When is a nice boy not nice at all? When he’s a “nice guy” – a term used on Reddit to describe a man who believes acting “nice” or “moral” entitles him to “sex, romance and affection”.
These guys quickly become angry and insulting if they don’t get what they think they deserve from women. Posts describing such exchanges often go viral on the r/niceguys forum, not least because the path between “Nice to meet you” and raging invectives can be so short.
Newsweek spoke to psychologists and therapists, as well as a woman who met this guy, to understand how to identify and deal with the “good guys”.
What is a “nice boy”?
Moderators of the r/niceguys subreddit suggest that these men are “putting others down while expressing a favorable opinion of themselves.” Although they do not explicitly label themselves as being nice, they often “demonstrate an expression of their own virtue while being a**hats”.
Venetia Leonidaki, consultant psychologist and founder of Spiral Psychology, defined them as “men who do not clearly express or affirm their emotional needs, including the need for emotional closeness, sexual connection, attention and comfort. ‘love”.
They hope women will notice them and reward them with affection in return for their “approval-seeking behaviors,” Leonidaki said. Newsweek.
“When women don’t act as they had hoped, the ‘good guys’ experience feelings of pain, anger and even betrayal, which can lead to their demeaning behavior towards women,” she said. added. “Dimishing women while expressing a favorable opinion of themselves acts as a protective defense.”
A Cornell University study published in 2018 found that “initiators of unrequited romantic advances” often don’t understand the difficult position they place their “targets” in or how uncomfortable it is for them to reject a unwanted advance.
Audrey Tang, a London-based licensed psychologist and leadership trainer, said Newsweek that there is no specific pathology to describe “good guys” but narcissism might be the closest in personality terms.
Typical “nice boy” behavior
Tang said the “nice guy” behavior could sometimes be explained by an understanding of the person’s upbringing, but could also be more “vile and gaslight-like.”
“The good guys” may lack emotional intelligence as well as the ability to express and manage their own emotions effectively, she added.
Marisa Peer, therapist, relationship expert, and author, explained that these guys commonly use love bombing to disarm their targets. “They will endlessly send [over-the-top] SMS or emails, bombard you with compliments and always come with gifts, but beware, this period is short-lived,” she said.
“The good guys are never wrong and will never be blamed for anything,” Peer said. Newsweek. “However, if you try to confront them or point out their mistakes, their mask will start to crack and you will suffer their wrath.”
People with these personality traits are inherently insecure, she said. “Anything that challenges their authority disturbs their very fragile ego.”
Most “nice guys” have a hard time expressing their true feelings directly. “They look for ways to please a woman in order to gain her interest,” Leonidaki said. “[They] may hold misogynistic beliefs and not really respect women, while at the same time craving their affection.”
‘Nice Guys’ on the Internet vs. Real Life
Ariana, a barista who declined to give her full name, had her own “nice guy” experience. She had exchanged messages with a guy on a dating app, who claimed he was “not looking for a relationship”.
“I was suspicious, but I responded several times,” she said. Newsweek. “A week later this guy texts me and says he’s ‘madly in love with me’ and ‘must have me’.”
After she politely declined, he bombarded her with derogatory messages, until she blocked him.
“‘Nice guys’ are unfortunately quite common, especially on the internet,” Ariana said. “I think it’s the ability to be able to hide behind a screen and say whatever you want that gives these guys the toxic confidence that they have.”
While such behavior is most prevalent on dating apps like Tinder, Ariana said she’s had similar experiences on social media like Instagram and Reddit itself.
The psychologists who spoke Newsweek also said social media facilitates “nice guy” behavior. “The anonymity and physical distance of social media allows feelings of rage to come to the surface and be expressed more easily,” Leonidaki said.
When you meet them in person, she added, “the ‘good guys’ may act in more passive-aggressive ways, such as withdrawing or expressing a milder form of frustration.”
How to deal with the “good guys”
Pay attention to the warning signs that can identify this type. “If someone can’t talk about their problems or struggles with emotional challenges early on and doesn’t accept help, support or even want to address them, the relationship is unlikely to go away. improves a lot later in the relationship,” Tang said.
When dealing with “nice guys,” she suggested being polite and remembering that “they may not be able to think reasonably about their behavior.” This means that any attempt to educate them is “likely to frustrate you further”, while responding to them rudely means they have gained that emotional control over you.
“Cut off the ignition and block them out,” Tang said. “Ask yourself, do you really want drama? What do you gain by giving them your precious time and energy?”