Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nice Guy Syndrome

A woman has a close male friend.he is probably interested in her, which is why he hangs around so much. She sees him strictly as a friend. This always starts out with, you're a great guy, but I don't like you in that way. This is roughly the equivalent for the guy of going to a job interview and the company saying, You have a great resume, you have all the qualifications we are looking for, but we're not going to hire you. We will, however, use your resume as the basis for comparison for all other applicants. But, we're going to hire somebody who is far less qualified and is probably an alcoholic. And if he doesn't work out, we'll hire somebody else, but still not you. In fact, we will never hire you. But we will call you from time to time to complain about the person that we hired.

DragonflyBlade21 at

Couple of days back a college time buddy of mine called me after a long time.His wife (who was also our classmate) has asked him to call me. They were based at USA and they had just returned from an All Indian get together where they had watched "Wake up Sid" on their host's home theater system. She said Ranveer Kapoor's character and mannerism reminded her of me . Needless to say I was Instantly inflated and asked "Oh really ! Do I look like him ?" ." No ! Dumbo , its not about looks its about mannerism "She replied.(My Ex would have agreed with the dumbo part).
Though I was kinda disappointed to know the finer points of her compliment, still It gave me a hope that something in me stand a chance to get a Hot Bong chick like Konkana Sen someday. for now It looks like I would have to settle for a lot less. Anyway after 30 Min of who-is-where-doing-what catching up .They enquired about the state of my romantic life (Ah! finally I found someone who gives a shit ). I said its OK, a bit like IRAQ after US attack, ravished but trying to resurrect and at times missing Saddam Hussien.

"That's sad ..But you know something ?that's what happen to Nice guys ..Always..without fail" She said . That was followed by a rare event when a woman said something which every man from Adam onward has been wondering ."I don't know how girls think" She said .
For the record I don't know that either .And this post is not about neuro anatomical functioning of half of the world population . Its about the observation my friend made about nice guys. They are indeed unlucky with girls. She is not alone in thinking that. As it turns out this is a consistent observation across geographies.Many amongst us have tried to decipher it . It won't be an exaggeration If I say that It has acquired status of a pseudo science. so much so that New Scientist has an article which quotes a research to argue that when it comes to dating their is a contradiction between stated preference of women and their Actual choice.

They prefer to date so called bad guys. nice guys are often "just Friends" material who with a little bit of luck might hope to be "transition man" for their Female friends. nothing more than that . Academics call it "Nice Guy Syndrome" . I have seen it happening way too many times . I agree with the observation but often time I find the conclusions of these article to be incomplete. So here is two cents on this topic.

Nice Guys :

Lets deal with the easy part first.I might be disappointing a lot of my brothers by saying this but in majority (not all) of the cases these so called "Nice guys" are not Nice in true sense of word.their nice act don't originate from a genuine niceness from with in but their chivalry is driven by a desire to fit in,to validate them self. They are subconsciously dependent and insecure whiners at Best and shrewed long term strategist at worst.

I have seen a lot of such specimen in my life. the insecure types keep on doing things for female friends and in the back of the mind they keep on accumulating some sort of Karma points which they think they can redeem on judgement day. so when like a hidden cost in credit card contract ,when female discover the finer point of "service" they are often shocked and forfeit the payback .they back out. guy's investment becomes Non performing asset. At that point These guys join the Nice guy brigade. "After all that I have done for her.......Bitch " goes their statement after the first brush of reality.

There is a sadder version of story too . In few cases girls say YES because they are unable to say No .They don't want to hurt him . After all He is a Nice Guy and nobody want to hurt a nice guy.Add to this a motley crew of girl's gossip loving friend( HE is invariably a Friend to them too) who will say some thing like " Now come on ..Look how cute He is and HE care for you too" or "Decide fast or I will gona grab him " (Yea that's why he is still single) . This cute-caring logic is a pure bullshit .I care for Katrina Kaif and I am cute too (see above ) . I guess All I need now is bunch of her friends to lobby for me. wish me luck.

My observation is that This kind of cute ness infected association are usually not long lasting .a little change of surrounding a new city ,a new job, a new school or new friends and puff....there goes the clutter romance.

Other kind of nice guys are the strategist . They are dangerous and should be avoided at all cost. Ever heard the campus rumor where a female broke up with Her long standing relationship and her BEST friend was there to "Support" her in difficult times ? Well the Truth is that in all probability This best friend is usually a big contributor to her difficult time . He is the self serving catalyst who fuel the petty difference /spats of couple. when these differences pile up They are always there to listen to them and agree with Her unconditionally.Their claim to fame is that They "understand her ". which is absurd ( come think of it.Can anyone ever understand her?? ).
Trust me on this I know a case where a south Indian guy with zero knowledge of Hindi used to sit down and listen to the Hindi rants of a UP girl who couldn't speak basic English .Best part is that HE was able to "understand" . Love can over come any barrier it seems.

