A Look at Nice Guys Who Are Really Assholes

A lot has been written about “nice guys”—from the famous Robert Glover book “No More Mr. Nice Guy” to countless lectures by top relationship coaches like David Wygant, David DeAngelo and plenty of others. The consensus is that “nice guys” are not really so nice at all and that they tend to have manipulative tendencies.

The reason for all of this attention to the adjective of “nice” is that it’s continually thrown around by guys and girls alike to describe idyllic male characteristics, and / or pushovers that are unattractive and unappealing: “He’s a nice guy” “I should date more nice guys” “I’m a nice guy, honest” “Why am I not attracted to nice guys and I only have sex with bad boys?”, and so forth.

To explore this issue further than what’s already been written about it, then it’s important to figure out what the adjective “nice” really means: pleasing, agreeable, or delightful. This is used to contrast male behavior with somebody who is, perhaps, loud, obnoxious, annoying, boisterous, arrogant, rude, impolite, or mean spirited.

According to some deluded advice, being a “nice guy” is so terrible that you should actually be an obnoxious fucking jackass as a proper alternative. Pumped up on testosterone, a lot of guys go through a phase like this in their teens and early twenties where they act crazy, uncaring and arrogant–up until they begin to realize how that behavior just doesn’t fly in the real world, and results in stuff like being fired or getting divorced..

The advantage to being a “nice guy” versus a jerk is that it means having the social skills necessary to come across in a pleasant way around people. Obviously, nobody likes to keep the company of anyone who puts others down.

Although being nice reaps less success than being a pushy bastard, it does result in a type of social back-and-forth approval from people, which is intoxicating in its own right. Th feeling that someone is “nice” stems from a reaction to our own internal emotions; somebody who’s pleasing, agreeable and delightful elicits short bursts of approval or comfort. This is, of course, a better feeling than being challenged or called-out by so-called “assholes”. So, it must be good, right?

The problem is that a world that’s agreeable and pleasant is a world that’s not conducive to the powerful forces of change. A person steeped in poor behavior, illusion or ignorance requires the power of conflict and disagreement to be set straight. One who adapts his behavior to continually flow with the linear path of the stream will not create enough force to push through the darkness in life. Therefore, many “nice guys” are of the “pushover” variety: the types of guys who would bend over backwards for the wrong types of people, and could be easily swayed into bad or even criminal behavior amidst their effort to please people. These types of guys act this way in an attempt to siphon as much approval as they possibly can, out of as many people as possible. It’s a tactic.

Further, the feeling of short-lasting approval that some people feel in the presence of a “nice guy” is also exploitable by talented actors. These are the infamous sociopathic nice guys. A swarthy salesperson, politican, or world-leader may exhibit these behaviors, but so may a guy who’s faking that he’s “boyfriend material” in a sleazy attempt to manipulate a woman into bed with him.

Both sociopathic “nice guys” and pushover, doormat “nice guys” are using fake behaviors to consciously further their own ends. However, there’s another “nice guy” to beware of: those who fake pleasant behavior without even realizing that they’re being fake.

Nice As Holier-Than-Thou Behavior

Even worse than people who put on fake fronts are guys who become self-assured they are “nice” as a response to perhaps psychological childhood damage, and have managed to fool themselves, as well as people around them. You may hear them say things like: “I’m not mad” “I never get mad” “I never yell” “I’m not yelling” “I’m not upset” “I’m a nice guy”—and they proceed to try and control you, manipulate you, and secretly hold grudges against you. This is the infamous passive aggressive personality, and it’s not fun to deal with.

This type of behavior is a result of people who are afraid of their own emotions, and have attributed their poor experiences in life toward people who are “not nice” and they are desperately trying to prove to the world they are not one of those people. Meanwhile, what they’re really doing is becoming a new type of terrible person—but now they’re doing it with a smile.

These are among the worst people to work with, have as managers, or to date.

Authentic People Are Not Always Pleasing or Accommodating

And now we get to the main point: high-quality people are identifiable because they don’t make the mistake of trying to keep people happy around them, all the time. They also remain at peace with concepts of conflict, enough to not need fake personas.

For one example, would a high quality man try to make a bad person happy? No. There is no reason to be generous in this nature to somebody who will only corrupt those good feelings.

Instead, a virtuous man is ready to accept—and deliver—conflict. As such, he does not tip-toe around these prospects. He may “tell it like it is” at any occasion under the sun, and he is not paralyzed by fear of rejection or disapproval.

At the same time, his honesty and strength of mind is done in combination with other virtues—open mindedness and general empathy, so he’s not tainted by mean-spiritedness or cynicism as he deals with people. He’s never walking into a social situation with a dark cloud over his head, passing judgments or approaching situations with pessimism.

