Summary of No More Mr Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover

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  • Post last modified:December 11, 2023

Summary of No More Mr. Nice Guy Written by Dr. Robert Glover


Five decades of dramatic social change and monumental shifts in the traditional family have created a breed of men who have been conditioned to seek the approval of others. These men are called Nice Guys.

These guys try to do their best to please others, particularly women, and believe that they’ll be loved and respected as a result.

But they aren’t. So they grow frustrated and try to be even nicer, which works even less.

This book will teach you to solve your Nice Guy Syndrome and get what you want out of life.

Chapter One: The Nice Guy Syndrome

Nice Guys believe that if they are “good” and do everything “right,” they will be loved, get their needs met, and have a problem-free life.

They desperately want to be liked, so they bend themselves to the will of other people. As a result, no one respects them.

They try to eliminate certain things about themselves to become what others want them to be. But it’s never enough.

Nice guys are:

  • Givers: they like to help other people and believe generosity is a very important trait.
  • Fixers: they will fix any problem anyone will bring them.
  • Approval-seekers: everything they do is aimed at finding approval.
  • Conflict-avoidants
  • Believe they must hide their flaws or people will abandon them otherwise.
  • Repress their feelings: they tend to think instead of feel.
  • Have father issues, and try to be different than them
  • Struggle to get their needs met primarily: they believe it’s bad to put themselves first.

What’s wrong with this?

Nice Guys’ belief system is inherently wrong. Furthermore, a Nice Guy isn’t a nice guy. He’s faking to be nice to get something in return.

Nice guys are:

  • Dishonest: they make themselves according to how they think others want them to be.
  • Secretive: they hide what they’re afraid others may find out about them
  • Compartmentalizing: they change definitions of concepts to hold themselves in high regard (kissing isn’t cheating)
  • Manipulative: since they’re afraid to ask for what they want, they manipulate others into giving it to them.
  • They give to get: when they give something, they always expect something in exchange.
  • Passive-aggressive
  • Full of rage: years of unmet needs create boiling rage which they deny because it is often repressed.
  • Addicted: they’re so stressed that they easily fall into addictions
  • They can’t set boundaries: they can’t say “no”.
  • They’re often lonely: they desperately want to be loved, but their behavior makes it really hard.
  • Attracted to people and situations that need fixing
  • Have problems in their intimate relationships
    • They’re bad listeners because they’re busy thinking about how they can get the approval of others.
    • Their fear of conflict makes it difficult to sort out issues.
  • Have problems with sex
  • Fail to live up to their potential

Recovery from the Nice Guy syndrome isn’t about becoming a jerk. It’s about integrating all of the aspects of your personality within yourself (Aure’s Note: it’s about integrating your shadow).

An integrated man is able to embrace everything that makes him unique: his power, his assertiveness, his courage, and his passion as well as his imperfections, his mistakes, and his dark side.

An integrated male:

  • Likes himself as he is
  • Takes responsibility for getting his own needs met
  • Is comfortable with his masculinity and sexuality
  • He has integrity. He does what is right, not what is expedient.
  • Leads He is willing to provide for and protect those he cares about.
  • He is clear, direct, and expressive of his feelings.
  • He can be nurturing and giving without caretaking or problem-solving.
  • He knows how to set boundaries and is not afraid to work through conflict.

An integrated male accepts that he is perfectly imperfect.

Breaking free from the Nice Guy Syndrome demands embracing a totally different way of viewing oneself and the world and a complete change in one’s personal paradigm.

A paradigm is a roadmap we use to orientate ourselves in life. Information that contradicts the paradigm is not “registered”. If the paradigm does not suit reality, then we may be led astray.

The Nice Guy’s paradigm is:

If I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life.

This paradigm is often developed in childhood.

Even when this paradigm doesn’t work, Nice Guys try harder.

They find it really hard to try something different instead. Yet, it’s not so complicated:

  • Accept yourself how you are.
  • Use mistakes as valuable learning tools
  • Stop seeking the approval of others
  • Experience loving and intimate relationships
  • Make your needs a priority
  • Find people who can help you make your needs a priority
  • Give for the sake of giving
  • Face your fears
  • Develop integrity and honesty
  • Set boundaries
  • Build meaningful relationships with men
  • Create better relationships with women
  • Experience and express your feelings
  • Deal with problems directly
  • Develop an intimate and satisfying sexual relationship
  • Find peace with the changing complexities of life

The following “Breaking Free activity” will help you get rid of your Nice Guy Syndrome.

Breaking Free Activity 1: find a therapist, a group therapy, or someone that can help you in your break up of the Nice Guy Syndrome.

Breaking free from the Nice Guy Syndrome involves a radical change in perspective and behavior. Trying to do it halfway will only result in needless suffering. Second, breaking free from the Nice Guy Syndrome will significantly affect your personal relationships.

Breaking Free: Activity 2

Why would it seem rational for a person to try to eliminate or hide certain things about himself and try to become something different unless there was a compelling reason for him to do so?
Why do people try to change who they really are?
Take some time and think about this. Is this your behavior or the behavior of someone you know?

Chapter Two: The Making Of A Nice Guy

So…why would people try to change who they are? Because it does not feel safe or acceptable for a boy or man to be just who he is.

All Nice Guys in their childhood received a message from their families that meant that it wasn’t desirable or acceptable to be how they were, and that they had to be “good” in order to be loved.

