No more Mister Nice Guy

No more Mister Nice Guy

This book offers practical guidance to kind-hearted individuals, empowering them to prioritize their own needs over those of others and break free from the frustrations associated with excessive kindness in their lives.

By Robert A. Glover, 2005, 257 pages

no more mister nice guy

Book review and summary of “No More Mister Nice Guy – the far too nice syndrome”:


The French version of the book, titled “Trop gentil pour être heureux” (Too Nice to be Happy), starts with a preface by Christophe André (*). In simple terms, the book aims to help people who are excessively kind and often put others before themselves. The preface tells a story about Martin, a former classmate of Christophe André, who, despite outward kindness, was secretly unhappy and tragically took his own life.

The book explores the commonality of internal unhappiness among seemingly polite and suave individuals. It reveals that projecting a perfect image externally often conceals inner struggles and frustrations, leading to an unhappy life. “No More Mister Nice Guy” explains who these “nice guys” are and why their behavior can result in unhappiness. It also provides practical solutions for dealing with this syndrome.

The author believes the book can act as a kind of shock therapy for those suffering from this disorder. If read at the right moment, it has the potential to bring about life-changing insights. The recommendation is extended to those who may not personally relate but likely know someone with this condition. Reading the book can foster understanding and may even be a way to support or share it with those who could benefit.

*Christophe André is a French psychiatrist and psychotherapist known for his books, including “Imperfect, Free and Happy” and “Meditate Day after Day: 25 Lessons to Live in Full Consciousness.”

Chapter 1: the good guy syndrome

Who are the good guys?

These guys really enjoy making others happy and dislike conflicts. They’re so kind that they often prioritize other people’s needs over their own just to feel helpful. Deep down, they hope for something in return, but often end up feeling disappointed because their kindness doesn’t get the response they expected.

But, the definition is clearer than that. Here are some signs to figure out if you (or someone you know) might have this condition:

  • You give a lot, expecting others to love you for it.
  • You prefer taking care of others’ problems over your own.
  • You constantly seek support and approval from others.
  • You avoid big arguments and confrontation.
  • You believe you must hide any shortcomings or faults.
  • You strive to do things the right way.
  • You hide your true feelings and desires.
  • You might want to be different from your father.
  • You feel more at ease with women than men, but your love life isn’t great.
  • You don’t prioritize your own needs.
  • Your partner is the main focus of your attention.

Many kind-hearted people share these traits. At first, being too kind may not seem like a problem, but if you look closer, the situation might not be so positive.

These traits are also linked to quite a few negative qualities:

  • Nice guys can be deceptive because they hide their true feelings and say what others want to hear.
  • They keep things secret and cover up their mistakes, always fearing that someone will find out.
  • They compartmentalize their lives, keeping different aspects separate.
  • They can be manipulative, not directly stating what they want but coaxing people to get it.
  • They seek control over everything and everyone, often giving to get something in return, even if they don’t realize it.
  • Gender issues are common among them.
  • They tend to have limited success in both personal and business aspects of life.
  • Frustration builds up in them until it eventually causes them to explode.

These traits might make it seem like genuinely good guys are hard to find. However, many people exhibit or have exhibited these behaviors. Since reading this book, I’ve been able to recognize these patterns in my past actions, aligning with the author’s analysis. Nice guys are everywhere — they might be your friends, spouses, colleagues, or neighbors. This condition is more common than you might think, and reading this book could be the first step for them to understand and address their problem.

Chapter 2: How do you become a good guy?

The distorted world of the good guy

Nice guys tend to follow some unnecessary ways of thinking (here, let’s call it their view of the world).

This makes them go down a silly path that doesn’t lead anywhere. Instead of changing their actions, they stick to the same path, trying to be even nicer and give more, which only makes things worse.

An example?

A nice guy believes he can fix a tricky friendship with a moody friend by letting them do whatever they want, even if it means he ends up worse off. If it doesn’t work, he sticks to the same plan, thinking it’s the right way to make the friendship stable.

According to Robert Glover in No More Mister Nice Guy, the reason people become nice guys often stems from a mistaken idea they formed in childhood, usually before age 5. Many of the philosophies shaping our lives are developed during this time. Nice guys grow up thinking they always have to be kind to be loved, often influenced by a dysfunctional parental role model or a misunderstanding of how society works.

This usually connects to two things: the fear of being abandoned (believing that if they’re not nice, their parents will abandon them or not give them attention) and the belief that it’s risky to be their true selves (resulting in hiding their hopes and desires).

