How can Nice Guys (guys with Nice Guy Syndrome) help themselves?
If a Nice Guy wants to reform he could start asking his women friends (he usually has many) what they really like about their boyfriends (or their previous boyfriends), especially if he has mostly heard a long series of complaints for a while. This helps break the cycle of the Nice Guy unconsciously supporting her negative views about her boyfriend, and other men of that type (perhaps in the hope that he’ll get to win her in the end).
He could also ask his women friends what their ideal man is like. This starts to move the relationship into a more positive male/female dynamic. It may have been very positive in other ways (having a fun together as people, mutual support in some areas, etc), but the relationship has not likely been positive and mutually rewarding as far as basic male/female interaction goes. He has not been receiving a positive sense of basic male energy and how to express the more dynamic aspects of that. He needs to elicit responses from women (and take the initiative to get them from women and from other men) that help him gain a sense of what healthy maleness looks like and what it feels like.
The Nice Guy can look around for qualities he likes in other men and notice how that feels. He can notice if he feels inadequate and chose to find a way to go beyond those feelings. How does the Nice Guy feel, if he sees a bold, confident yet affable man who feels good about himself and his life. If he finds himself thinking, ‘I can never be like that’ then maybe he needs to realize that not only can he be like that; he is already more than half-way to being like that.
The hard part is for people in male energy type of bodies to develop the softer qualities and the Nice Guy has done that. When he decides to develop his harder side that will come more easily as it is supported by his body type. He has a confidence and strength within himself which will surprise and delight him as he learns to tap into it.
He might also want to take his relationships with women less seriously. One look at the Personals columns and seeing how many women are looking for a man with a GSOH (Good Sense of Humour) will quickly prove the point. He needs to keep things light and fun – up to a point – and not avail himself of every chance he gets to bare his soul.
Finding ways to gently make fun of himself and make fun of his women friends too can also work wonders. Confidence is usually the number one quality that women look for in a man. It is much easier to come across as confident when you are being playful. There is far less risk and far less to lose. Therefore, the Nice Guys number one priority is to develop and express confidence. There are lots of books on this in any good bookstore. Best to have a look and see what appeals.
A different kind of serious
He also needs to look to other men to help him understand his feelings. A woman knows how it feels to be a woman; not how it feels to be a man. She can help him understand the value of being able to know how he feels and to express those feelings, but she cannot help him much with knowing what those feeling are. As Robert Bly says, “If a man tries to learn how to feel from a woman he goes numb from the neck to the navel”. Only other men can really help a man come to terms with his masculine self. He needs to find a “wise elder” (in books, or in real life), or a friend who can help respect his essential maleness.
If he has drifted into feeling more comfortable with women rather than other men then that is a big sign that he is not comfortable with himself. He could look at what he does with the wilder parts of himself and how he relates to them. Are they suppressed and reduced to a complaining whine or integrated into his life in healthy ways? If not, then he needs to heal his relationship with those parts of himself. Some of the Men’s Movement literature is helpful with that (Robert Bly, Sam Keen et al) and helps create ideas for expressing male energy positively.
Doing sports, working with the voice (to get the any kind of whine out of it), learning to enjoy the company of other men (being selective about if of course), making sure of an active aspect to life, all help the Nice Guy break out and find a larger role for himself.
What often makes is man into a Nice Guy is when he becomes dismayed by the damage done in the world by male energy when it has become unbalanced. Nice Guys are essentially healthy men who are attempting to break out of the traditional male roles. They will have gained many insights about human nature, and especially about women, while on their journey. It is then really a matter of them reclaiming those parts of their male selves they somewhat left behind. They can they be the type of the man the world needs: balanced and healthy men, who are strong, empowered and confident who are also comfortable showing care, openness and sensitivity.
When a Nice Guy breaks free he has a lot to offer the world. He can be sensitive and strong; he can be kind and powerful; he can be deliberate and affable. He can match the situations in his life, and let hem call from him the qualities required to move forward. He is not longer just a Nice Guy; he is a good and empowered man able to give his best to the world, to his friends and to the women in his life.