The Nice Guy Syndrome is usually formed between 0 and 5 years old, years during which the child is highly influenceable.

We need to understand two things about children.

  1. When they’re born, they’re helpless. If their parents abandon them, they die. As a result, their greatest fear is abandonment.
  2. They are ego-centered. They believe that the world revolves around them, and that everything that happens, happens because of them.

-> When a child experiences being abandoned, he thinks this is his fault.


  • He is hungry and no one feeds him
  • He cries and no one holds him
  • He is lonely and no one pays attention to him
  • A parent gets angry at him
  • A parent neglects him
  • A parent puts unrealistic expectations on him
  • A parent uses him to gratify his or her own needs
  • A parent shames him
  • A parent hits him
  • A parent doesn’t want him
  • A parent leaves him and doesn’t come back in a timely manner

-> Every child has experienced abandonment.

Children believe then that they’re abandoned because of who they are, which creates toxic shame (the belief that they are inherently bad, or unlovable).

So they develop survival mechanisms to help them do three things:

  1. Try to cope with the emotional and physical distress of being abandoned
  2. Try to prevent similar events from happening again
  3. Try to hide their internalized toxic shame (or perceived badness) from themselves and others

These survival mechanisms can be behaving badly to attract attention due to loneliness, or behaving “in a good way”, etc.

Whatever type of family they had, all Nice Guys develop the inherent belief that they’re not enough as they are. This led them to find ways to get approval from others.

Regardless of whether they were abused, abandoned, neglected, shamed, used, smothered, controlled, or objectified, all Nice Guys internalized the same belief—it was a bad or dangerous thing for them to be just who they were.

The child concluded that there must be something wrong with him because his parents did x, y, or z.


  • When I cry, no one comes.
  • Mom gets that look on her face.
  • Dad left and didn’t come back.
  • Mom has to do everything for me.
  • Dad yells at me.
  • I’m not perfect like Mom and Dad.
  • I can’t make Mom happy.

These led the boy to conclude: I am only good enough when:

  • I’m different from Dad.
  • Mom needs me.
  • I don’t make any mistakes.
  • I make good grades.
  • I’m happy.
  • I’m not like my brother.
  • I don’t cause anyone any problems.
  • I make Mom and Dad happy.

So, Nice Guys develop survival mechanisms to help them do these three things:

  1. Try to cope with the pain and terror caused by their abandonment experiences.
  2. Try to prevent these abandonment experiences from occurring again.
  3. Try to hide their toxic shame from themselves and others.

These are transformed into the following paradigm:

If I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be then I will be loved, get my needs met, and have a problem-free life.

There are two types of Nice Guys:

  1. “I am so bad” Nice Guy: these Nice Guys believe they are super bad, and that everyone can see it.
  2. “I am so good” Nice Guy:

This man handles his toxic shame by repressing his core belief about his worthlessness. He believes he is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. If he is conscious of any perceived flaws, they are seen as minor and easily correctable. As a child, he was never a moment’s problem. As a teen, he did everything right. As an adult, he follows all the rules to a “T.” This Nice Guy has tucked his core toxic shame into a handy, air-tight compartment deep in his unconscious mind. He masks his toxic shame with a belief that all the good things he does make him a good person.

Even though the result is the opposite, the root is the same: all Nice Guys believe they’re not ok as they are.

Breaking Free: Activity 3: write on a piece of paper the experiences that made you feel that it wasn’t ok to be who you were. Share these experiences with a safe person. As you do, note your feelings. Do you feel sad, angry, lonely, numb? Share this information as well. Name these experiences, don’t blame.

On the Origins of Nice Guys

While there probably have always been Nice Guys, the societal shifts of the recent decades have created as many as there have ever been.

The 20th century saw the following changes.

  • The transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy. Boys used to work in the fields with their fathers, uncles, and brothers where they had role models of what it was like to be a man. Fathers have almost no contacts anymore.
  • The movement of families from rural areas to urban areas
  • The absence of fathers from the home
  • The increase in divorce, single-parent homes, and homes headed by women
  • An educational system dominated by women: school now acts as basing boys’ basic training on how to please women.
  • Women’s liberation and feminism: many women raised their daughters not to need a man, and they raised their sons in a different way than their fathers. Feminism made lots of negative generalizations about men.
  • The Vietnam War
  • The sexual revolution

These events created three dynamics:

  1. Boys were separated from their fathers and other significant male role models. They became confused and ignorant regarding what it is to be a man. Most Nice Guys describe their fathers in a negative way.
  2. Boys were left to be raised by women. But women don’t know how to raise boys. Boys started to seek the approval of women.
  3. Radical feminism implied that men were bad and/or unnecessary. Many men thought they had to hide their masculinity to be liked by women.

Nice Guys were obviously incapable of raising boys, so the Nice Guy Syndrome continues to this day.

Nice Guys have the particularity to keep on doing what doesn’t work. Eg:

  • Seeking the approval of others
  • Trying to hide their perceived flaws and mistakes
  • Putting other people’s needs and wants before their own
  • Sacrificing their personal power and playing the role of a victim
  • Disassociating themselves from other men and their own masculine energy
  • Co-creating relationships that are less than satisfying
  • Creating situations in which they do not have very much good sex
  • Failing to live up to their full potential

The next chapters will deal with curing your Nice Guy Syndrome.

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