Former "Nice Guys" Shared What Made Them Change Their Ways, And I Need All Men Who Date Women To Read This ASAP
"I realized I needed to change."
There are plenty of stories about "nice guys" being creepy-dangerous toward women, but is it possible for them to actually change their ways?
1. "Working in education, I began to see how common harassment was for women and girls at the hands of 'nice guys,' and how men would rationalize it because they 'meant well.' It was awful. The young women would be made to feel bad if they didn’t appreciate the attention. The sheer number of incidents really showed me how pervasive the problem is."
2. "In high school, I wasn’t popular and was always being rejected when I asked women out. I switched to the approach of being friends with them and trying to get enough 'friend points' to 'level up' to boyfriend. During that time, I had a lot of 'nice guy' attitudes. I thought I deserved a relationship for putting in all this time. I didn’t really care about being friends, I just wanted a girlfriend."
"Eventually I grew up, got married, and had a family. It wasn’t until many years later when the issue of 'nice guys' came up that I was able to look back on my high school self and realize how messed up my behavior was. I mean, I always realized it was immature, but not all of the nuance to it. It changed my thoughts on my past self from 'I was a dweeb' to 'I was a jerk.'
3. "When it came out that my 'nice' dad was cheating on my mom with multiple women. Seeing how it negatively affected my mom's physical and mental health was enough to make me take a look in the mirror and realize that I was going down the same path."
4. "For me, it was exposure to collective experiences of the people on the internet. Acting all edgy and 'm'lady' won't get you someone. Getting real, dealing with your own problems and complexes, and finding your ground does."
5. "I realized that I judged girls for not wanting to date me because I was overweight, when I literally did the exact same thing to women. I also made a really good female friend who called me on my shit."
6. "It really hit home a couple years back when I found r/niceguys on Reddit and realized just how terrible I was, seeing some of how I used to act in the posts on that thread. These days, I'm very conscious of how even innocent comments can affect people when taken in a wider context, and I try to make sure I don't go down that path again."
7. "The 'nice guy' is still in there, and it's an important part of who I am. What I cut off were all the so-called nice guy behaviors that were really only ploys to selfishly get what I wanted or to appear like I deserved something, when it was really only an act."
"People (i.e., women) really do like authentic, nice guys — no quotations. AKA guys who think about others, guys who act in altruistic or supportive ways, guys who generally like other people, guys who are confident enough in themselves that they don't need to constantly project an idealized image of themselves. Acting like a 'nice guy' and becoming a nice guy are very different things."
8. "I stumbled upon an article about 'nice guys' and realized I was acting the exact same way. I realized this was not the kind of person I wanted to be. I wish I could say my dating life got better after this realization, but it did not. I've just learned not to take rejection so personally."
9. "For me, it was reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 10th grade and being distraught over Quasimodo not getting with Esmeralda. I then had a moment of self-reflection and realized that my thoughts were more in line with Frollo's: 'I am so pure, so great, that she has to be mine.' It took some time, but that was my basis for moving away from the 'nice guy' mentality."
10. "I had a male friend tell me that seeing me upset about the 2014 celebrity nude-photo-hacking scandal made him realize how wrong that kind of behavior was. He said earlier in life, he might've shrugged and just looked up the photos — and I remember male TV broadcasters 'joking' that they would too — but now the thought of doing that actually made him sick."
11. "I had a girlfriend point out how selfish I was, and how much I expected from her in return for basic human decency. I realized that being nice is basic. 'Nice guys' ARE nice, they just don't understand that truly being nice also means good, kind, compassionate, and many other much more important traits."
12. "My brother is a reformed 'nice guy.' He’s always been plugged into social issues, and the change happened when there was greater awareness and mainstream conversations about the toxicity of 'nice guy' behavior. I give him credit that he actually listened and took accountability without getting defensive."
13. "When I had a girl treat me the same way I treated my crushes, that’s when I realized I needed to change."
14. "I learned through a fractured friendship where I didn't respect her boundaries or understand how my behavior made her feel uncomfortable. As I reflected on my behavior, upbringing, and unresolved trauma through therapy, I realized this was not the person I wanted to be. Being nice does not give you permission to impose yourself on others. That's just wrong."
15. And finally, "Honestly, for me it really clicked one day when I thought what I personally brought to the table. Like, what was I doing as a man talking to women other than just being 'nice'? So much is focused around being a 'nice person' that it was all I focused on. Of course, women aren’t going to want to accept the bare minimum of being a decent person, and I couldn’t force anyone to be in a relationship if they didn’t want one."
"It just clicked that, like, 'Women aren't going to date me just because I’m being nice to them, and that’s okay.' I just wanted to be a good person and be someone people wanted to get along with, and that ended up being way more effective at getting actual attention from women than anything else. Being a good person instead of being the 'nice guy' as a means to an end is almost always the better choice."
Do you have any reformed "nice guy" stories to share? Drop 'em in the comments.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.