Nice Guys

Back before I got married, I used to joke that I had NGB syndrome – “You’re a Really Nice Guy, but….” It’s funny, but it really isn’t if you have it.

I just finished reading a book called No More Christian Nice Guy by Paul Coughlin. Here’s a description from his website:

“His book, No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice—Instead of Good—Hurts Men, Women, and Children, exposes three common forces that encourage passivity in men:

  1. A cultural prejudice that shames men for being men.
  2. A dangerous caricature of Jesus as passive, weak and robotic.
  3. Childhood difficulties that create a passive mindset that are brought into adult life, often undetected.

These forces conspire against men and ruin their lives. The psychology of passivity leads to a life controlled by fear, which shuts down our emotions. When your life is controlled by fear, you can forget about obtaining a purpose-driven life and the abundant life Jesus has to offer. Fear saps you of emotional energy and power, the very qualities necessary for romantic love, successful careers, healthy parenting, and loving God and your neighbor as yourself.

“Nice guys,” he says, are often secretive and manipulative in order to avoid conflict. Christian nice guys are pleasant, not because they care about others, but because they want others to leave them alone. Nice guys are often fearful and selfish, he says.

Our society mistakes niceness for goodness and kindness, and this is a big mistake, he says. Think of the nice people in your life? Do they do anything meaningful? They are far more interested in avoiding conflict than actually being good and helpful to others. And such people aren’t honest. When life has them down, they hide behind a deceptive smile.

No where in this book will men find an excuse to be a jerk, he says.”

I highly recommend this book – be warned that it’s targeted at a Christian audience, of course. There’s a secular book (written previously) by Paul Glover. It’s actually referenced in this book. Anyway, I learned from it – I tend to try to be nice all the time and bury hurts inside, and that causes me to be irritable at times. I need to be more assertive, not aggressive or passive. So we’ll see how it goes!

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One thought on “Nice Guys

  1. I’d recommend a book called “Wild At Heart” that kind of goes along those same lines. Head on over to your nearest Christian bookstore and read the back cover – it spoke to me enough that I bought it on the spot.

    In a shameless act of self-promotion, I cover Nice Guy Syndrome in one of my better blog entries. You can see it at http://diamond-pick.livejournal.com/25182.html

    It’s pretty secular, but heavily grounded in reality.

    BTW – I found your entry by following a link in your sister’s blog. I’m an old friend of hers from college – and an engineer/poet myself.

    Take care, man!

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