What Type Of Man Are You? And Why You Need To Know

What if you were not who you thought you were. What if, like Neo in The Matrix, you spent your whole life believing something false to be true. Something that seems so normal to you that years go by until the truth presents itself.

You might not have Morpheus to guide you but there are signs everywhere if you were to look for them. Signs that you ignore because everyone else is ignoring them. Behaviour, now normalised.

Let me explain.

There was this man I used to know. He was the type of man that prided himself on being such a nice guy. Always did the right thing, was hardworking, and never let anyone down. He loved pleasing people and enjoyed putting the needs of others ahead of his own.

He thought he was the most thoughtful person you’d meet, but his actions were motivated from a completely different place than he realised.

He was motivated by wanting to be liked and needing to be in control. However, for a long time, he had no awareness these deeper motivations even existed.

These motivations were unconsciously controlling everything around him so he could get what he thought he wanted. All the time distancing himself from people.

People would see the version of him he wanted them to see. He suppressed his true thoughts and feelings because he couldn’t control them, and therefore couldn’t control what people did with them.

Deep down he could sense he wasn’t living true to himself. He started to realise that the belief he’d created, that the happiness and desires of others were more important than his own, just wasn’t true.

In short, he was a nice guy.

A nice guy is a term coined by Robert Glover in his book No More Mr Nice Guy*. It’s someone whose behaviour is primarily motivated by their desire to be liked by others.

Nice guys are focused on pleasing others because it is in their praise and thanks that they find their sense of self-worth.

The logic says:

“The more you like me, the more I like myself”.

Only it doesn’t work like that.

Self-worth comes from within you not outside of you, but try telling that to the nice guy.

Well, this man was me, and for over 20 years it was how I lived my life.

It had a huge impact on me. I wasn’t happy, I had no sense of purpose, I was living a safe life and my relationships were controlling and superficial.

As I started becoming more aware of the impact this was having I joined my first men’s group who helped me to choose a different path so I could start to be a good guy instead.

The good guy’s sense of self-worth comes from within himself not outside, he knows who he is deep down and isn’t afraid to express this in his life.

Below are some of the distinctions between a nice guy and a good guy.

But which one are you?

Nice guys don’t tell the truth

What you see is not what you get with the nice guy. One of his primary motivations is to be liked, so he will do whatever it takes to please people.

This includes withholding truths and lying in order to get what he wants. He will act like a chameleon, changing himself around whatever circumstance he finds himself in.

He’s afraid of telling the truth because he thinks people won’t like him then. In his truth there is a nakedness that is too revealing, so he constructs stories to live behind.

Phrases you might hear a nice guy say:

“Of course I don’t mind”

“If it makes you happy, then it makes me happy”

“Sounds good to me”

You know you’ve met a good guy because he is honest with himself first and foremost. He has integrity, he knows what his values are and these are what drives his behaviour.

The good guy is able to give difficult truths and he speaks from his heart. He is prepared to say what no one else will and then stands by it, open for the discussion.

type of man

Nice guys have poor boundaries

The nice guy says yes to everything and doesn’t know when to say no. He is unclear and ambiguous in creating agreements because he wants some wiggle room with which to change his mind.

The nice guy dislikes structure because this requires courage and leadership to speak clearly about what he wants. He can’t hide so easily with boundaries so he will challenge others and avoid creating his own.

Phrases you might hear a nice guy say:

“Yes, yes, yes, yes”

“Let’s talk about it later”

“I might see you there”

You know you’ve met a good guy because he has clear structure in his life and uses it to create what he desires.

He is clear on what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable from people in his life, and is able to communicate it compassionately.

Nice guys are victims of circumstance

One of the key beliefs of the nice guy is that he is not responsible for what happens in his life. He is the type of man that believes his self-worth is controlled by others in the same way that the course of his life is.

He blames others for things that don’t go his way and always thinks it’s someone else’s fault. He rarely explains this and will rely on passive aggression to get through it. If only everyone else was as good as him, there wouldn’t be a problem.

