejected for years and how he had to mature out of Nice Guy Syndrome. Life’s about learning!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sugarfree0913 Rachel Elizabeth Burton

    I would encourage you to watch Oklahoma! (the one with Hugh Grant :) ) and pay attention to the character Jud Fry. He’s the hired help on the farm in this musical, and he blossoms from just someone (granted not very intelligent) with Nice Guy Syndrome to violent, abusive, and murderous. It’s a really interesting play! :)

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      I should watch that! Ooooooooooooklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains!

  • http://theladyexpounds.wordpress.com Lady Tam Li

    I’m pretty sure you’ve probably heard of this site before, but they have a lot of great reads on this very subject: http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/niceguys/ng.shtml

    Question: Do you think “Nice Girl” syndrome is similar to “Nice Guy” syndrome, or could there be a few differences?

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      I actually haven’t heard of that site! i’ll have to check it out.

      That’s a good question though. It seems like the “nice girl syndrome” is more like girls thinking guys don’t want them because they’re too innocent, and all guys just want to date sluts. At least, that’s what I’ve seen. Great question. I’ll have to think about that some more.

  • Pingback: Death of A Nice Guy « The Wandering Mind

  • Converted Humanist

    “Men who are only nice until a woman turns them down aren’t nice guys. They’re just manipulative Harold Lauders, hiding their true colors in order to receive their reward (note: you can often diagnose Nice Guy Syndrome early on by paying attention to the way a man treats others besides his object of affection–does he respect other women? How about men? Or is he only “nice” to one woman?)”

    It depends on how you define being “not being nice”. If a guy is friends with a girl and wants more from the relationship, but she turns him down. The nice guy can politely end the friendship. He can’t force her to with him but he doesn’t have to stay her friend if he is unable to just see her as a friend. Some guys can other guys can not, but I don’t believe that guys that can’t are being jerks.

    “A man with Nice Guy Syndrome feels that his niceness should entitle him to a relationship in the same way that a man who goes to a prostitute feels that his money should entitle him to sex. A man with Nice Guy Syndrome doesn’t view women as complex human beings. He views them as objects with a price tag, so naturally he is frustrated when he learns that his niceness cannot be used as currency to buy a relationship.

    Are you a woman? I asked this since lots of women don’t like it when men act like their mind readers and speak for them. So shouldn’t you assume that lots of men won’t appreciate either. How do you know that a man with nice guy syndrome don’t view women as complex human beings? Just because he is frustrated with being lonely doesn’t mean he doesn’t view women as human being. If you as a human being haven’t been through loneliness and/or sexually frustration then you most likely won’t understand what they’re going through. Not saying you have to experience what they experienced in order to sympathize, because I think saying that is quite dumb. Just putting things in perspective.

    “A man with Nice Guy Syndrome ridicules, with an “I told you so” manner, the women who end up in these abusive relationships. All other factors are ignored in favor of a “You could have had me, but you picked him. You deserve what you got and I’m going to sit back an laugh” mindset.

    Never mind the complex, crippling problems that keep women in abusive relationships. Never mind the fact that the jerk the woman is dating likely started out as a “nice guy” too…”

    I never known a man with nice guy syndrome who said I told you so or you deserved getting beat up. Not saying they don’t exist just that I’ve yet to met one. I’ve meant misogynists that have said that but not men with nice guy syndrome. A woman in an abusive relationship doesn’t deserve her abuse. But it comes a point where you stop being a victim and start being a participate in your own abuse. Many sponsors of anti-domestic violence organizations have said the same.

    “A man with Nice Guy Syndrome, even if he does not rape a woman, is participating in rape culture when he repeatedly pursues a woman who has turned him down. He does not take “No” for answer, and will not back off once he is rejected because he feels that her friendship with him should eventually entitle him to a relationship. He accuses the woman of leading him on, even if she has made her feelings toward him clear. He may even stalk her or publicly humiliate her.

    Men with Nice Guy Syndrome are products of and participants in rape culture. Like Harold Lauder of The Stand, they can even be dangerous–becoming hostile and abusive toward women who do not return their affections or toward men who “steal” their women. They are manipulative men who objectify and feel entitled to women–who think that women can be bought with a price.”

    There are women who do lead men on. If they’re not direct and/or send mixed singles then they are in fact leading him on. If they do become abusive toward their female friends for turning them down then is not okay. But if he simply doesn’t want to friends with you anymore after being rejected that’s not being mean. That is just protected themselves from being hurt even further. Also, there needs to be clear definition of what rape really is. Someone has made similar comment about how men pressuring or trying to convince a woman to have sex is rape. However, an actual rape victim took offense to this claim. So before you say that men contributing the rape culture just by still wanted to be with someone after being rejected you might what to think about actual rape victims. Or better yet women who still want a relationship after being turned down.

    Also, the last thing that should be addressed is that a man who thinks he is deserving of happiness isn’t the same as entitlement. Why should men with nice guy symdrome feel they are less deserving? Or feel they aren’t as deserving as everyone else?

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      I think you misunderstood this post. I love nice guys (I even said so in the post!)! But men with Nice Guy Syndrome aren’t REALLY nice guys. It sounds like you’re defending the real nice guys here, but those aren’t the guys that I’m talking about!

      Thanks for your thoughts! I promise, nice guys are awesome. Nice Guy Syndrome is totally different–I suggest reading The Stand to get an idea of what it is.

      • Converted Humanist

        Actually, I’m talking men with nice guy syndrome. I know that you’re saying that there is difference between nice guys and “nice guys”. However, frequently when ever a guy remotely fits this description he is consider the “nice guy”. Which is what I to believe to be unfair. I know that some men make misogynistic comments against women for rejecting them for being too nice. But just because they became a misogynist doesn’t mean that they were never generally nice to begin with. Some people change for the better other people change for the worse. Yet almost everytime this topic comes up the “he was never a nice guy ” argument is used. Which to me is a fallacy.

        • Converted Humanist

          Actually, I’m talking about men with nice guy syndrome. I know that you’re saying that there is difference between nice guys and “nice guys”. However, frequently when ever a guy remotely fits this description he is consider the “nice guy”. Which is what I to believe to be unfair. I know that some men make misogynistic comments against women for rejecting them for being too nice. But just because they became a misogynist doesn’t mean that they were never generally nice to begin with. Some people change for the better other people change for the worse. Yet almost everytime this topic comes up the “he was never a nice guy ” argument is used. Which to me is a fallacy

  • Anonymous

    I am married to one. I fell for his nice guy syndrome. I spoilt my life. He still apply s to others around especially women and behaves like a jerk with me as i am in his clasps now. I hate this man. he made my life living hell.
    He is a pharmacist day and night he takes crap from customers, parents and friends because he is a nice guy and shows the frustration on me alone…son of a bitch


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