How many of us grew up believing the typical success story: that by ace-ing our grades in school, getting into University, followed by corporate employment is a form of success?

You're ‘supposed’ to fall in love and get married, get your house, your 2.5 children and live happily ever after. That's the model success story, just that life rarely pans out this way. The typical person goes to school, follows the system, get good grades and qualifies for a good corporate job. He never questions the curriculum, the value of the curriculum or if they even truly care about the subject or not.

Interestingly, I get similar stories from my clients, they graduated from. University, got a corporate nine to five, wake up one day, shit hits the fan and life hits them. They seem to have once bought into and lived the typical success story.

This is also the making of the Mr. Nice Guy.

The Nice Guy Problem and Metrics of Success

You can argue that the typical success story is always pleasing of societal and parental expectations. This leads to the Mr. Nice Guy problem.

Nice guys aren’t actually nice, they are instead forced to be nice on the surface for social approval.

The nice guy is actually not that nice. He's actually dishonest fundamentally as he attempts to get his needs met in a manipulative and passive aggressive way. The asshole and the nice guy are actually the same people. They are both acting from the place of insecurity and unworthiness.

Throughout my teenage years, I felt I was the ‘rebel' and the ‘bad boy' rather than the Mr. Nice Guy. In fact, I still gave too much a fuck what people thought of me, and was still unable to assert myself in a truly confident manner.

The Nice Guy is always attempting to meet everybody's needs and wants, but his own. The truly confident person is able to assert his needs in the world and get comfortable with getting his needs met in a timely manner.

Nice guys often believe that by being outspoken or blunt is a form of politeness or niceness. However, their behavior often speaks otherwise. They don't wear their heart on their sleeves and don't express their real intentions. That's manipulative behavior at best.

Dr. Robert Glover a psychologist argues that the making of a Nice Guy is rooted in not being able to meet your own needs, but constantly meeting the needs of others.

Children with inadequate parenting can grow up feeling like their own needs are unimportant. This leaks out to all aspects of their adulthood life.

He attempts to explain how childhood dynamics between the nice guy and his parents affect his behavior in adulthood. This gave me a lot of insight into my personal relationships with my parents whilst growing up. It opened up my eyes to how my dysfunctional relationship dynamic growing up affect how I led my life: how I asserted myself with girls, my academic performance and my life.

Societal Expectations and Your Needs

You can get a lifestyle that seems nice and perfect on the outside, however, you may feel broken and dysfunctional on the inside.

In some cultures, there may be a desire everything to be paper perfect: from parental, employment and relationship expectations. Since I’m Singaporean, I can emphasize that in certain Asian cultures, this can be a root of shame.

It took me years to accept that I am not built to be that accounting guy. I used to pride myself on rigid practicality. ‘I need to graduate from an accounting degree to be deemed successful.’ I told myself for years.

The majority of people who are on the nice guy end of the spectrum need to learn how to please themselves more and put their needs first. Being selfish and your needs and wants met and then helping others unconditionally can be considered benevolent selfishness.

The new age self-help industry throws words around like such as self-love but at the core of is having boundaries. Having strong boundaries and defining what you would and not would accept from others in your life is one of the first steps in taking control of your dating and social life.

You can't be responsible for how others react towards you. The only responsibility you can have is in your own actions and emotions. The only person you can please and control is yourself.

Photo by Bahram Bayat on Unsplash

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Posted by Marcus Neo

Marcus Neo publishes practical dating advice based on psychological research at MarcusNeo.Com

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