When somebody possesses these virtuous characteristics along with an attitude that refuses to shy away from conflict, then what is created is a trait known as leadership.

Doormat “nice guys”, sociopathic “disguised nice guys”, and passive aggressive “nice guys” are not leaders, but are all emotionally unbalanced people who are either completely undeveloped or extremely self-centered and with little regard for the group or the community.

In addition, the blatantly disrespectful, gloomy, self-serving bastard who hates everybody and yells a lot is NOT a leader, either. Although, at the very least, he’s a bit more honest about the type of person he is, and is ultimately a lot easier to deal with.

So Who’s Really Mr. Nice Guy?

So, the “nice guys” are terrible models in business and love, just as the bastards and grim, cynical control-freaks also make life miserable. Obviously neither example is very “nice”. So, just who IS nice, really?

Oddly enough, it’s the authentic types of guys who become the ones who are really “nice”. I say this in the sense that they become “nice to be around”. There’s no lingering feeling in the backs of people’s minds that there’s something “off kilter” about their personalities. The more congruent a man is, the more he becomes “smooth” and the things that he says are more powerful.

This is pretty much the only type of guy to strive to become

So Do These Nice Guys Finish Last?

Now, you can stretch the “niceness” definition to include whether people possess empathic characteristics. The long-standing premise in society is that people who are NOT empathic, but are the sociopathic types—whether it is performed with a smile and the visage of niceness, or a snarky grimace—are the people who always get the last laugh, the job, or the girl.

The truth is… that this is a true concept! In fact, sociopathic, non-empathic people are more “successful” because the lack the emotional concepts required to feel bad when doing unto others allows them to manipulate, backstab, cheat and steal their ways to the top.

In the same breath, people also end up “on top” for the exact opposite reasons: through virtuous behavior, caring about people beneath them, supporting everybody around them, and being strong when it counts, without avoiding conflict. I notice in positions of power and leadership, I see both examples. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not easy to identify who is who because the sociopathic types are the same “chameleon nice guys” who are great at pretending to be virtuous as a method of furthering their own ends—the trademark politician with a big smile and holding a baby, then when the sun goes down they’re snorting glittery designer cocaine off the tits of B-list pornstars while accepting massive bribes from lobbyists.

The dark side of the force truly yields quicker results. These types of people make it big, and this might be what spurs a man from a developmental age to grow into the next Gordon Gecko. However, what is often forgotten is that “bad guys” crash hard as their ruinous habits catch up with them. There are a lot of examples of this throughout history, from Enron executives to murderous rulers and royal families of antiquity who drown in their excess or end up staring at a bucket from under the shadow of a guillotine.

So, the moral or what I’m trying to say is that even the sociopathic “nice guy” who is actually walking over people, will ultimately fail. In addition, the guy who crushes his competition without regard for anybody and does not attempt to front a “nice guy” visage will, in the end, also fail.

“Nice” Is an Improper Definition

One final thought: “nice” is clearly being thrown around too indiscriminately. So, we have “nice guys” who are really creepy / unnerving / passive aggressive, nice guys who are human doormats and afraid of displeasing anybody, plus “nice guys” who are actually hiding evil sociopathic behavior. Finally, there are genuinely good natured people who are authentic, and are thus nice in their own ways.

When a woman says she wants a “nice guy” she’s probably referring to the last example. Yet, a self-described “nice guy” could also be one of the other three types, as well!

As you can imagine, there is a major problem of semantics going on. What’s needed are new, easy-to-remember adjectives for the types of “nice guys” that nobody really wants to be, while the term “nice guy” to reference authentic men has been too corrupted by the other examples to still be applicable. So, the genuine “nice guys” need a new definition, also.

Any examples come to mind? Are there any new adjectives for any of these personality types that we can start using? Please post your thoughts on the comments below (DevelopedMan.com has now enabled Facebook comment posting—so feel free to share your ideas).



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Comments

  1. great article!

  2. Thank you. I am grateful for your analysis, which, I do not think, could be refuted by anyone. While a reader would do well to substitute “nice woman,” my search was motivated by a dear one’s seeming blindness to what you so perfectly termed a fake persona. It is agonizing to see it and not be able to do one thing about it, once one has given the truth a try, especially if the relationship is both intimately personal and there is a business partnership. It is agonizing to ponder how one failed the dear one that she or he would choose such. I would much rather I be wrong, and have the fault rest with me. Otherwise, it is a matter of despair. Again, I appreciate your essay, and hope that others find your rational assessment..

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