RE: The Nice Guy Syndrome

Josh Cohen (
Tue, 16 Jun 1998 01:48:22 -0700

whatever you say, dear.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lisa Dusseault (Exchange) []
> Sent: Friday, June 12, 1998 9:41 AM
> To: '';;
> Subject: RE: The Nice Guy Syndrome
> Bing! Right on the button.
> Nice/passive/boring guys are much more frustrating (to me)
> than guys with
> whom I can have a sharing between equals.
> Sometimes it seems that the "Whatever you want to do, my
> dear" kind of guys
> have this highly unequal view of women as being either above
> or below men:
> - She's some kind of goddess whom I must placate at any cost.
> - She can't voice her own opinions so I must guess what she
> wants and do
> that.
> - She might lie about what she wants to placate me, so I
> must guess what
> she wants and do that even above her objections.
> - She couldn't possibly enjoy doing the things I enjoy so I
> won't even
> suggest the activity that I would enjoy.
> - She couldn't possibly understand my arguments, so I won't
> even argue with
> her statement and instead I'll say "Whatever you say, my dear".
> - I'm the one with all the power in this relationship, so I
> must make sure
> to meet all her needs first.
> - Women are "sensitive" or "touchy", they have "whims", and
> men have to go
> out of their way to avoid offense (I hate this one!
> especially when it comes
> up at work!)
> It can end up sickeningly patronizing rather than touchingly
> concerned. It
> can turn into a one-sided relationship with one person doing all the
> "giving", or it can turn into a frustrating competition of
> who can be the
> most giving in the relationship. It can feel like being treated as a
> fragile piece of porcelain rather than being treated as an equal.
> I'm a strong woman. I'm perfectly capable of letting my
> preferences and
> feelings be known. I am capable of working out a balanced
> relationship
> where sometimes we do what I want and sometimes we do what he
> wants, and the
> rest of the time we do what we both want without gaming each
> other about it.
> Turn the situation around (if you think you're at risk of
> doing this to
> women) and ask how you'd like a totally passive woman, immersed in her
> boyfriend without a thought of herself, always "yes dear, yes dear".
> There's enough of those too. You might even like it, at
> first, but it would
> become galling over long periods.
> That said, I'm with a widely-acknowledged "nice guy". Nice doesn't
> necessarily mean passive. There's a balance to be found
> between "jerk" and
> "cave-in".
> Lisa
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar []
> Sent: Friday, June 12, 1998 6:31 AM
> To:;
> Cc:
> Subject: The Nice Guy Syndrome
> Hi all,
> I'm off to Pasadena for the weekend. My email seems to be
> back up, but
> if I have time I'll see if I can swing by Caltech and ask
> them why it was
> down this last week. In the meantime, you can also write me at
> "" which goes via my local ISP. It may
> not be quite
> as permanent as my alumni address, but I'll probably keep it
> for a long
> time anyway.
> I did want to report on my visit to "Tuesday's at Trish":
> ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
> Tuesdays with Trish in Match.Chat
> Tuesday, June 9, 6:00 p.m. PST
> The Nice Guy Syndrome
> Can it be true that women prefer jerks to "nice guys?" Many
> men think so. And just what makes a "nice guy" nice? When it
> comes to women, there is such a thing as "too nice," although
> few men are aware of this. Where does a woman draw the
> line? We'll hear from nice guys who can't catch a woman's eye
> and from the women who are leery of them. This chat, like the
> subject matter, may be a bit controversial--all the more fun!
> ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
> The discussion was pretty informal, and held in an open chat [ichat]
> room, so there was some problems with 'background chatter'
> (chatters?).
> The moderator just asked a handful of questions over the
> course of the
> hour, but for the most part it was just discussion. I did
> end up taking
> notes.
> The first thing I realized is that there are several distinct
> types of
> Nice Guy Syndrome (this caused a fair amount of confusion).
> They all
> share the general characteristic of a guy who at least seems
> nice but
> consistent gets rejected by women.
> - The guy who thinks/says he's nice, but he's really a jerk
> - Women say a guys nice, but that's just a euphemism for some other
> character flaw
> - Guys who are "nice" in the sense of passive or boring
> - Women who subconsciously -do- desire a jerk, and therefore
> seek out
> men who'll treat them badly (usually due to dysfunctional parenting)
> Filtering all that out, though, there's a residual core of
> reasonably
> healthy women who will think a guy is nice enough to have as
> a friend,
> but not attractive enough to date. Which, of course, is my usual
> situation. The question is, why?
> The one definition of 'nice' which seemed to apply to me was "too
> concerned with what the girl thinks, and not confident enough
> in what he
> feels and wants." That is, a guy needs to make sure he has as much
> respect for himself as he does for the girl, and (suprising
> as it may
> seem) is not overly willing to sacrifice his needs for hers.
> This makes sense to me, for several reasons. One, I realize (while
> generally a mountain of self-confidence) I don't have a lot
> of confidence
> in dealing with women on a romantic basis. I've been burned enough
> times -- and been in 'target poor' environments for so long
> -- that I
> tend to subconsciously (if not consciously) assume that a
> woman isn't
> interested in me, and I have to "justify" myself in the relationship.
> Second, I do have a tendency to pursue women who aren't
> exactly what I
> truly want. When I step back and think about it, I realize
> the kind of
> woman I would consider a true equal is a quantum leap from
> anyone I've
> known to date. However, I have enough self-doubt that I
> wonder if that's
> being too picky.
> Third, I myself know that I find a women less attractive once
> I'm sure
> she's interested in me, to some extent. When I -suspect-
> she's attracted
> to me, I find it very interesting, but once that's "proved" I
> tend to
> freely entertain second thoughts.
> Fourth, this ties in with my other issue of being in touch with my
> emotions. In at least one sense, I tend to over-analyze - well,
> everything - but specifically my dating relationships.
> Which is perhaps
> helpful in "off-line" situations like this, but in the context of
> actually dating someone, it blinds me to what *I'm* feeling. If I'm
> trying to respond to or persuade *her* emotions, I'm no
> longer accurately
> reflecting *my* emotions. Which is both cause and effect of not
> knowing my own emotional state.
> Anyway, I have to run catch my plane to LA, but it certainly gave me
> something to think about.
> Talk to you all later,
> --- Ernie P.
> ---
> Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar
> "And ourselves, your servants for Jesus' sake." -- II Cor 4:5b