Why You Shouldn’t Fantasize About Finding A ‘Nice’ Guy

Stephen Hussey

Ever feel fed up of having the same arguments in your relationship?

Tired of guys who always seem to start fights and make things difficult? Sick of daily battles, criticism, and constant competing with a guy who only seems to be out for himself?

Maybe you dream of ditching those complicated jerks and just finding a ‘nice guy’.

If so, be careful what you wish for…


What does it mean when we say we just want to date someone ‘nice’?

You’ll see this with guys a lot, who are apt to say: “I just want to date a nice girl”.

These words often come from men who have just ended a particularly dramatic relationship. He’ll be so tired of having a girlfriend who is constantly jealous, or spoilt, or full of drama, that he’ll fantasize about meeting just a ‘nice’ girl, who won’t give him any problems ever again.

Women do the same. Tired of one too many self-centered, narcissistic mamma’s-boys, a woman will imagine just meeting a ‘nice’ guy – the image of the gallant, ever-approving man who agrees with everything she says, who smiles and goes along with whatever she wants to do.

Often what’s going through our head when we think about finding someone “nice” are thoughts like:

– I want someone who will give me no drama

– I want someone easy-going

– I want someone who is just friendly

– I want someone who is always in a good mood

Needless to say, both of these images of the ‘nice’ man or woman are mostly just a fantasy.

I’m not saying you should put up with drama and guys who give you a world of problems. But be careful of fantasizing about the ‘nice’, ‘simple’, ‘easy going’ guy.

Anyone who actually finds that person soon learns that they might not be everything they hoped…

The Problem With Niceness

Being ‘nice’ is often a very superficial quality.

We see that person who is all smiles, easy going, and always in a good mood, and on the surface they may look ideal.

Everyone tells you: “He is so nice. Everyone loves him.”

Or they say: “She’s so sweet. How could anyone not like her?”

I’m all for having people around you who are a positive influence, as I argued in last week’s post. So believe me, I’m not knocking being a pleasant or happy person.

But when we think that being superficially sweet and easy-going is enough for a relationship, niceness can prove to be a horrendously overrated quality:

Here’s why:

1. Nice Doesn’t Mean He’s Giving 

Nice and selfish can still go hand in hand.

Just because someone is pleasant to be around doesn’t mean they actually know how to put other people first.

Some nice guys are just good at being positive and fun. He might be the life and soul of the party, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to be intimate and open up to you in private, or emotionally invest in a relationship.

2. Nice Doesn’t Mean He’s Mature

The reason some people are always so ‘nice’ is because they run away from all forms of conflict and difficulty.

Whenever they feel the relationship is less than hunky-dory, they’ll escape or withdraw, or protest that everything is ‘fine’ even when it’s not.

Choose someone who can work through friction and have frank conversations about what they do and don’t like.

Although you don’t want someone who will automatically go to ‘fight’ mode when problems arise,  nor do you want the perennially nice person who goes straight to ‘flight’ and bails from tough situations.

3. Nice Doesn’t Mean He’s A Teammate

A nice guy isn’t necessarily a guy who will be there to support you.

For example, maybe you’re hanging out with friends and someone criticizes you in a way that makes you feel you want back up from your man.

But if you’re dating a ‘nice’ guy, he’ll more likely be focused on being diplomatic and not taking anyone’s side (because he just has to be everyone’s friend in ever scenario), which is super-annoying when you need a partner who can defend and get behind your point-of-view.

Here’s where ‘niceness’ starts to look like spinelessness, where someone’s desire to be liked by everyone trumps their desire to show their loyalty to you.

A recent study showed that the most valuable traits in a relationship were Kindness and Generosity.

These traits I believe go deeper than just being ‘nice’. They require us to show active thought towards someone, to become truly interested in and loyal to our partner, to want to solve problems rather than pretend they don’t exist.

Of course, nice is always good place to start. But niceness doesn’t equal a good companion. It doesn’t mean sexy, considerate, interesting, thoughtful, and caring.

