26 Jan 2016

How To Overcome ‘The Nice Guy’ Syndrome

Have you been friendzoned by a girl you liked and really cared for? Have you pored through hours of conversations, looking for signs of what you might have said or done wrong? Do you wonder why, despite your best efforts, you just seem to scare women off? If you answered yes to all of these, and you haven’t been a jerk, quite the opposite actually, then maybe it’s because you’re ‘The Nice Guy’. Ah yes, the dreaded phrase some women love boxing us in when we’re being caring, thoughtful, and all-around nice to them. Mind you, some nice guys have gotten the girl. But if you’ve been feeling the burn too many times, then maybe it’s time we examine and challenge this unfair stereotype you’ve been stamped on. They say ‘nice guys finish last’ for a reason. Niceness is the neat little box people put all these positive qualities in, like he’s affectionate, he’s honest, he’s thoughtful, he’s a nice guy. And the shtick is getting a bit old, when did positive qualities connote such a negative label? It all revolves around gender dynamics and heteronomative structures. What this simply means is that society expects men to be aggressive, insensitive, go-getters, and women to be responsive to this behavior because they’ve come to expect it from the opposite sex. It’s a funny thing, gender dynamics. We’re supposed to fulfil roles handed down to us by generations of unsuspecting men and women. So if you’re the nice guy, you’re like a sore thumb sticking out.

'The Nice Guy' Syndrome

So how do you overcome this? How do you send the message that although you are a perfectly nice guy, you also know how to play this game. And the thing is, it is a game. But you don’t have to be a callous jerk to play it. It all boils down to subtlety. You don’t have to shove it in their faces. It simply has to be there. The first thing you gotta realize is that you don’t have to give her your all. Take care of yourself first. Make yourself a priority. Don’t be the buddy she can rely on to do her laundry because she’s got her hands full at work or the number she calls whenever she’s about to send that drunk text to her ex. Don’t be the guy who’s just always there. Make it clear that you have a full, and rich life with or without her. Because if you do try to show her you care by being constantly there for her, your goal inevitably becomes winning her through your good deeds. And when that just doesn’t cut it, you’ll end up frustrated as hell and bitter. You can show her you care by being interested in her life, in her passion and struggles without compromising your identity and way of life. That way, she’ll know who you really are as a person, and not just a doormat or a lovesick puppy chasing her.

Learn to say no. Girls have been taught this from the moment they are born. But it’s an important lesson for us men as well. You learn to say no when you’ve accomplished the first step, valuing yourself. Don’t be a people pleaser. You’re trying to win a losing battle there. Don’t be afraid to reject relationships, tasks, projects, and circumstances that no longer serve you or help you grow. Surround yourself with the people who motivate you, who help you see your potential and who aren’t afraid to call you out on your bullshit, especially the ones you tell yourself. Our friends create the background noise in your life, make sure it’s worth listening to.

Lastly, accept the love you believe you deserve. From others and from yourself. Recognize your flaws, sort out the ones you can live with and get rid of the ones harming you. Deal with them. Don’t expect and need validation from someone else. Your worth is not contingent on someone else’s affirmation or presence. Remember this the next time you find yourself liking another girl.