Even seemingly happy childhoods can lead to the development of nice guy traits. When you look into it, a common factor for many children is feeling loved only under certain conditions — like being good at school, being nice to family members, or not causing problems for anyone.


Lack of parental guidance?

This part of the book “No More Mister Nice Guy” can be summed up briefly without going into too much detail: it’s not trying to be unfair to a particular gender, but rather explains why there are more nice guys and why they act the way they do due to societal changes. To me, this section lacked strong conviction because it was more of a theory than something proven with evidence. However, it still has its merits, whether you agree with the author’s theory or not.

According to the author, nice guys often lacked proper guidance, with absent or problematic fathers. Over the past few decades, society has tried to make gender roles more similar, affecting how we define masculinity. In many cases, women become the primary guides for young boys to become men.

As a result, many nice guys end up having a more feminine view of masculinity. This is seen in adulthood when they’re more likely to be friends with women than romantic partners. Despite women praising these men as perfect, they often choose not to be in a romantic relationship with them.

When women make such remarks, it only reinforces the nice guy’s belief that staying on the same path will eventually lead to the perfect situation. He tries even harder to be nicer, but he’s too blinded to see that he’s still on the wrong track.

Chapter 3: Learn to enjoy yourself

In his quest for love, a nice guy will go to great lengths to please different people: with smart friends, he’ll share clever thoughts; for his mother, he’ll be the perfect son; with his father, it’s all about sports; at work, he’ll be cool and use casual language. He’s like a chameleon, adapting to each situation. However, deep down, he fears that people won’t like him if he shows his true self. The problem is, he’s not even sure who he really is because he thinks he has to be everything to everyone all the time.

This constant need for approval can be overwhelming, making overly kind people feel sad and lonely. Sometimes, nice guys try to appear perfect on the outside, whether through material possessions like a fancy car and stylish clothes or showcasing their loved ones, particularly seeking approval from women.

The trouble arises when they believe they need women’s approval, allowing their partners to set the tone of the relationship and endure their moods, leading to both parties being unhappy. A nice guy struggles to admit his mistakes because he feels too ashamed to say, “I messed up, and I’ll fix it!”

On the contrary, a nice guy will go to great lengths to keep it a secret:

  • Hide the evidence
  • Tell lies
  • Manipulate records
  • Make corrections
  • Defend, explain, apologize, and reason
  • Twist things around
  • Create a barrier between himself and others

To recover from this potentially long-lasting condition, nice guys need to change their way of thinking. Instead of constantly seeking approval from others, they should focus on making themselves happy first. Learning to enjoy one’s own company is the first step in this journey.

Learn to enjoy yourself, the first step to recovery for good guys

This is challenging because openly expressing your desires and how you plan to achieve them can be difficult. To overcome this, they need to learn to be true to themselves rather than conform to perceived expectations. Robert Glover suggests making a list of behaviors aimed at gaining approval and then either stopping those behaviors for a week or exaggerating them to understand how unnatural they are.

If nice guys assert themselves and spend time alone, it’s a good strategy to break free from the role of the nice guy. It gives them the opportunity to learn to manage their fear of loneliness or rejection. They must acknowledge that making mistakes is normal, just like everyone else, and it doesn’t make them bad or unlovable. Making mistakes won’t prevent them from receiving love from others.

No More Mister Nice Guy: Chapter 4: learn to put their needs first

It might sound strange, but nice guys struggle to prioritize their own needs. They put their friends’ problems, worries about their great aunt, or even their colleagues’ concerns ahead of their own. This puts them in a peculiar situation where they invest a lot of energy in solving other people’s problems but have no time, energy, or desire to address their own issues.

Even though it might seem confusing, I went through this myself for years, and I can confirm that the book accurately describes this reality. Consistently putting others’ needs before my own led to significant frustration in the long run.

It’s not wrong to have needs and dreams or to work towards achieving them. This is challenging for nice guys to understand, but it’s a crucial part of the process. They tend to avoid expressing what they want and often do things that make them unhappy.

For example, many men claim to be very interested in sex, but their approach rarely helps them achieve the results they say they want.

As a result, there’s a lot of frustration

Nice guys often make secret deals with family and friends, like, “I do things for you, and in return, you do something for me. We’ll both act like we know nothing about the deal.”

However, this kind of operation, based on unspoken agreements and emotional pressure, usually ends badly over time. A nice guy typically only says “I love you” to hear it in return. Even though he doesn’t realize it, his actions are often situational, unclear, and manipulative. He treats others the way he wishes to be treated, taking care of them because he hopes they’ll do the same for him.