Maybe nice guys (and girls) will stop finishing last when they learn there’s more to relationships than just nice.
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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

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40 Replies to “Why You Shouldn’t Fantasize About Finding A ‘Nice’ Guy”

  • Well this was timely. I just broke up with a super “nice” guy. And I was kind of questioning myself, i.e. Am I freaking crazy? He’s really NICE. He’s a good dude.

    But you are right: “niceness doesn’t equal a good partner. It doesn’t mean sexy, considerate, interesting, thoughtful, and caring.” He was nice, but not enough of those other things.

    1. Thanks Clare! Yea it’s tough when someone seems like a good person but I’ve learnt that it comes down to your needs more than anything else in relationships.

        1. Clare, I know people who have been in the same situation but NOT broken up, stayed with the person because they were “so nice! How could I leave?” and then gotten married, only to regret it massively. Good thing you got out sooner than that!

        2. I tried to reply to a comment but it says it’s “awaiting moderation” – don’t know whether this means it’ll appear eventually or if it’s lost in limbo!

          1. Okay, my comment about awaiting moderation is also awaiting moderation. I thought it was just because I was using my phone but I guess not. Are you screening now, because of those comments that appeared on Matthew’s post the other day? I would understand that.

  • I agreed with you. For myself, sometimes nice is not interesting or even boring. I met one or two that were super nice and easy going, but they were too easy. I could decide whatever to do, and he would be like sure let’s do it. Never create anything or plan anything. I felt bored, so I bailed

    1. Yep, constant agreement is definitely one problem of the overly “nice” person!

      Thanks for commenting :)


  • thank you very much stephen for this. in the last week, i’ve been wondering about my new relationship, and if i made the right choice, i used to be with “nice guys” and it was as u sad always fun,and laughing but they all ended for the same reasons you mentionned above, they would just decide to leave me at the first problem we face. back then, i didn’t understand why it ended up like that, it was like everything is okay and nice and beautiful, till one day it ends, just a few days after a problem. now i’m with a diffrent guy, and he has some problems and he’s not as outgoing and fun as my Exs but he is more caring and kind. i was wondering if i made the right choice this time. But now i think i did.
    thank you very much, i really adore what u and Matt are doing, it helped me alot, like literly changed my love life.

  • Man, Stephen, it was like a light bulb went on in my head after every point you made. I dated a “nice” guy that was always helping out his friends, but then I noticed it was because he wanted to be like by everyone and ended up being pretty selfish…and could Not handle one-on-one conversations without blowing up. It’s been almost a year since we dated, and he invited me a few times to lunch. Finally I say yes…and he shows up at the restaurant with two of his friends. I thought it would be a good time to have a chat, but apparently not. haha At least I remembered why we’re no longer dating :) Thanks for the great blog, and I love how you tied that all in at the end.

    1. Thank you Darla, linking to the video helps.

      OMG I don’t want to be THAT “nice” girl.

      Thank you Stephen!

  • Those kind of “nice guys” are so boring! When I say I want a “nice guy” I’m not looking for someone with no opinion or personality.- I mean it in the most basic sense: someone with respect and manners.
    I love it when a guy can be angry, sad or annoyed around me because it shows they’re human and that they’re being real.
    Great post, as usual Stephen. You always come across as being incredibly intelligent, you’re living up to that “wealth of knowledge” reputation I see ;)

    1. I totally agree with you. I ran away real fast from those who can’t challenge me, my opinions, or my decision. Super boring!!!

      1. The thing with the “nice guy” is that he will be a dick AFTER you decide to be serious with him. Then he thinks he’s some stud and leaves you for another girl…

        Nice guys are just waiting for us to give them the confidence to become players.

        1. Wow. That One Was Indeed Golden Phoebe. Good For You For Calling It Out on a Bull’S Eye Accuracy Level

  • I don’t have a romantic issue, I do have a work situation that has been building due to a colleague that proved to be very immature.
    I felt very encouraged to take on a the situation, after last Sunday’s video…The odds were not in my favour.
    Our token “nice”guy in the office is going through a life crisis of some sort, he does try to hide it by being playful, flirty and friendly. However, his been very cold and distant towards me and I tried to break the ice-age today.
    I first did it Matthew’s way…nice guy didn’t even acknowledge me, gave a grin and walked off.
    Round two was brought about indirectly; I really needed his assistance and advise. He didn’t even try to help me, then I challenged him, and he replied: “I hate my life”. He had chuckle, showered me with dead babies breathe blossoms, he addressed me on my full name ending with telling me I should not make my problem his.

