We’ve all seen the archetype “nice guy” in every cheesy and overdone rom com. You know, the one who bends over backwards for the leading lady who just never seems to be into him. He befriends her, he listens to her endless rants about the other guy who treats her like shit and yet she never appreciates him the way she should.
You think, why do the pretty ones fall for assholes like him and walk all over nice guys like me? If you’ve found yourself in this situation more than once, you might just be a self-proclaimed nice guy. For those of you who are still unaware, nice guy syndrome is what we use to describe men who feel entitled to women reciprocating the same feelings they have for them just because they’re “nice” to them.
Popular media culture is rife with characters that are shown with a nice guy complex or syndrome. They expect women to fall in love with them because they don’t treat them badly and if they don’t, well, they’re “bitches” for having “friend zoned” him. Popular examples include Ross from friends who creepily pines away for Rachel as she goes through jerk after jerk while ignoring an obvious gem like him. However when they finally do get together, he’s obsessive, controlling and makes it out like she shouldn’t have any agency of her own.
But the thing is, he isn’t the only example, where ever you look, you see the nice guy complex springing up from somewhere. It’s Joe from the horrifyingly popular Netflix series “You” and alternatively it is also Beck’s best friend Peach. They’re both the perfect embodiment of nice guys who want the girl because no one could possibly love her like they do. Of course, both of them turn out to be complete sociopaths, but you get the point.
It seems like we’re in love with the stereotypical bad boy getting the girl while the nice guy gets nothing. From Snape in Harry Potter to Julianne Porter in My Best Friend’s Wedding (because yes, women can also fall into this trope), we love nice guy characters!
Well, news flash but, IF YOU HAVE TO KEEP TELLING PEOPLE YOU’RE A NICE GUY, CHANCES ARE YOU’RE NOT SO NICE AFTER ALL.
The friend zone doesn’t exist. It’s an imaginary land made up by “nice guys” who don’t get their way. If a woman is not interested in you just because you’re nice, there isn’t anything wrong with her. She doesn’t owe you a relationship because you’re acting like a decent person. We should all be decent people regardless of whether people will date us or not. Although, this trope is super relevant even in today’s day and age just as popular the “friend zone” is, recent films have started addressing it in a pretty progressive and functional way.
The “nice guy” trope is a myth which is inherently flawed because it leads up to a sense of entitlement that is not only extremely toxic but also very detrimental to people’s idea of love and how relationships work and makes women literally scared of having to say no to a man in the fear of it backfiring on them somehow. If someone expects something in return for being a decent person, they might be just the opposite of nice and that really isn’t how real life works.
Here, the quote originally by Porphyria R’lyeh comes to mind which states;
Women are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.
Don’t get me wrong, women often help perpetuate this myth and actively seek to benefit from it as well but if you think for a minute that shes not into you because you’re so nice, you’re seriously deluded and you need a reality check. We might need more nice people in general than nice guys who will perform outrageous acts of their love and affection in order to get the other person to fall for them, get rejected and then go out on a self-pitying rage fest.
Arguably, if you relate to anything you’ve read up till now and don’t necessarily want to take a woman’s word for it, don’t worry cause there’s a lot of certified men out there who’ve dealt with the issue as well. According to Dr Robert Glover, author of the book, No More Mr. Nice Guy, “nice guys” are forever seeking external validation from others through what he calls “covert contracts” that only work inside their minds and often leave them feeling helpless or make them lash out.
In an interview with the Independent, Dr Jesse Marczyk states;
In order to get out of this nice guy rut, you should either work on yourself as a person or make your intentions clear and if the response is negative, move on with your life so there is no room for resentment.