It’s not genuine kindness; it always follows a similar pattern:

  • He gives to others, hoping to get something back.
  • When he doesn’t get as much in return, he feels frustrated and resents his family and friends.
  • Frustration peaks, leading to anger, grumpiness, arguments, withdrawal, or even aggression.
  • After this cycle ends, he starts a new one following the same path.

Breaking this cycle involves understanding and accepting his own needs, which can be challenging because he sees it as selfish to prioritize himself over others. It’s crucial for him to realize that having needs is a normal part of being human, and there’s no shame in it. An exercise suggested by Robert Glover in No More Mister Nice Guy is to prioritize one’s own needs for a week (after informing loved ones), jot down feelings, and ask for feedback on the experiment.

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Chapter 5: Rediscover your inner strength

As told in No More Mister Nice Guy, Robert Glover used to be a nice guy, and he figured out that nice guys are what he calls “wimps.” They often think of themselves as victims, blaming other people for all their problems. The good news is that it’s possible to learn not to be a wimp.

No one calls me a wimp! Marty McFly

All you really need to do is find your inner strength and use it. This means stepping out of your comfort zone and having the confidence to face challenges. Letting go is crucial to overcoming this condition, giving nice guys the chance to see that life doesn’t have to be full of arguments and stress; it can be a playground or a laboratory for them to play, experiment, and enjoy.

Glover suggests getting a grip on real life by not putting others on a pedestal, a common mistake made by overly kind people. Accept that everyone, including yourself, is imperfect. Another way to assert yourself is by setting boundaries for others.

How you express how you feel

Understanding how you express your feelings is essential for healing. Nice guys often dislike situations involving emotions, whether their own or others’, because they feel they lose control. A simple way to improve is to reflect on their own feelings instead of focusing on others. To find a cure, nice guys must confront and deal with their demons rather than burying them deep in their hearts.

As mentioned earlier, nice guys often deceive others in certain situations by not telling the whole truth or withholding embarrassing facts. It’s crucial for them to learn to tell the truth and accept mistakes instead of hiding them. By putting all this into practice, they can start living life as it is, not the strange world they’ve imagined until now.

Chapter 6: Reconnect with masculinity

Nice guys, lacking positive male role models while growing up, usually don’t hang out with other men much. They struggle to form close friendships with men and often find them less interesting than women. This creates a disconnection with their own masculinity, leaving them unsure of their place in life. They consistently seek approval from women, often putting their mothers on a pedestal, leading to relationship challenges later on.

You’ll discover in No More Mister Nice Guy that according to Robert Glover, a nice guy looking to recover needs to reconnect with men, become stronger, find positive male role models, and reflect on the relationship he had with his father. Considering these aspects helps restore a balanced life and prevents others from taking advantage of him.

No More Mister Nice Guy: Chapter 7: Find love

The fear of feeling ashamed stops nice guys from fully experiencing love. Being intimate makes them feel vulnerable, and the idea of their partner seeing and judging their flaws and weaknesses is seen as a threat. Nice guys often end up in relationships with unsettled women, shifting the focus onto her problems rather than his own. Balancing the fear of vulnerability, loneliness, and abandonment becomes a constant struggle, leading to significant issues:

  • The nice guy might get overly involved in the relationship, neglecting his own life.
  • Alternatively, he might not provide emotional support to his partner, while everyone else thinks he’s the perfect companion.

In both cases, the nice guy either dominates the relationship, trying to fill the void he feels, or adopts a strategy to spend as little private time as possible with his partner. Both approaches hinder true intimacy, which is detrimental to both partners. While most people adapt and change, the nice guy tends to stay on the same path, putting in more and more effort to reach a destination that doesn’t actually exist.

To build healthy relationships, nice guys should:

  • Be content with who they are and what they have.
  • Prioritize their own needs.
  • Share and confide in trusted people.
  • Avoid secretive and covert deals or relationships.
  • Fulfill their needs and desires.
  • Learn to let go.
  • Be realistic about how others perceive them.
  • Improve integrity, truth, and honesty.
  • Set boundaries effectively.
  • Integrate a level of masculinity into their lives.

Additionally, the author suggests some strategies for finding love and fostering healthier relationships:

  • Focus on the relationship rather than just the partner.
  • Stop behaviors that annoy people.
  • Try something different.

In No More Mister Nice Guy, Robert Glover uses an analogy involving humans and pets. Just like rewarding a dog for undesirable behavior encourages it to continue, if nice guys don’t set boundaries, they inadvertently do the same. When their partners make mistakes, instead of reprimanding them, they often flatter and give them attention. Each time they do this, their partners interpret it as, “The worse I behave, the nicer they’ll be.” In other words, relationship problems are often caused by the nice guys themselves.