    I completely understand that people have different ways of processing emotions. It is just very disappointing to see someone that you admire has no second thought to hurt you or belittle a serious situation because their drive is gone and will is broken.

  • Yes, I am sure we all fantasize about mister Nice Guy when our S O is being less than attentive, but I can’t imagine how downright boring it would be not to mention suffocating!
    Great blog Guys.

  • Hi Steve!

    I love this part: “Choose someone who can work through friction and have frank conversations about what they do and don’t like.”

    I dated a guy who by others was considered “nice”, but he lacked maturity AND was unable to stand behind me. It was so frustrating when he would deny that there was a problem, and not talk about it, because he wanted to be nice. I would rather a man be honest, and respectful, both of which can be done with tact. It takes a certain amount of ego strength and assertiveness to be able to communicate an issue that you would like to resolve, but it is super important to do so. The word spineless is a perfect descriptor!

    It is just like Matt says, we want a nice guy, with an edge!
    A backbone, and just the right amount of sass! ;)

    Yes please.


  • Wow ! now I can see what goes wrong with my dating life and that’s very original as well. I have dated ” nice guy and really have those problem that you have mention especially they tend to avoid conflict part. People are more attractive when they are real and honest anyway :)

  • This article must be a warning for every woman. Don’t swing from the jerks to the “nice” guys thinking you’re “getting it right” this time-BOTH are equally bad in different ways!

    Not only are “nice guys” boring, but they are so fake. They are closeted dickheads , and they talk crap behind people’s backs…

    Mr. Nice Guy usually means bad news. Gimme a kind, interesting, fun guy any time of day! .)

    Oh, “nice” girls suck too.

  • You break down what ends up being nice and what needs to constitute ‘nice’ in a successful relationship so well. It’s the same with kindness. The article breaks it down somewhat because it’s also not as straightforward as one might imagine in the behaviour between two intimate people.
    I love the fact The Gottmans, I didn’t know they were a married couple, literally not just finish each other’s sentences but actually expand on them. I read a study also looking at behaviours which would ultimately determine its demise or success. And it is interesting to note the importance of each of the couples mood when they were apart and thinking about each other that had a bearing on how successful they were when they were together. Esther Perel speaks about what happens in the distance, space, between an emotionally successful ( and erotic) couple. Her talk is very interesting, and I personally think, links in with your passages on ‘sex talk’ in your book.
    Nice is very dissapointing when it’s spineless. One can feel very let down when you are actually properly nice and brave as well. I loved the moment Michael Fassbender was approaching the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival for the screening of Macbeth and a reporter asked him how Justin Kurzel, the Director, told him to approach the character. “Balls of Steel” he replied in his husky, Irish accent. Swoon! Just swoon.
    Thank you for another great piece Stephen, you are truly swoon-worthy too.

  • And ‘nice’ doesn’t necessarily mean mean nice. I dated someone who said ‘Hey, I’m a nice guy’ whenever he did something for me, whether I wanted it or not. And if I wasn’t grateful enough, he would pout or get annoyed. Being ‘nice’ can be used as a club to whack people with! It’s all relative.

    When I was online dating, I quickly learned to avoid anyone who said they were ‘easy-going’ or who wanted someone who was. Saying they were tended to mean that they were just worried about how people saw them, and saying they wanted that meant that they could then get upset if you said anything they didn’t like. It’s not about the labels, it’s what you DO that counts.

    1. 100% agreed with you. I avoided easy – going guys all the time. They always wanted the girl to be easy – going and kind of just up to for whatever. Red flag

  • Great article and so true. After dating the “bad boy” I have swung to “nice” guys. In my opinion, they can wreak the same havoc on your self-esteem because often, they have no ability to handle “conflict” and they disappear. Often, this “conflict” is nothing more than have a mature, adult exchange of words, but in their head it’s built up to be so much more.

