11 Brutal Truths Every Woman Should Realize About Having 'Nice Girl Syndrome'

Nice girls can be just as bad as the "nice guy."

Nice girl reflecting on her past relationships stock_colors | Canva

So often, I end up talking about how Nice Guy Syndrome ends up killing men’s ability to date, but what I rarely discuss is Nice Girl Syndrome. If I were to be honest, it’s because I, myself, had struggled with it for a long time, especially after the last two breakups I had.

For years, I would be a total doormat to guys, date them, and then get abused, hurt, and dumped. Then, you’d hear me say the same cliché most guys bemoan: “No one likes someone who’s so nice and caring anymore.”


Just like with Nice Guys, Nice Girls end up having a toxic, self-feeding loop that tends to make them very bitter, angry, and hostile towards the opposite sex.

I ought to know — it took me a long time to actually admit I had a problem. When I had to confront my Nice Girl ways, a lot of things quickly made sense. Here are the downsides of being a nice girl, more shocking things I realized about my issue, and why they helped me get over myself.

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Here are 11 brutal truths every woman should realize about having 'nice girl syndrome:'

1. You can’t negotiate attraction, and much Nice Guy/Girl behavior is a bad attempt at negotiating it

At my peak Nice Girl Syndrome, I was recovering from illness and was close to being bedridden with a serious hormone disorder. I just had the father of my child dump me, and I just lost my job.

Guys weren’t attracted to me, and frankly, I tried to negotiate attraction and love, because I desperately needed someone to tell me I was enough but no one really wanted to give me the boost I needed to feel better. All of that was futile and only hurt me more because I was setting myself up for failure.

2. The best way to ensure that you get the respect you want is to demand it by refusing to speak to people who don’t give it to you

Here was another issue I was doing that hurt my prospects. I’d whine and complain, or sometimes just smile and ignore when people would do me wrong. I’d always forgive, forgive, forgive. This led to predatory people taking advantage of me because I would end up showing that I’d tolerate it.

This led to them not respecting me, and strangely enough, cutting them out of my life was the snap to reality that made them realize they pushed me too far. (For the record, I still won’t talk to most of them and make it clear they have nothing to offer me.)


3. I lost all respect for the male population, and frankly, I’m not 100 percent sure I can get it back

Here’s the thing that really hurts me to say: after seeing how guys treat girls they deem physically unattractive, I can’t respect that gender anymore. I know there are good men out there, but it’s one of those issues where the toxic mentality I cultivated, mixed with the way they treated me when I was heavy, makes it impossible for me to find men to be trustworthy, honorable, or even likable in many cases.

Nice Girl Syndrome, coupled with seriously messed up stuff, can permanently damage you.

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4. I had Nice Girl Syndrome because I was repeatedly told that “just be nice” was enough to get people to like you — and it’s not

So, so many of the lessons we take aren’t right or even realistic. Being “nice” doesn’t make you likable, especially if you’re not sure what being nice is supposed to be about. And since I was a doormat, I didn’t really know what being nice was supposed to be.


5. Oh, and whether I realized it or not, a lot of the niceness I had was because there were strings attached

This was 99 percent true with who I was dating. I never wanted to “just hang out and let stuff happen,” I wanted a boyfriend and a ring on my finger, and I both consciously and subconsciously felt that if I did things “right,” a ring would fall onto my hands.

6. The “strings attached” issue was often what scared away guys

Because, realistically, people can almost always tell when someone has an ulterior motive in mind. And I probably wasn’t even self-aware enough to realize that at the moment.

7. Though I felt that I would have provided a better, more stable relationship with many of the guys I approached, I couldn't force it on them

Truth be told, I probably could have provided a great long-term relationship with many of them. However, it’s not my journey to dictate. They have to choose what’s right for them, and my talking to them about it until I was blue in the face only infuriated both parties at hand.

If the guy who rejects me ends up with a bad spouse as a result of that, I won’t lie, I’ll still probably be smug about it. However, if they end up with a good wife, I also can’t hate. Clearly, they knew better than I did at that point. Either way, it’s not my choice to make, and trying to fit a square peg in a round hole isn’t worth it.


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8. My anger is pretty palpable, even sometimes now

Being “unlucky” (as in, I caused much of this myself by being a doormat) has made me seethe with anger. There’s no way to hide that kind of anger, and it takes a lot of self-control not to let my negative mindset poison relationships.

There are a lot of times when I want to tell guys who hit on me that I can’t respect them because 60 pounds ago, they wouldn’t have spoken to me. I’m not sure if that anger will ever go away.

9. Walking away from the dating scene was one of the smartest decisions I could have made at the time

Honestly, walking away from trying to get a date and just setting out to journey life on my own was the healthiest thing I could have done for myself. Admittedly, that decision came out of a “You can’t fire me, I quit” moment, but it’s done wonders for me lately.


Yes, guys now find me attractive, but now, I’m a lot more demanding. I no longer sweat it as much because I ended up realizing that Prince Charming is in fairytales for a reason. Guys don’t exist to save women, nor do women exist to save men.

10. I realized that a lot of Nice Girl Syndrome starts because we want relationships for the wrong reasons

I wanted validation, security, and just the status of being “enough.” I wanted love, and to be loved, yes, but that can be gotten other ways.

The more I look at it, chasing a status was what made me unhappy, and acting like people are a means to an end like that will make you a poisonous person, even if you didn’t start out that way.


11. Lastly, I realized I needed help

Nice Girl Syndrome and my bad dating life have left serious marks on me. If I want to get better, I will need help doing so, which is why I’ve started going to therapy because of it. If you’re in the same boat, I suggest you do the same. 

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Alex Alexander is a pseudonym. The author of this article is known to YourTango but is choosing to remain anonymous.