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Nice Guy Syndrome People Pleasing | Stop the vicious cycle 🚫

Updated: May 30

Hi everyone, thank you for joining me today. I hope you're doing well. I want to talk about nice guy syndrome and people-pleasing. I want to share some valuable insight for you to really take in, really digest and pay attention to. I am the stereotypical nice guy, people pleaser. I've been that way for much of my life and I've recently only recently discovered some challenging insights in my life as a nice guy; and it's starting to really bother me a lot. However, it's good, even humbling, because it's forcing me to really look at myself.

Table of contents

What is a nice guy?

A nice guy is someone who consistently demonstrates kindness, compassion, and empathy towards others, without expecting anything in return. They are genuine in their interactions, always striving to make the world a better place through their words and actions. However, subconsciously may be another story...

What is nice guy syndrome?

Nice guy syndrome refers to a pattern of behavior where an individual outwardly presents themselves as kind and considerate, often with the expectation of receiving validation or affection in return. However, this behavior can be manipulative and self-serving, as the person may harbor feelings of entitlement or resentment when their kindness is not reciprocated romantically or socially. It can lead to passive-aggressive tendencies, feelings of victimization, and difficulty forming genuine connections with others.

Now, not all nice guys are manipulative, but as an exercise to get into generalizations, many nice guys can actually exude pretty toxic behaviors. When you start to do the research, you actually start to look into the emotional lexicon of a nice person, you can actually find out that nice people can typically of hidden subconscious issues. They tend to expect reciprocation unfairly when they're nice to people. They can actually tend to be a little bit passive-aggressive as a result and then get frustrated really easily when they feel what they are giving is not being returned to them.

Nice guy people pleaser examples:

The great author Robert Glover wrote a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy. He says:

Nice guys are unhappy and resentful and fake because they seek validation.

Robert Glover continues:

The problem with being a nice guy, just a quick elevator pitch is is that a nice guy is a guy who inaccurately internalized the belief system from a young age. I'm not okay just as I am. So he's trying to do two things. Very unconsciously usually. One is become what he thinks everybody else wants him to be so he'll be liked and loved and get his needs met and get laid, hopefully regularly, and hide anything about himself that might get a negative reaction from people, hiding his needs, his wants, his sexuality. So while he's trying to get laid, he's hiding his sexuality. So a core problem with nice guy syndrome is nice guys tend to be unauthentic. There's not a real them there. They're trying to become

something, hide something, and that tends to make them fairly dishonest, untrustworthy, frustrated, resentful, passive aggressive. I'm not speaking down to anybody. I'm a recovering nice guy too.

You know, it keeps us from just being ourselves, living up to our full potential, having what we want in life, having a good time, and so just a lot of baggage comes along with it.

Accepting nice guy syndrome

So I'm pretty sure that's very shocking for a lot of you to hear. It was for me. You know, when you think that you have a certain value system by yourself, your whole life that is good and whole and complete, and then you realize that much of it actually might be a bit of a subconscious lie that we're not really aware of.

So it's important to look at this idea, why you're nice, and like any thing in life that we often discover when we're older is it usually stems from childhood. Being nice, being a people pleaser often is created from a trauma response of some form, conflict that happened within your home. I know for me, there was parental conflicts in the home, and I was often the one in the family who was trying to make everybody feel better. My best friend died when I was 15. I learned the fragility of life very early and it changed me to be kind permanently. Parents divorced, I've been cheated on, and I've had a good amount of trauma where I think I've learned to avoid the conflict put it under the rug. I moved to a new country and got divorced.

I always told myself as long as I'm just a nice person, that's what matters most, that's what my mom told me, just always being a nice person, right?

But as you get older, you have to learn to set those boundaries more, and you need to learn

to question everything. If you're feeling a bit defeated right now, if you're a nice guy and you're wondering why life isn't working out for you, you know, they say nice guys finish last, is that really true?

Well, I think you should forget about it, what you should focus least this is what I'm

trying to do. I've just learned to set boundaries and question my intentions, (now that we have the hindsight of what could possibly be happening psychologically with us). I do know I will always believe in kindness. It's a value system I have, that will never change.

However, where it changes is the intention. So if I'm being nice to somebody, and my intention is for them to like me, that could be considered devious, that could be manipulative. Now, if I'm just being a nice person to somebody, because I enjoy their company... and you know, I just like being a sweet guy, and I'm not looking for anything in return, then that's fine. That's fair. However, many nice people do seek validation, so be aware.

Also; if a conflict arises, I need to learn to be assertive and not back down..

