Confidence, respect, and the “nice-guy” personality

Ok, so here is my own interpretation of the situation when it comes to likeability:

I’ve come to the conclusion that, whoever you are, you need to bring something to the table when it comes to social interaction, and in particular, the likeability factor. Simply being the nice guy, going through all the motions, and throwing yourself at the mercy of others, is not going to cut it.

What can you bring to the table? I’m not sure; I suppose it’s different for everyone. One thing I have noticed is that when I am in an insecure frame of mind, people don’t naturally warm up to me. They tend to have a standoffish attitude. Even if I make an effort to initiate conversation, I still get a luke-warm response.

On the other hand, if I’m feeling more confident, people just seem to treat me better. I can feel the respect and likeability factor skyrocket. Why is that? Is it just my imagination? Very unlikely, because I’ve seen it happen too many times.

In fact, I’m guilty of the same behavior myself. I find traits like confidence more appealing than insecurity. I admire people that are confident and sure of themselves. I will even overlook other less desirable traits (cocky, loud, aggressive) because I am mysteriously drawn to their personalities.

There is one thing I am sure of: Being a nice guy will never earn me respect or increase my likeability factor. I’m sure that some would disagree with this, and again, I’m speaking for myself only. So why am I so nice? Am I worried about disappointing others. Am I worried about losing the respect of people for having a different opinion? Why do I feel this need to have everyone like me, even if it means that I have to suppress much of my own personality in the process?

Here is a question I ask myself at times: Will a person respond more favorably to a compliment from a wishy-washy nice guy, or from a confident, secure individual? My guess is that the confident person will garner more credibility and respect. Their compliment simply carries more weight.

Will people be drawn to someone who confidently speaks their mind, or to someone that is afraid to speak at all? Personally, even though I am extremely shy, I am drawn to and admire those more confident individuals. Besides, the conversation is easier when there are no awkward pauses. – they just never seem to be at a loss for words.

Obviously, I’m not doing myself any favors by continuing on with my “nice-guy” charade. And it really is a charade. I’m not nearly that nice. It’s all a bit hypocritical.

As the saying goes: “Get real, man.”

5 thoughts on “Confidence, respect, and the “nice-guy” personality

  1. Rick

    It’s all about presentation. I too am stuck in the “nice guy” charade and have always been disappointed in the results. You’d think that after all this time, I’d learn to try harder to get rid my act, but I just can’t do it. It’s hard because that’s all I know. It has become a part of my personality. I think that the root of my problem is lack of self confidence. When a confident person shows gratitude or pays someone a compliment, you know it’s sincere. A confident person also knows how to communicate better by allowing give-and-take in a conversation.

    Confident people don’t need an “act”.

    A confident person has a lifetime of experiences to draw upon during a conversation. A person who is shy probably doesn’t have those experiences because they have spent their lives in their own little world. No kids, no mortgages, no vacations to exotic places, no good stories to tell. So, at the office watercooler, all the shy person can do is nod their head and pretend to understand what people are talking about.

    My brother has the opposite problem. Due to his own lack of confidence, he has a “used car salesman” personality. Although it works on some people, many can see right through it. It’s a big turn off because you never know when he is being sincere and honest.

    So I don’t think that the answer is to develop, or switch to a new “act”. The answer is to boost self-confidence by gaining the experiences that promote self-confidence. But of course, getting those experiences is the catch-22. You need self-confidence to get those experiences, but how do you do it when you are shy and lack self-confidence.

  2. Genna

    I know exactly what you’re talking about. I got the nice guy syndrome today. I was trying to talk to this girl that I’m getting a crush on and I had anxiety of course so I couldn’t think of anythng to say and whatever she said I would either agree with or respond with a kind of “look at the bright side” response, not really having my own opinion. Its so frustrating because I know I have just as good a personality as anyone else except I can’t show it. whenever I’m with someone else I always feel like a child or something, like people are better than me (and I know that its just because they have more confidence). the nice guy thing doesn’t work because its all one generic personality thats basically a defense mechanism when your anxiety comes.

  3. Serious

    The times I am most successful are the times I bring a little vitality to the table. Vitality trumps nice every time… and I’m pretty inconsistent at times…vacillating between motormouth and absolutely nothing (nothing!) to say. But I do love those moments in life when I feel ecstatically in-the-moment alive…a feeling I can only describe as ‘vital’. At those times, it doesn’t matter to me what happens, what’s discussed or whether it’s even remotely interesting (at long as it’s universally humourous!). Bring it on cause I’m loving life and everyone in it.

    Communication doesn’t come easy for anyone. Many people I work with have confessed as much, even people who don’t appear to have self-debilitating social phobias at all. I’m really good at keeping people at a distance – even people I genuinely like & admire. I agree that nice + confidence + a measure of consistency = better interaction with others, but vitality/humour is the social lubricant (not merely manners) that can really smooth the path more than anything I know.

    Everyone fluctuates in mood, humour, etc., but people with SA can be off the chart at times, which makes it a challenge for others to navigate, that’s all. We shouldn’t forget that our behaviours don’t occur in a vacuum. What we perceive as a lukewarm response could be the other person’s mental processing. People notice our walls, sometime they crash into them, and can’t help but internalize our behaviour toward them as a judgement of them. They just won’t obsess about it the way we do, but they’ll feel slightly confused and uncomfortable, a weird place to be. So, as much as we feel under the microscope, it’s important to remember that we impact others in our sphere as much as we’re acted upon. SA’s are nice to a fault, no worries there. So, let’s all forget about nice and follow our hearts/passions for a change. Don’t worry, we’ll still be the most pleasant people on the planet (just a little less boring!).

  4. Blank

    Im a boy and i hae the opposite problem im nice to some people and dont treat some people seriously. The less “cool” the more vonfidence and the less i take seriously. Boys dont treat me with respect in return so now i have to sotop treating them bad. As for girls the hot girls are harder to approach and my confidence is too high and all the people with good rep are nice and very confident. That is my goal…that is the way to go, but dont be too nice and be yourself at times appropriate but be confident. When i talk to really hot girls on a good day i have confidence and the results are great but i must improve my rep in order to avoid obstacles. Also lose yoyr enemies no matter how much you hate eachother say sorry.

  5. Mike Smith

    I just needed to add – don’t sacrifice your “nice guy” attributes for this, as they also tie into a very important part of your true personality. These days, too many people think they need to “get tough,” and look at the result in our society.

    Stand firm in your niceness, and be willing to take the time to build that self confidence. Accept that it is fluid – some days you’ll be more confident than others, and that’s ok. Sometimes people will “get you” and sometimes they won’t. But at least you’ll be who you are, and you’ll know what you’re based on. That’s something many of those surface level charismatic people don’t have, and even if they are capable of attracting people to them, they just as quickly lose them when there’s nothing behind the charisma.

    So take the time to do both – be a charismatic “nice guy” who can back up his/her self confidence, and accept that it varies day to day.

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