This is not to say there are not good guys around . There are and they also screw up the things too. Problem with genuinely nice guys is that they are ..Well Nice. They are always trying to reconcile their desires with their moral standards. Am I acting selfish ? Am I good enough ? is it right to feel this way ? . Yes you ARE Horny Buddha of our age .Now go do something to fix it.In their quest for a life of higher morals they start denial / justification of their feelings .This results in a person being more anxious around someone he is trying to cultivate a relationship with. they Mask it under some stupid "friend " stuff. They try to fool themselves.Thanks to temptation of proximity to their object of desire, by the time they realize the nature of their endeavour they become as manipulative and deceitful as the other guys discussed above. My heart goes for such folks .

Its very hard to tell the difference. one possible indicator is guy's behavior out side of romantic context . How He deal with people he is not romantically inclined to . I am not saying that he should treat everyone in same way .There SHOULD be SOME deviation,some special allowance for partner. But too much of deviation and there is a problem.As they say in England Someone who is nice to you but rude to waiter is not a nice person . Other definitive indicator is Friction . a genuinely nice guy would give You a friction once in a while. The REAL Nice guy would stand up against you for principals. A subtle indicator is their approach . I have seen that a real nice guy would tell his feelings to come clean of guilt , to stop being two faced, not for the purpose of knowing your response. This is not to say that their guilt is girl's obligation or it make them a better candidate . No its not like that . Its just an intention vector. YOU still have to choose .He can still be the wrong guy for you but He will not be BAD guy for sure.

Good Guy screw ya! and Bad guy screw ya ! and Rest of them don't know how to screw ya
Samantha Jones in Sex and the City

Now lets talk about the BAD Guys .He is the "Lucky Bastards" down the street.The guy with ear ring and ponytail. Jerk ,bully,non committal. He drinks , smokes and do fast bikes. He had 5 girlfriend in college. and all were Hot chicks. sounds familiar ? Meet The Bad guy . Now who gave him this label? His Ex Girlfriends and Nice guys . I admit that most of BAD guys are BAD in True sense .But their "Achievement" are generally exaggerated . We are often very selective in our observation.

Lets talk of statistics first . The assertion that they get more girls. well they get more girls because they try more .Do your math right . lets say I invest my energy in one girl at a time. so if I do not succeed, I fail 100%. My roommate, juggling four girls at any given time, fails only 25% whenever he is rejected. And even if both of us courts the same number of girls, he will have gone through his girls much faster than I. This alone gives him "more girls". plus when you are aiming for four girl its likely that you won't be emotionally invested in them . so it would be easy for you to move on .
However there is a lot of baggage which comes with being a BAD guy . But thanks to their arrogance "bad boys" are just themselves without reservation, for good or bad. in that narrow sense the bad boys seem more honest.At times their arrogance gets them laid. but most of the time it also get them in trouble.

So how come they end up getting girl.Well I don't claim that I know how it work with girls (who can ?) . My experience with them is fairly limited .I can count the number of girls I have dated on my left thumb and I can count the number of rejections I faced on remaining fingers of my left palm . But in spite of my limited exposure I can say that their is something weird about them and I am not talking of anatomy. I am talking about their whole approach toward the subject of relationship. like pseudo nice guys explained above , many girls ( not all) too fool/justify them self by self serving constructs .They are confused and indecisive .In fact some enjoy this a lot .and thanks to skewed gender ratio in educated young people they can easily afford to be that .Many of girls I know practically maintain a "buffer" of potential partners to choose from. They keep on doing things for her and she purposely pretend to be oblivious to the ulterior motives of the folks around her.

I guess some of the confusion and complication can be PARTIALLY attributed to our social structure.In spite of media propaganda about gender equality our society has yet to get rid of gender stereotype.We need to learn how to deal with an independent women.We assume and enforce the world view of female dependency. for instance I am 30 and still single cause I want to wait for the right sort of girl.But when it comes to my social acceptance my single hood is not a showstopper its only a minor nuisance. I doubt I could have afford to do that had I been a woman.I bet life would have been a hell and I would have well past my expiry date by now . By that logic dependability becomes a major factor for girls. Since social cost of a failed relationship is very high for women. and the power balance in relationship is inverted the moment they are committed. ergo they keep on delaying the decision and keep on enjoying the free lunch in the mean time. Eventually when they have to choose She can choose only one person so rest of the pack is bound to feel shortchanged and harbor bitterness.ergo Legend of a Bitch is born .