To stand up for myself. It's a hill we all have to climb as nice guys and really look around the valley a little bit and question why we actually are being nice, because we might have unrealistic expectations... We may think if I'm nice to these people, they'll be nice back, just like the golden rule. So something to think about... But! I don't want to live you high and dry, so let's quickly go over some tips for the recovering nice guy.


We need to recognize our people pleasing tendencies as a nice guy, so that we can grow and we can change. So let's talk about some helpful tips to help us basically break free from these people pleasing habits and cultivate healthy relationships with people around us, as well as ourselves.

1. Self Reflection

So the first thing is self-reflection. You need to take the time to figure out

your intentions, your motivations, you need to ask yourself why you feel the need to seek approval or potentially manipulate situations... and you need to understand the root causes of these tendencies, and then that way it can help you really address them effectively.

2. Set Boundaries

So you need to learn to say no when necessary and prioritize your own needs and

well-being in setting clear boundaries. It's really essential to establishing health relationships,

avoiding bad relationships.

3. Practice Assertiveness

This is something that nice guys tend to avoid. You need to express your

thoughts, your feelings, your desires more openly and honestly, without a fear of rejection or

conflict. Assertiveness also allows you to communicate effectively and really advocate for yourself without, you know, resorting to any other tactics that might be inauthentic basically.

4. Develop Self Confidence

Developing self-esteem is important. That is a really big one for me. From a young age I didn't have a lot of confidence for much of my life. I was the skinny kid. I got bullied

a little bit in high school, and I matured at a later age. So, it took me a while

until I think developed my confidence. Confidence isn't natural. It's like a muscle and you have to exercise it. I really threw myself into music a lot, and I became a really good

musician, and I think that I got a lot of approval from that, and I think I kind of just doubled down. And then I ended up getting a scholarship to college and pretty much I spent half my life as a professional musician, which is great. So I figured after a while, as long as I'm a good musician, I will get approval from people; and I think I tended not to live as authentically as I could have, or could have grown in other ways.

5. Seek Authentic Connections

You want to surround yourself with people who appreciate you for who you are,

rather than those who require a constant validation or appeasement. This means staying away from narcissists as much as possible. They love to collect nice guys like the devil collects souls. Hanging out with other nice guys might not be beneficial as well, as they can tend to be unauthentic due to their own issues. You want to nurture the relationships based on mutual respect, honesty and genuine connection.

If you have a friend who's not afraid to be honest with you, and if they tell you something bad about yourself, and force you to question yourself, that's a good friend. That's not a fake friend.

So you need to really surround yourself with people like that in your life.

Your best friends challenge you. They're there to support you and give you empathy when you need it. They're also there to tell you when you screw up however.

6. Practice Empathy

You want to cultivate empathy for others and strive to understand their perspectives,

their feelings. This means genuine empathy, not fake empathy. Helps you build healthier, more compassionate relationships and really just reduces the need for feelings of manipulation or perhaps passive aggressiveness.

matt jones author, matt jones entrepreneur, matt jones drummer
Matt Jones Author & Entrepreneur

Nice Guy Syndrome People Pleasing Conclusion

So, breaking free from people pleasing habits, it takes effort. It's a journey. You're going to need to be patient with yourself. This is going to happen overnight. You're going to have to test this a little bit with different people, with different situations in your job, with your family, friendships, all sorts of things. So I think as long as you make this a priority, you will learn to be more authentic. It's been transformative for me personally.

You're going to gain more confidence naturally. And I think you're going to appreciate this type of self-improvement a little bit more. This has kind of blown my mind a little bit and I'm really eager and looking forward to diving down the rabbit hole and seeing where this takes me.

So, if you're a perennial nice guy, leave your comments below and you know, let's talk about it. I want to explore this topic a lot further and see what you guys think about it. And please leave your own experiences. And, you know, hopefully we can all grow a little bit adapt and live just, you know, a little bit happier with ourselves.

All right, so sending lots of love to you guys today and I look forward to talking to connecting with you more. Thanks guys, bye bye.

With love and light,



 Matt Jones is a writer and entrepreneur with multiple businesses who enjoys inspiring others. He is also a professional musician who has been to over 40 different countries on all seven continents. His personal mission is to create and inspire. He is from Los Angeles but is now based in Greater London. His latest book "Life 2.0" is available on Amazon.

He's a recovering people pleaser and nice guy navigating his way through life trying to maintain his sense of happiness and personal enlightenment. Send a question or feel free to say hi.

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