Chapter 8: Good guys sex life

It’s often a big problem. When nice guys don’t express their feelings, it leads to:

  • Lots of frustration.
  • Pretending to be satisfied with their sex life when they’re not.
  • Sexual issues like impotence or premature ejaculation.
  • Having no sex life at all.
  • On the other hand, having an obsessive sexuality, like being addicted to pornography or compulsive masturbation.

Interestingly, nice guys often make subconscious decisions to avoid a sexual relationship that makes them feel uncomfortable. However, they still feel frustrated about not having a healthy sex life. Yet, they also have a strong resentment about settling for a mediocre sex life. By focusing on their partner’s sexual pleasure instead of their own needs, there’s a sexual disconnect between what they desire and what they actually experience.

No More Mister Nice Guy: Chapter 9: Live a good life

You are the only one who can meet your own needs. Nice guys need to grasp this idea to turn their lives around. Finally, in No More Mister Nice Guy, Robert Glover encourages them to learn how to lead a fulfilling life. It’s not just their relationships that hold them back; they face obstacles at work, in pursuing their dreams and goals. Fear, the constant need to be perfect, and self-sabotage are daily challenges.

If you want to get better, you must be ready to give it your all. This involves confronting your fears. Typically, nice guys accept their societal roles rather than challenging them, thinking it’s not their responsibility to create a fun, productive, and enjoyable lifestyle for themselves.

Acknowledging your vulnerability and mistakes is a crucial step in overcoming this condition. Focus groups have significantly improved the lives of many former nice guys. They also need to recognize their self-destructive attitudes and change related philosophies to develop a more balanced view of life.

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Book critique of “No more Mister Nice Guy”:

In my view, No More Mister Nice Guy is incredibly helpful for men dealing with this condition. Robert Glover, a former nice guy, turned his life around and has since assisted many others who struggle with excessive kindness.

Unfortunately, nice guys often endure their challenges silently, not realizing the inner struggles they face. They form a large group of individuals whose issues often go unnoticed.

Robert Glover’s No More Mister Nice Guy serves as an excellent guide on how to address the problem, understand associated behaviors, and find practical solutions. I’ll confess: I used to be a nice guy, and admitting that is not easy.

Unhealthy Patterns

Reading “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” I recognized many unhealthy scenarios and futile actions I had put myself and others through in the past. My only regret is discovering it after finding my own way, sometimes at a painful cost, to many suggestions in the book.

While it didn’t hold many surprises for me, it confirmed that my thoughts were correct and helped me understand my past behavior and avoid repeating mistakes. For someone currently struggling with being a “nice guy,” the book could be a revelation and life-changing.

Since reading the book and confirming my condition, I’ve noticed many others dealing with it. It’s a significant minority, not a rare occurrence.

I hope this article sparks your interest in the subject and proves helpful if you are a nice guy or know someone who is. Personally, I revisit the book every two years to remind myself of who I am and ensure I don’t repeat past mistakes.

No More Mister Nice Guy: Conclusion

No More Mr. Nice Guy has its strengths, serving as a revelation for those unaware of the condition and offering valuable insights into the behaviors of overly kind individuals. It challenges readers to question themselves and includes practical exercises for behavioral improvement. The book has the potential to genuinely and tangibly change the daily lives of “good guys” and those around them.

On the flip side, there are weaknesses in No More Mr. Nice Guy. The term “good guy” lacks the depth of meaning compared to the English version “mister nice guy,” potentially deterring some interested readers. The psychological arguments presented sometimes lack conviction due to insufficient solid evidence. Testimonies and the text contain some repetition. Moreover, the book is exclusively targeted at men, although women living with a “good guy” might still find it beneficial.

has its strengths, serving as a revelation for those unaware of the condition and offering valuable insights into the behaviors of overly kind individuals. It challenges readers to question themselves and includes practical exercises for behavioral improvement. The book has the potential to genuinely and tangibly change the daily lives of “good guys” and those around them.

On the flip side, there are weaknesses in No More Mr. Nice Guy. The term “good guy” lacks the depth of meaning compared to the English version “mister nice guy,” potentially deterring some interested readers. The psychological arguments presented sometimes lack conviction due to insufficient solid evidence. Testimonies and the text contain some repetition. Moreover, the book is exclusively targeted at men, although women living with a “good guy” might still find it beneficial.


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