A man that could easily be a Mr. Nice Guy. Standing by the window, looking sad and contemplative.
Nice Guys: Faking it on the outside, suffering on the inside.

Relatively few men have ever heard of Nice Guy syndrome. I get it – it sounds like some kind of joke.

Sadly, it’s a serious issue and one that does a lot of damage in the world.

“Nice Guy” syndrome is a condition first described by Dr. Robert Glover. He also wrote a book about it: “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

So what’s a Nice Guy? Here are some of the things Nice Guys tend to do:

  • They strive to present a carefully curated image of themselves to the world,
  • They try to say all of the right things and none of the wrong things,
  • They studiously avoid conflict and difficult conversations,
  • When they feel slighted, they make up stories in their heads about how they were wronged,
  • They hide unpleasant truths from the people closest to them,
  • Because they hide who they really are, they cannot be part of a great and authentic relationship,
  • In relationships, they often become clingy, needy and easily jealous,
  • They don’t have a lot of strong male friends,
  • They have a poor sex life and/or have a secret porn habit,
  • They long for a better life, and yet don’t know how to create it.

Some other things to know about Nice Guy syndrome:

  • It is widespread in our society,
  • It hides in plain sight,
  • It has its roots in childhood insecurity,
  • It is toxic and it is extremely destructive,
  • It can be overcome.

I know about Nice Guy syndrome. It did tremendous damage in my life. I deeply hurt the people I loved the most and I greatly harmed other people.

My recovery began in earnest when I bought and read Dr. Glover’s book. I was horrified and embarrassed by what I learned about myself. It is not an exaggeration to say that it shocked me to my core.

After reading the book I reached out to Dr. Glover. He runs weekend seminars from time to time. He also happened to have an office here in Seattle, so signing up for a weekend workshop was easy.

The weekend workshop was valuable. It included me, Dr. Glover, and about ten other men. We learned a lot, we supported each other, and we went out in the evenings to unwind. It was a great start.

To continue my recovery journey, I found a good therapist: Steve Sutton. Steve and I worked together for about four years. For a couple of years we had a telephone call once a week, and for another couple of years I participated in his virtual men’s group on Sunday afternoons.

Steve really did me a good turn.

I also looked for other men’s groups to join. As a result, I found and joined the Mankind Project (MKP). It was valuable. MKP is a good organization. It also has a Native American spiritual basis that I like quite a bit.

I ultimately overcame the worst of my Nice Guy behaviors and mindset. I had a lot to learn and it was scary and difficult at times. The support of other men was critical; they helped me out by calling me on my Nice Guy bullshit whenever they noticed it.

A man suffering from Nice Guy syndrome is unlikely to fix it by himself. Nice Guys more or less live in their heads, and yet they have some seriously wrong assumptions. A man has to go out, interact with the real world, get feedback, and learn that it’s not going to kill him.

To wrap up, if you’re a Nice Guy or if you know someone who seems to fit the description, contact me for a discussion. There is no charge.