They talk about nice guy syndrome for men, is this possible for women? I started dating a girl who agrees with everything. I’m not sure if we get along perfectly, or she is just never completely honest? I’ve read lots of relationship material, they always talk about positive emotional tension such as being honestly and openly expressive in order to create true intimacy.
I’m just curious about others experience with something similar.
What we mean when we say that someone is “too nice” is usually that the person in question is being disingenuous or that they don’t want to share their opinion. They aren’t being nice because they’re nice people, they’re pandering. Something about the lack of genuine motives behind being nice really bothers people. It’s why people will very often choose to be friends with people who are maybe a little abrasive, rather than seeking out the friendships of someone who is so “nice” their whole personality is cloying. We want to feel like we’re talking to someone who adds to a conversation.
Speaking as a layman, I have to agree with what you said about being open, expressive, and honest and how that can have an impact on building a relationship. You know what I don’t remember about most people I’ve dated? The times we agreed 100% on an issue without discussion. You know what I can remember? Arguments, pedantic disagreements, debates, probing questions, and the conversations and relationship growth that came out of all those things. If you’re dating someone who adds nothing to a conversation beyond “I agree”, you’ve stopped having conversations and you’re just monologuing at that point. I’d rather be right 50% of the time and be with someone who will call me out on the other 50% of the time that I’m wrong, versus being “right” 100% of the time. I think that most people want a partner in a relationship, and part of being in a partnership is the feeling of being equals. Sure, people take on different roles in relationships, but ultimately most people want to be with someone who is a peer, not a lackey. I would bet that even the most “traditional” person believes in a certain amount of equality when they date, but maybe in an apples-to-oranges sort of way. Maybe you’re a woman who refuses to pay for a first date because you’re traditional, but you think that your prep work, company, and conversations make the exchange a fair trade.
Which is why “nice” guys and girls often have bad luck in dating. Being a “nice guy” or “nice girl” usually means that you take all the things you think people want in dating and try to give them that, but you leave out what makes a relationship dynamic. When people come together, as equals, and demand to be treated as such, that is what makes a relationship dynamic. The agreement is mostly wordless, but trust me, it’s there. What’s at the root of any disagreement or argument in a relationship? A desire to have your opinion on a subject heard, listened to, and respected. Sometimes the people in a relationship have differing opinions, hence the arguments. Even if you’re not arguing, but just expressing a feeling that matters to you, the fact that you and your partner both want to be heard is what makes a relationship more than just one person saying things and the other agreeing to the point where they’ve stopped offering opinions.
So yes, I do think that the typical “nice guy” behaviors can exist with women, and I’ve encountered it before. I actually think that it’s more common than people realize, it’s just that our perception of traditional roles for straight men and women put a spotlight on men who are agreeable to the point of annoyance. Despite how far attitudes around dating have come, we still have a certain amount of tradition and expectations around the roles of straight men and women in dating. A man is expected to be masculine, whatever that means, and a lot of that masculinity translates into taking charge. A woman is generally expected to defer to a certain extent. Here’s a test for any straight woman reading this who is fairly progressive: Of all the first dates you’ve been on, who did you expect to plan the first date, and who actually planned the date? Straight men, I have a question for you: How many times have you tried to plan a first date and when you ask for an opinion the response you get is “I don’t care, whatever you want to do” to any idea that you’ve thrown out? It isn’t as severe as saying “A woman’s role is in the kitchen” but we still conform, even if it’s in the least problematic ways, to a certain amount of gender roles and norms.
I guess my point in all this is that if you’re one of those people, who tries to be nice first, rather than honest first, nice about it second, you’ll always struggle to date. It’s perfectly fine to be nice and agreeable, but you should strive to be nice and agreeable up to the point where it doesn’t disagree with your sensibilities. If you hate something, don’t agree to do it, express your opinion and float an alternate plan. If someone you’re dating says something you disagree with, say so, just be polite about it. Giving someone everything you think they want, at all times, might work in the short-term, but it probably wont work in the long-term. The dynamic parts of a relationship are never going to happen if you’re just sort of coasting along in a relationship doing whatever your partner wants. There has to be some tension, whether emotional, or sexual, and it will always be lacking if your relationship is one where one person is constantly deferential to the other. If you’re dating someone who suffers from being too “nice” you might need to either ask them earnestly for their opinion, send them this article because they probably need to read this, or figure out if dating someone who will never give you their honest opinion is something you can do. I know where I stand, but it’s your love life. You don’t have to agree with me just to be polite.
Good Luck Out There.