“I think you’re sweet and a really nice guy, but let’s be friends.”
“I had a really good time last night. You’re wonderful and a really nice guy, but I don’t think we’re right for each other.”
If you have heard any of these things said to you, there is a good chance that you are the infamous “nice guy”. You are thoughtful, kind, and considerate but you fail at relationships and cannot figure out why.
Aren’t we supposed to be nice to people? Yes, but the problem is why the nice guy is nice to people. L ife is short, so here it is: the nice guy is nice to people because he cares what they think and he wants people to like him.
The non-nice guy who is still nice is nice because he feels it is the right thing to do. In other words, the nice guy opens a door for a young lady hoping she’ll be impressed and like him. The other guy opens the door for a young lady because it is consistent with his idea of manhood.
Why do Catholic men need to be concerned about the nice guy syndrome?
First of all, men get a bad rap these days because apparently we get paid more and chivalry is dead. Don’t pay any attention to that. If you clicked on this title chances are you are not a horrible guy who is stealing young ladies paychecks and seating his date in the trunk. To differentiate ourselves from those “jerks”, however, we can tend to overcompensate and make efforts to be nice.
You should also be concerned because you are Catholic. Catholicism preaches us to be nice, forgive, live for others etc. If you do all that but lose sight of why you do it you could end up a nice guy. Again you are kind to others but you do so craving acceptance from your significant other, your faith community, or even your family. Just do it because it is the right thing to do.
So the nice Catholic guy can keep being nice but he needs to stop caring what other people think. It is possible. The Pope is Catholic. The Pope is also nice but he is not a “nice guy” because he doesn’t care what other people think about him, or at least, he doesn’t give the impression of caring.
If you do suffer from this, it could most likely be a lifelong journey of courage and decision to jump off this train going nowhere good. Willing to take the first step? Just stop caring what other people think. We know you crave acceptance but caring what other people think is not the route to acceptance. It is actually a set back. No matter what the magazines tell you to wear or how to smell or what your abs should look like, just do what you want to do because you love doing it. Imagine yourself in a society of one occasionally. What would you eat, how often would you go to the gym, what would you wear if no one were around?
Sometimes it even helps to identify one thing you do to please people (dress nice, having a clean car, asking someone’s opinion of where to dine…). Stop doing that thing for a month just to detach yourself from your nice guy habits. Instead just do what you want. Wear what you want, bring your date to where you want, let the pollen cake on your car if you don’t feel like washing it. You probably won’t to turn into a horrible person; you will just become a guy who starts getting what he wants and stops caring what other people want from him.