Labeling people is wrong and putting them in boxes is BAD. As a human we are evolving all the time .In due course of time both men and women realize that there's a difference between being a genuinely good man and just being a Nice Guy. so Nearly every sane woman over a certain age learns that what she wants is a good man, not a bad boy or a nice guy. What give them a bad name is the things they do in between .

So this was my take on the whole thing .As an alleged victim of Nice guy syndrome I admit that don't know how to deal with it so I am leaving that part as an exercises to readers.


Curious MInd said...

'Nice' is one the those word which i cud say is highly abused and misunderstood.

I have wordweb dictionary with we and all results for word 'Nice' confirm that it is used in context of mannerism. How much of world u can claim just becoz u have good manners? I can only be nice to a nice guy. Nothing more.

If you focus what nice doesn't mean u will get even better perspective. Nice doesn't mean sincere. Nice doesn't mean honest,trustworthy, reliable, successful and whole list of adjectives we look in good human being. It just mean AGREEABLE..

Last but not least Nice!=fit. I have meet many nice people (both male/female) whom i had no interest of any kind. They were nice to me but not right fit for me for kind of relationship.

Different people seek different things from life n relationships and their needs, desires evolve. As you correctly said stereotyping people becoz they share different values and views wud be a series crime.

Personally i had pleasure to enjoy company of both kind ( nice and bad) and i wud say both kind were trying to figure out who they really r and got labed in the process.

I have seen nice guy hooked up with not so nice gal. Nice gal hooked up with not to nice guy ( basically a scumbag ;) .....but that was my perspective and why that matters?.....what really matters is if i know who I am and what I am looking for.

Thanks for sharing ur thought.Enjoy maadi.

Anonymous said...

Totally became a fan of urs after reading that Nice guy blurb prashant...i'll cast u in my next film

devingel said...

:-) Find a slot. Fit in. Thats not the strategy sweetie. The strategy is to Find yourself. Make a slot. Show the world what a great person you are. Everyone is a nice guy at some time. Everyone is a bad boy at some time. I prefer bad boys. Not because of their apparent 'badness', but because they all have a great person hidden in there somewhere. They are more interesting people, simply because they have more experience dealing with stuff. Something goes into making them bad, and that is the interesting factor. And every nice guy has an SOB hidden in there somewhere, and I'm afraid of them.

That said, I've seen nice guys fall into the 'bad' guy routine. I've seem bad boys reformed into 'goody two shoes'. Its all a function of circumstances, time, money etc etc.

I'd suggest, you get over the stereotypes and find yourself. You may be 60% good and 40% bad, but the point is to recognize it and accept it. Love yourself. Easy for people to love you too...:-)

sachingaur said...

Good job!

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Sushaantu said...

Pretty Cool post. Can relate with few things mentioned in it.

You might wanna correct the new scientist link.

Prashant Singh said...

thanks sushaantu . Fixed the link

the who said...

"so Nearly every sane woman over a certain age learns that what she wants is a good man, not a bad boy or a nice guy."
that, i believe, is the moral of most stories.
statistics say that bad boys get most girls. What i'd like to know is what is their attrition rate. Do they 'retain' them equally successfully once they have been 'won'.. food for thought.. and maybe some consumer behavior research :P

Prashant Singh said...

@The Who : intuitively it should be very high . fact that they get more girl implies to they leave a lot of them too . but failure to retention might have nothing to do with Badness as such .as they say correlation is not causation

Himanshu said...

Hi Bhaiya,Nice blog.

Just Another Guy said...

@The Who :
"i believe, is the moral of most stories."

that's only the end of the most stories ..nothing moral about it

@Prashant : Interesting post . I loved the brutal honesty of your views about the so called "Nice Guys" . but may i ask you one thing why you were very soft on girls . you could have and should have shown their true color .why you spared them? still hopeful ? still not bitter enough ?

BTW have you noticed that two women who commented in this thread BOTH were curious about BAD Guys . EVEN ON THIS POST. that validate the point I guess .

Prashant Singh said...

@just Another guy : LOL .I had a good laugh reading your comment.Good observation . As i said in post My exposer to girls is very limited I know more guys than girls so I can speak more confidently about them . its possible that my analysis might not be balanced .but rest assured.It has nothing to do with any Hope or bitterness. :)

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Rojas said...

Good stuff Dude .I agree with you. Nice Guys Sucks .

Anonymous said...

funny post.the way you described the maths of chasing girls and why bad boy score is really cool.

I hope you get laid soon ...

the who said...