    The last “nice” guy I dated, was “nice” until after we slept together. Then he immediately ignored me thereafter. Ironically, he spoke of past girlfriends/dates that showed signs of neediness/insecurity. (Hearing this, believe me, was a big red flag because I don’t know many women who are organically “crazy”, but know lots of them who become so with a man who withholds).

    Having know experienced him, when there was nothing I did to cause his behavior, it only just confirms that the problem is likely with him. With all his “niceness”, he just leaves people hanging.

  • I am sorry Matt if anything untoward has gone on regarding comments on the blog. One of the beautiful qualities to shine out from you is how inclusive you are and your ability to reach out to so many varied women, whatever their emotional state might be. You always reach for seeing the best in a person. And you have helped so many people in ways they can never repay you. We will keep commenting in this lovely community on the blog, in a compassionate and sensible way that only serves to enhance any information or advice you put out there. And with your lovely brother Steve, to whom I apologise now for hi-jacking your great article to write this message. xx

    1. Thank you for writting this. It has taken taken a bit of the bitter taste out of some of the other comments. I agree he article was well written and meant as a good guide to help women think about what they are really looking for, because so many woman say nice, but mean something else.

  • I’ve been with both “bad” and “nice”. All I can say is that as badly as I have just been burnt by “the bad boy”, I can still stick to my opinion that “nice guys” are worse. When things don’t work out with the “nice guy”, you’re the one who looks like the bad person for being unsatisfied with him. At least with the “bad boy”, you have a better idea of what you’re getting into.

    1. I agree, Eileen. The nice guy will complain “I gave that b*tch everything”. Everyone will feel sorry for him, while you were the only one that saw the REAL him.

      BTW, even murderers and stalkers call themselves “nice guys”. I think they finish last because people sense something is “off” with them.

      If someone calls me a “nice girl” I get deeply offended and correct them on the spot! :P

  • I do agree with majority of the things written in this article/blog;however, I believe when some women talk about wanting a “nice guy” in most cases they want someone who treats them well; not necessarily what you stated above. In this case i am referring to women who know what they value and have an idea of what they would not tolerate in a relationship). Women desire of a “nice guy” may constitute wanting men who are respectful,sensitive to their needs, kind, loyal, considerate, etc. Men on the other hand would more likely say the things you stated when you clarify what is meant by wanting a “nice girl”.Unless you are a particular type of man who look for more and has an idea of his values and know there is more to a relationship than just having a drama free, non controlling, codepedent woman etc.Nevertheless, I do understand where you’re coming from. I wouldn’t refer to the guys you call “nice guys” as nice, but men who seem to be nice, easy going but do not possess certain traits that will be valuable in a long term relationships. However,they are “nice guys” that do possess beautiful qualities such as being loyal, respectful, understanding who has a backbone and isn’t necessarily focus on being a people pleaser, who wouldn’t avoid conflict or deal with it in an unhealthy way
    ( well, majority of the time – taking into consideration we are human and still growing).But I do understand your point and intention. Good article though.

    1. Very Well Said. My Cousin Is Dating This Type, She Argues That He’s Good for Her Strong Personality in the Best Way Too

  • OMG Stephen,
    I just had this issue with the guy I was seeing, and finally had to end it because he basically was “too nice” to be honest with me and tell me what he wants. he always said the right things and was super nice, in a sense that i felt like I could’t get to know the real him.
    And in fact he was the definition of the nice coward that ran away 2 years ago and disappeared without saying anything of course because he didnt like conflict, and I gave him a second chance this year because I thought maybe i was too clingy or it was not the right time that year. And came to the conclusion, there was a good reason he left.
    But is is tricky to figure out if the niceness is just shallow or there is kindness in there too. And it can only show in time and action. I just could not take the guessing game anymore and dwell on what his intentions are,s once he was just saying the right things all the time.

    Thanks Stephen,

  • STEVE THIS WAS SO FUCKING AWESOME AND SO NEEDED TO BE SAID!!! The Closing Line Was Perfect, You Are SUCH an Epically Talented Poet Like Matt, Only You Guys Can Water Me with Truth In a Way that Deep Cleans All the Angry Rust in My Soul

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