He’s a martyr to the cause and thinks he’s the only one that can be relied upon.

Phrases you might hear a nice guy say:

“It’s not my fault”

“This always happens to me”

“I can never win”

You know you’ve met a good guy because he takes full responsibility for what happens in his life. He realises he is the creator of his life, he stands up and takes ownership of what’s happened in the good times and the bad.

type of man
Nice guys repress feelings

Since he was a child the nice guy was told that the expression of feelings was wrong. He was taught that people would like him more, the less he expressed how he really felt.

Phrases he grew up hearing are:

“There there, big boys don’t cry”

“If you don’t stop crying we’ll go home”

“Stop being such a girl”

He developed great shame surrounding the expression of feelings, so learnt to suppress them. He now believes that vulnerably expressing feelings is a weakness and is to be avoided at all cost.

As a result, he can be passive aggressive as he is unable to express or discuss his feelings and instead internalises them.

Phrases you might hear a nice guy say:

“I feel fine”

“I don’t want to talk about it”

“Whatever you want”

You know you’ve met a good guy because he is able to express his emotions proudly and without shame. He is self-aware, is able to safely express his feelings, and communicates them openly.

Nice guys follow the crowd

The nice guy has created a habit of following the crowd and doesn’t stand up for what he believes in. He wants to be liked and fit in so is afraid of speaking up and being rejected from his peer group as a result. The more he acts like them the more he feels validated for who he is.

He doesn’t like to lead and is happy to be led because then he has an excuse for when things go wrong and don’t work out the way he wanted.

Standing alone for what he believes in is too tough for him so he hides in the crowd instead, going unnoticed and unchallenged.

Phrases you might hear a nice guy say:

“I’m easy, I’ll do whatever you want”

“I’m not passionate about anything”

“I don’t have any purpose in life”

You know you’ve met a good guy because he is a leader, standing on his own where necessary and living passionately from a place of purpose. He is standing up for what he believes in even if no one else is there to support him.

He’s doing what he loves, no one’s watching, and he doesn’t care.

Nice guys are cowards

There is a saying that goes:

“A coward dies a thousand times, a hero dies but once”

This describes the nice guy because he lacks courage and suffers for it every day. He is too busy fitting in, pleasing others and living for himself to realise what he stands for.

Failure isn’t an option for him as he would rather succeed in not trying than be seen to fail at all.

Bravery requires vulnerability, but he believes this is a weakness so takes any steps necessary to protect himself from it.

He talks the talk but when the shit gets real, he’s gone.

Phrases you might hear a nice guy say:

“Anything for an easy life”

“This is too much like hard work”

“Someone else will help”

You know you’ve met a good guy because he looks out beyond himself; he is standing strong and holding you when you can’t hold yourself.

There is no absence of fear, fear is present, but he acts anyway.

Nice guys worry about what others think of them

Because the nice guy wants to be liked, and gets his sense of self-worth from others, he is very concerned what others think of him. His reputation means everything to him and he will do everything to control the way people see him.

He has created an idea of who he is, and this is the only version of him he wants others to see. The true vulnerable version of him must be avoided, as this doesn’t fit in with the version he’s created.

Constant questions going through his head are:

“What do they think of me?”

“How do I look?”

“Do they like me?”

He might be aware of his values but he doesn’t trust himself to make decisions based solely upon them because what others think is more important.

You know you’ve met a good guy because what he thinks of himself is more important than what others think. He has looked deeply at himself, he knows his morals and values, and he lives by them every day.

He has a clear sense of who he is, what he stands for and what is important in life.

So which type of man are you?

I hope this post was helpful. If you have any comments I’d love to here them and please share this post with a friend if you enjoyed it. For regular content like this just fill in the box below.


To your success



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About the Author

Writer and coach, Mike writes about the struggles and triumphs of how to be a modern man. He writes to support these men, and the women that love them. Click here to learn more.

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