Last week I reposted an article about nice guys.
To continue this discussion I want to unpack this more.
Nice Guys carry with them the fundamental belief that if they are good enough and do what others expect them to do they will be loved, cared for, and have a smooth and happy life.
When you get right down to it, this is purely a manipulation.
It’s an act in order to attain something from someone else.
Here’s a classic example that may have even played out in your marriage.
It’s not uncommon that a Nice Guy will do things throughout the day in hopes that his wife will be interested in sex later that night. I’ve even come across some posts on other blogs promoting this idea: Learn how vacuuming will lead to love or Learn the power of the L-spot (laundry).
What makes this a manipulation, and a common Nice Guy move, is the giving from the Nice Guy is in an area unrelated to the desire he hopes is met. It’s a hoping for sex without speaking up or initiating.
Household responsibilities are just that, responsibilities. You are both in charge of that area of your life together.
If you help out with the kids (which you likely helped create by the way) or you do chores or cook or provide for your family – that may loosen the belt to her pants a bit, but if what you really desire is to get in her pants, tell her. Speak up. She probably already sees straight through your attempt at manipulating them off her anyway.
Now back to more characteristics of a Nice Guy.
Everybody has a couple of these traits, Nice Guys have most of them.
- Gives to others in expectation that they will return something back. At the core this is manipulative. The Nice Guy hopes that if he gives to others, they will in turn give back to him, without him having to ask for or express his desires or needs. This is why Nice Guys are fix it guys and caretakers at heart. They think that if they can solve other people’s problems they’ll receive love in return.
- Seeks approval from others. Nice Guys are defined by those around them. Parents, spouse, co-workers, friends, careers. Everything they do is calculated to gain someone’s approval or avoid disapproval.
- Avoid conflict like the plague. Nothing disrupts the Nice Guy’s world more than conflict, therefore it is often avoided at all cost. Especially when it comes to spouse and family.
- Avoid exposing their humanness. Nice Guys believe that if they display their perceived flaws or mistakes, others will disapprove and possible leave them. When faced with their mistakes, Nice Guys are experts at deflecting the issue or blame.
- Coupled with the previous point, Nice Guys will repress their feelings. They choose to analyze things rather than feel. They believe they can think their way through everything. They have trouble sharing how they feel with others. And the times they do display their feelings it’s often only through angry outbursts and eruptions.
- Must be politically correct. In fact, look up Nice Guy in the dictionary and you’ll see a politician’s face.
- More comfortable relating to women than men. Nice Guys often have few male friends.
- Have trouble expressing or making their needs and wants a priority. Nice Guys live in fear of being seen as selfish.
While the Nice Guy is prominent in our society, the answer is not found in going to the other extreme.
180° from crazy is just another form of crazy.
Breaking free from being a Pleaser requires you to create a more solid sense of self. And this applies to both male and females.
A full grown adult:
- Has a strong sense of self. He knows who he is … and who he’s not. He knows his strengths and limitations. Plus, he likes himself just as he is.
- Has come to the realization that it’s up to him to take responsibility for getting his needs and desires met. I believe that nobody can take care of you better than you. So a man takes responsibility for himself and his desires, not at the expense of others however, because that would be going to the other extreme.
- Recognizes that gender is important. He’s comfortable with his masculinity and sexuality.
- Speaks the truth. Truth is truth – and a man can handle both hearing it and speaking it. While we’re on the subject, let’s briefly discuss lying. Anything less than the truth is a lie. Leaving something out in order to skirt a conflict is a lie. Be willing to speak the truth and take the hit for it if necessary.
- Is a leader without being controlling. I truly believe that men were created to lead. To provide for and protect those he loves. Most of the women I’ve counseled have longed for their husbands to step up and lead the family. Sadly, many men have sat on the sidelines. Falling victim to the belief that if they provide for the family that’s enough. Leadership requires love, sacrifice, care, power, grace, strength, passion and even partnership at times.
- Has integrity. He lives from his core values and beliefs. He does what’s in line with his values not just what’s expedient.
- Works through conflict. A man knows that conflict in inevitable so he doesn’t run from it. Instead, he’s solid enough to confront the issues in his life by speaking the truth, accepting others influence, asking for help when necessary, and letting go of his attachment to the outcome of each situation. He knows he can’t control everything in his life and lets go of those things beyond his control.
- Can be nurturing and caring without being Mr. Fix It. Men do have a tender and caring side and a man can listen attentively without trying to fix things or being defensive in reaction to someone elses feelings.
- Can be passionate and emotionally expressive. Although society has conditioned us that there are only a couple of acceptable emotions (happiness, anger, and sadness) a man can feel and express all his emotions. Men and women are all emotional beings. Live from them. It’s part of the pathway to a passionate life.
Let me close my part of this discussion with this – I believe that men and women were created intentionally as male and female. They’re complimentary.
One gender is not better than the other.
The whole point of this whole thing is to be better … a better man … a better woman.
Be who you are!
We each have a part to play in the story of our lives. So be a good character in your story, as you were created to be.
To me there is nothing more attractive than a person with self respect and a solid sense of self.