Dear Just another guy,
It seems from both the points in your comment that you pay more premium to 'words' than 'words conveying a specific meaning in the context'
1) The word moral has many nuances, one of which means the import or significance of a story, which, is the context in which i used it and is not the same as moral as in moral values.
Noun 1.moral - the significance of a story or event; "the moral of the story is to love thy neighbor"
meaning, signification, import, significance - the message that is intended or expressed or signified;


2) That one of the two girls who commented that a study must be done to find the retention rate of girls in bad boys' lives indicates curiosity on their parts and hence proves the point is, again, superficial conclusion. You forgot to see that the motive of such a research will be to DISPROVE the hypothesis of the post. Although, as Prashant said, correlation is not the same as causation, which means that it will be a supportive and not conclusive research.

Neha said...

Hi Prashant

I am a Research Scholar in human behaviour . a Friend of mine forwarded the link to me . I must congratulate you for this witty and well thought out write up .

Talking of female prefrence . personally i don't like BAD GUYS .people who are full of them self .I don't find them desirable . for me arrogance is not confidence.

your point about real guy's need to moral reconciliation is spot on . I guess its not exclusive to guys . girls need it too . only thing which work in favor of women is that when their desires demand them to cross the morality line they are very good at justifying their action to them self. some of them might not be able to articulate it .but trust me on this they are always convinced that they did the right thing.

I still can't help being awestruck listening to the explanation of my students for justifying their acts .

call me self hating sexist but I have come to believe that in most of the cases women are opportunist and they think of their interest first . its like that for My younger sister , My student in univ where i teach and may be few years down the line it may stand true for my 5 year old daughter (much as i want it to be otherwise).

I used to think its Social issue and naively hoped that with more women being free and treated equal to men it will go away . but two years in US and I can say that female equality has nothing to do with it . In fact empirical evidence suggest that tendency to manipulate male peers has no co-relation with social dependence or economical freedom .

so whats the cause ? is it genes or social environment or just matter of chance . its an open question .

Prashant Singh said...

@Neha :

Interesting view point. its always good to have academic perspective in debate . I am curious to know how much the environment variable play a part in it . Have you examined the reaction of your subjects if the environment is altered . if you put a typical Metro/cosmopolitan party hoping serial dater girl in a setting where loyalty and commitment is rewarded in terms of higher social status. is their a considerable difference in their approach toward relationship ? My hunch is that most of the time all these things are result of social pressure to fit in to the idea of being a hot girl every one wants to date.

As someone mentioned in comment above I might be indulging in wishful thinking here but something in me still believe that Infidelity and manipulation shouldn't be intrinsic nature of humans(women or man ).

Prashant said...

Nice One....Write a series of this...we will have more discussions around this topic...

Prashant said...

Nice One....Write a series of this...we will have more discussions around this topic...I am also Prashant Singh...with same kind of experience.

Prashant Singh said...


"I am also Prashant Singh...with same kind of experience."

My heart goes for you brother . I always knew ..there is something about this name . :)

lets see if there will be a sequel/series :)

Prashant Singh said...

@anon: Thanks for your concern. I hope that too.

prateek said...

sir u frm ECK ?? (me frm Y batch)
gd stff
about the buffer part u mentioned
one more way of putting it :-)
the pipeline theory ,they have a no of guys in pipeline
if the one frm mckinsey dumps ,then they alwz have IIM A wala
or if nt the IIT despo is alwaz there

Prashant Singh said...

@Prateek : Yup I am from ECK . P batch Comp sc . I am glad that you liked the post :)

Graham said...

Interesting article. As a recovering nice guy, I can relate to a lot of what you say. Nice Guy Syndrome is really all about dealing with anxiety by seeking validation from other people all the time. Whether the guy is actually a good or nice man deep down, is another issue altogether!

Prashant Singh said...

@Graham :thanks for affirmation. I will be tracking your recovery through your blog .Good Luck :)

Alka said...

"a bit like IRAQ after US attack, ravished but trying to resurrect and at times missing Saddam Hussien"

Though I don't know you much but I can understand what you mean by that.
Great Post ! Wishing you happiness

Prashant Singh said...

Thanks Alka .

Nave said...

:D haha .. interesting read !! so.. are u one of those nice guys :P

Check this :P

Prashant Singh said...

@Navin : I guess I am something of a nice guy but it wasn't a conscious decision . Thanks for the link , i read it sometime back when it was posted on Facebook by a friend.

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Shesha Chaturvedi said...

OMG what an analysis. And what a "wow" Post! All the while i was reading it, I was able to relate it to the guys who seemed secure but in a not so secure way! And there were Strategists as well to dodge, and so many hurdles in the way. Plus of course we women want to make the best possible decision for ourselves like everyone else. As you said we all evolve as humans, and hence our way of looking at things too. I so love the whole write up! Ready for discussion! :D