Nice guy

"Nice guy" is a term in the general public discourse and in popular culture for a male with certain personality traits and behaviour.

The "nice guys finish last" view

A common stereotype is that "nice guys finish last." The phrase is attributed to baseball manager Leo Durocher Leo was pretty quiet after the Cubs blew a big lead in 69 to the Mets in 1946; though Durocher was originally referring to the opposing team rather than to male/female relationship dynamics. The full quote is, "All nice guys. They'll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last."

The "nice guys finish last" view is that there is a discrepancy between women's stated preferences and their actual choices in men: in other words, women say that they want nice guys, but really go for men who are "jerks", or "bad boys" in the end. Desrochers (1995) claims that many "sensitive" men do not believe that women want "nice guys" due to their personal experiences. According to McDaniel (2005), popular culture and dating advice "suggest that women claim they want a 'nice guy' because they believe that that is what is expected of them when, in reality, they want the so-called 'challenge' that comes with dating a not-so-nice guy." Urbaniak & Killman (2003) write that "Although women often portray themselves as wanting to date kind, sensitive, and emotionally expressive men, the nice guy stereotype contends that, when actually presented with a choice between such a 'nice guy' and an unkind, insensitive, emotionally-closed, 'macho man' or 'jerk,' they invariably reject the nice guy in favor of his more macho competitor."

An opposing perspective is that women do want "nice guys," at least when they are looking for romantic relationships. Desrochers (1995) suggests that "it still seems popular to believe that women in contemporary America prefer men who are 'sensitive,' or have feminine personality traits." Women have differing opinions about whether "nice guys finish last" sexually or not. Herold & Milhausen (1999) found that 56% of 165 university women agreed with the statement: "You may have heard the expression, 'Nice guys finish last.' In terms of dating, and sex, do you think women are less likely to have sex with men who are 'nice' than men who are 'not nice'?" A third view is that while "nice guys" may not be as successful at attracting women sexually, they may be sought after by women looking for long-term romantic relationships. Herold & Milhausen (1999) claim that "while nice guys may not be competitive in terms of numbers of sexual partners, they tend to be more successful with respect to longer-term, committed relationships." However, an immediate conclusion which may be drawn from this is that the longer-term, committed relationships were only sought by the women once they had had their lives overtaken by circumstances of pregnancy, abuse or disease. Another study<> indicates that "for brief affairs, women tend to prefer a dominating, powerful and promiscuous man". Further evidence appears in a 2005 study in Prague - "Since women can always get a man for a one-night stand, they gain an advantage if they find partners for child-rearing" <

In 2003, Dr. Robert Glover published a book called, ''''. Glover, a psychotherapist in Bellevue, WA, based his book on experience with his clients and his own life. His book traces the society and family origins of the nice guy syndrome and contains, "Breaking Free" exercises to reclaim one's masculinity, get one's needs met, and break free of the nice guy syndrome. His work led to the creation of an online support group for men to support each other in breaking free (


Researchers are also interested in the "nice guy" phenomenon (McDaniel 2005). Empirical research exists on studying perceptions of the "nice guy" phenomenon (some of which is cited above), women's self-reports or behavior, and comparisons of men's personality traits with their sexual or romantic success. Studies that explicitly use the term "nice guy" also cite empirical research that doesn't use that term, but which addresses qualities that are often associated with "niceness." Results of research are mixed and inconsistent (Herold & Milhausen 1998). Herold & Millhausen conclude that "the answer to the question 'Do nice guys finish last?' is complicated in that it is influenced both by the measurement instruments used and by subject characteristics."

The "nice guy" construct

One difficulty in studying the "nice guy" phenomenon is due to the ambiguity of the "nice guy" construct. Participants in studies interpret "nice guy" to mean different things. In their qualitative analysis, Herold & Millhausen (1998) found that women associate different qualities with the "nice guy" label: "Some women offered flattering interpretations of the nice guy, characterizing him as committed, caring, and respectful of women. Others, however, emphasized more negative aspects, considering the nice guy to be boring, lacking confidence, and unattractive." The bad boys were also divided into two categories, "as either confident, attractive, sexy, and exciting or as manipulative, unfaithful, disrespectful of women, and interested only in sex." Researchers have operationalized the "nice guy" and "jerk" constructs in different ways, some of which are outlined below (McDaniel 2005).

Results of research

Various studies explicitly try to elucidate the success, or lack thereof, of "nice guys" with women (Jensen-Campbell et al. 1995, Herold & Millhausen 1998, Urbaniak 2003, McDaniel 2005).

These studies also cite other research on heterosexual attraction that doesn't mention the "nice guy" term. They interpret various studies on female attraction to various traits in men (e.g. dominance, agreeableness, physical attractiveness, wealth, etc.), and on the sexual success of men with different personality traits, to shed light on the "nice guy" phenomenon.

Appearance in popular culture

See also

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This article is based on "Nice guy" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: