The Nice-guy Syndrome Exemplified: A Book Review

nice guy

Consider this situation

Shweta is Raghu’s best friend from school. They used share things with each other, stay with each other, talk to each other, play with each other. Raghu even had a secret crush on her.

The problem was, he couldn’t tell about his crush to Shweta. Every time he tried, he stopped in the middle because of fear.

“What will she think? I am her best friend. This can even ruin our friendship.” He used to tell himself.

Then, many years later, Shweta was coming back from her college for a few days of vacation. She called Raghu, who was still based in the home town, and asked him to pick her from the train station at 6pm. Raghu, excited at the opportunity, began doing the preparations. The secret idea, of course, was that he will pick her from the station, go for a nice evening, have dinner and drop her home. He bought flowers, got her favorite pastry, booked a cab, made reservations, dresses nicely. In the evening, at 430 the cab arrived. Raghu sat into the cab and left home.

While he was on his way, after 10 minutes or so, he got a call from Shweta.

“Hey, I’m reaaallllyyyy sorryyy… You remember Victor, the guy from school who I liked, well he called out of the blue and I told him I’m coming and he asked me if he could pick me. He wants to spend a nice evening. I think he likes me! Anyway so I couldn’t refuse, I’m going with him. Please don’t mind. You’re such a good friend. I hope you’ll understand. Let’s meet tomorrow okay?”

Listening to this, Raghu was shattered. His dream of taking Shweta out, all those preparations he did, everything in vain.
He turned the cab around, reached home, went straight into his room, didn’t speak with anybody that day, and spent the night all by himself, in sadness.

The Mr. Nice-Guy

Six months ago, I wrote a post on the 2 syndromes every new entrepreneur must avoid. It became a success, even got published in the Entrepreneur Magazine. One of the syndromes mentioned in the post was the Nice-Guy Syndrome.

The Nice-Guy Syndrome was basically something I suffered from while in my entrepreneurial pursuits. As a result of which, either I was giving quotes to my customers knowing very well that they were not in my favor or I was promising too much in the form of customer service. Then as I talked about it, I found that the Nice-Guy Syndrome was applicable to other fellow entrepreneurs in my community too. So I decided to write about it.

Then, as I dug deeper in to the idea of the Mr. Nice-Guy, I found that it was not limited to entrepreneurship. It went much beyond than that. Into our very roots since childhood. And it was not limited to men. There are Nice-Gals too!

Every time a boy likes a girl and falls for her beauty and never tells her that or makes himself her friend and does all these nice things for her and never really expresses his true feelings, or every time a girl likes a boy and falls for some quality of his and hides her feelings or goes to any extent to please him, they are basically being the Mr. Nice-Guy.

Let’s dig a bit deeper.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

As I read more, I came across this wonderful book called, No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover. In his book, after almost a decade of working with the Nice-Guys, Dr Glover found the basic ideas which are at play.

Nice-Guys work on what he calls a Covert Contract. A covert contract, as the name suggests is hidden and it says,

IF I do good for others without them asking for it
THEN they will like me and do good for me without me asking for it.

Another variation of the covert contract is,

IF I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be
THEN I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem free life.

Consider the case of Raghu for example. Raghu is a typical Nice-Guy, hiding his feelings from Shweta for so long. Does all these things for her, get her flowers and what not. And yet it never works. She does not get to know what he feels about her and he never tells her because of fear.

Raghu is in a Covert Contract with Shweta.

The beauty of a Covert Contract is it never works! Simply because it’s covert. The other party does not even know about it. What they won’t know, they won’t understand.

Taken to its limit, Raghu, after spending the night alone in sadness, can even get angry at her, shout at her the next morning for ditching him in the middle. For Shweta, it would be a complete surprise. She won’t know what happened to Raghu and why he was acting like a jerk.

Dr Glover then continues to say that Nice-Guys are Fundamentally Dishonest.

They hide their true feelings and who they really are and in order to please a partner – a girlfriend, a wife – become someone they are not.

The Nice Guy gives to others hoping to get something in return.

So What’s the Way Out

The Nice Guy Syndrome is common. Common across the humankind.
But then sometimes when we think of the nice guy, immediately the question that comes to mind is,

“Okay, I understand, being the Nice Guy is not good. But then what, do I become a jerk and stop being good to people?”
The answer is No.

A Nice Guy and an A****le Jerk are two extremes of a dysfunctional spectrum. The idea, as per the book, is to embrace what he calls an Integrated Male.

An Integrated Male is a person who is not ashamed of his needs – physical, sexual, financial, emotional. An Integrated Male is a second order male who cares for others for who they are, and if he gives, he either does it with no strings attached or clearly sets the terms of what he would get return. An Integrated Male is a person who understands that having needs is a part of being human and takes responsibility for getting his needs met.

An Integrated Male is honest to his wants and desires works for them to achieve them.

I tell Nice Guys, “No one was put on this planet to meet your needs” (except their parents – and their job is done). I also remind them they weren’t put on this planet to meet anyone else’s needs (except those of their children).


About me: As I read the book I realized I am a Nice Guy, and not just in my entrepreneurial pursuits. I was being the Mr. Nice Guy in my relationships with women, in my dealings with men, in my family, and in a lot of other social situations.
But then Knowledge breeds the power to change. As I got to know of the concept, and as I began to experiment it in my life, I am now beginning to understand that being honest is way more empowering and liberating than being Nice.

Try it out! Do you resonate with this piece of writing? Have you ever been the Mr. Nice Guy, putting another’s needs on a higher priority than your own? Then try out the third order Integrated Male as suggested by the author.

The book covers a lot about the psychology of Mr. Nice Guy, how a child becomes one and ways to build oneself to recover from the Nice Guy Syndrome. The book is available on Amazon and other sources. If you wish to buy one, you can get it on Amazon by clicking here.

(Note: The above link is an affiliate link. This means that if you buy the book by clicking on this link, I will get a small commission on the sale from Amazon, but it will cost you the same as it would if you buy it otherwise.
If you liked this review and want to help me keep this blog going, plus if you really want to get this book, you might as well get it from this link. It won’t cost you extra, but will help me a bit.)

Either case, this link or not, I would suggest you get a copy of this awesome book and get right into it. I’m sure you will find it to be worth every penny you put in to it.