11 Tiny Things To Do If You're A 'Nice Guy' Who Wants More Respect

The nice guy persona hurts far more than it helps.

Man leaning against wall, smiling, nice guy Getty Images | Unsplash

Dr. Robert Glover’s excellent book, No More Mr. Nice Guy, introduces the concept of helping men break free from the "Nice Guy Syndrome" and reclaim their personal power, authenticity, and fulfillment in life. The book explores how societal conditioning and childhood experiences can lead men to develop behavior patterns that prioritize seeking approval, avoiding conflict, and suppressing their own needs and desires at the expense of their well-being. This manifests as the "Nice Guy," where men adopt a persona that operates on the assumption that being nice and helpful and serving the needs of others will bring them the love they need and feel is lacking for themselves.


But often this niceness is forced. It’s a kind of fake nice that diminishes one’s confidence and only pushes others away. It’s draining because the love and admiration they seek never comes — often only to be met with disrespect. I’ve seen this behavior in myself and people close to me. I’ve seen how it chips away at a man until he is full of rage or a limp husk of what he could be. If you know men in your life like this (or you are one), understanding these challenges can bring relief and compassion. Beyond reading his book, here are some things you can do right away to move past your "Nice Guy Syndrome" and realize your confidence once again.


Here are 11 things to do if you're a 'nice guy' and want more love, confidence and respect:

1. Accept and absorb

You need to grasp and acknowledge the problem to get anywhere with this. A sense of perceived inadequacy has led to coping behaviors from you. That’s fine; you’re human. But these behaviors help no one. The world needs a strong, proud, resilient you, not a doormat. Reflect on why this might have been in your case. See why this issue developed, and find a way to accept it.

2. Take full responsibility

You’ll never be happy until you can assume total responsibility for everything that has happened or is happening in your life, good or bad. By assigning blame to anyone, you won’t move past your sense of past injustices. You need to forgive and move on. The warrior in you can’t rise on the back of a poor little victim.



RELATED: How To Become A Better Person & Take On More Responsibility In Your Life


3. Identify your core unhelpful beliefs

We all have thought patterns we entertain over and over, and they can sabotage us. If you continually seek approval on the assumption that because your parents criticized you, you’re inadequate and can’t rely on your internal confidence, you are operating on bad beliefs. You must identify those thoughts that keep you stuck and acting in ways that undermine you. Maybe it’s something like this: "I am not as intelligent as most people."

4. Break down these beliefs

Next, extract the belief, question it, and observe the truth behind its opposite. I.e. Find real examples in your life demonstrating your intelligence. You will find many. Show your brain you can, and your beliefs will rewire. This is a powerful step in detaching from the hold cyclical thoughts have on you, opening the door for empowerment.

5. Find your self-compassion

As you go through the above exercises, you’ll begin to understand yourself and how you’ve limited yourself. With understanding comes compassion. Compound the effect of this by finding more reasons to be proud of yourself and to love yourself. Being a "nice guy" is currently a thing because of some perceived lack of who you are. We want to move away from this. We want you to know you are inherently good.

RELATED: 3 Small Steps You Can Take Every Day To Learn How To Love Yourself


6. Identify how you put others before you

Another part of breaking free from Nice Guy Syndrome is seeing things for what they are. We behave in ways that diminish our confidence when we believe in delusions. It’s time to end this BS. Be honest about how you make your life worse by putting others’ happiness before yours. You have one life. No one said you had to live it in agony. Doing things for you isn’t selfish if doing things only for others weakens you. See how you do it, and understand how it steals from you. Is that what those who matter to you need?

7. Identify how you will start doing things for you

We’re now entering into taking action in the next phase of your life — a healthier, more courageous, and happier life. The only direction is to live as an integrated man. This means accepting yourself as you are and knowing that the best for you is to honor yourself. You can honor yourself first and still be the man your family and the rest of the world need. The compassionate you know this. List things you will start doing for you and your sense of aliveness. This is a practice. You can take small steps. Maybe this first means buying the dinner you want to eat, instead of making it all about the wants of others.

8. Set boundaries

Take note of those things that encroach on your energy and joy. Maybe up until now, you’ve not given this a second thought because you never prioritized yourself. But it’s time to make a stand. Your energy matters. You have one life. Figuring out what you will no longer tolerate is essential. This means setting boundaries and saying no to things that previously stole your time and energy. This is about communicating your needs with firm agreements, rather than hoping things go ok.

RELATED: 8 Simple Ways To Start Setting Boundaries You Can Keep


9. Have uncomfortable conversations

Boundary-setting inevitably means having important, often uncomfortable conversations. You can’t skip through life avoiding discomfort with others. Sometimes courage is required to settle an agreement. And this must happen because, ultimately, all parties benefit, not just you. Agreeing with your colleague to allocate the workload fairly and adequately protects your time but also adds structure and a sense of honor to the office culture. It’s time for you to set the frame, not any other Tom, Matt, or Joe.

10. Develop bonds with other men

Most nice guys have poor or non-existent connections with men. As part of finding ways to do things for you, you must find ways to bond with other men. Integrated, masculine men know how to interact with other men and derive strength and joy from doing so. Don’t allow yourself to shrivel. Seek out male friends. You can do this in many creative ways, like joining a hiking club, reaching out to other men, or even setting up your group.

11. Explore open honesty

One common thing in nice guys is their resistance to authenticity and revealing their flaws. They are dead-set on appearing as good as possible, almost like a martyr. They can’t bear the idea of looking less than perfect. Why? Because when someone perceives themselves to be flawed, they don’t want to open themselves to any decrease in a sense of worth. They believe inviting criticism is like a small death. It hurts. But that’s in the mind.


The way to freedom here is to acknowledge where you haven’t been honest or open. I’m not talking about telling everyone about how hard your life is. I’m talking about seeing how you put on a mask and why you do it. It is held in place by a form of shame, and shame is always lessened through being honest. Find ways to be honest about yourself, who you are, and your struggles. I found that writing about it and talking about it with friends and even clients helped free me from shame. I was willing to look bad. At first, I was nervous to do so, but after some practice, I found strength in it. I saw what it felt like to be myself again.

RELATED: The Real Reason Women Don't Want A Nice Guy

Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.