5 Differences Between A Nice Guy And A Doormat

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Last night I was an interview guest on Indie Chick Radio (Click and listen to episode 2 to hear it) discussing the appeal of “bad boys” and why women are typically attracted to them over the “nice guy.” We had a great conversation between ourselves as well as with callers who participated in the show.

Predictably, if we have to talk about why women like bad boys, we also need to talk about why they don’t like nice guys. But I don’t think this is the case and I think that often times we have the misconception that a man has to be one, or the other.

In fact as I write this I’m watching a movie called A Case Of You, about a guy who picks up every hobby the woman he’s interested in is interested in, just to win her affection – blurring his own identity in the process.

Here are five differences between being a genuinely good guy, and being a doormat.

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A nice guy will show his intentions (respectfully).

I don’t want to lay all of the cards on the table in the first point here, but this is a big issue. I know this because I used to be this guy, and now I speak to many of them. Often times guys are a little nervous about making a move or stating intent towards someone they care about because…what happens if she says no? Do we lose our friendship? Is it awkward now? And then…they just never do it.

When we perpetuate this bad habit but remain friends with the woman we are interested in, she will eventually see us as a platonic pillar in her life who she can come to with guy problems and spend nights on the couch with eating ice cream and drinking wine. Now, this might not seem all that bad – but when you are the man in this situation and have a burning desire to be intimate with this woman, it is torture.

A nice guy can still be nice but make his intentions known. Whether it is small compliments to gauge how she reacts, putting your hand on her arm to see if she mirrors your body language, or just stepping up to ask her on a date – women are not mind readers any more than you are. You’ve gotta risk it to get the biscuit, my friend – and you don’t have to be an outlaw rebel biker in order to do it. Nice guys get girlfriends, too.

Have the courage to step up, and if she turns you down, at least you know where you stand with her before you become too emotionally invested.

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A nice guy still has boundaries.

This was a great point made by The Indie Chicks during the interview. Men and women have an inherent tendency to push whatever limits they can until they reach a wall. If you don’t believe this, simply observe a child whose parents don’t intervene with their running rampant. It will only continue and get worse.

The same goes for many people as adults. If you don’t set boundaries for yourself and become her personal Gumby toy, then not only will you be constantly self-sacrificing, but she will never gain enough respect for you as a man to see you as a potential romantic partner. Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just being honest here. That leads us into our next point…

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A nice guy has respect for himself.

This is one of the biggest perception differences between a nice guy and a doormat. If you allow someone to consistently walk all over you, never present your own opinion, never disagree with them, never make new suggestions for fear of escaping a comfort zone – then whether it is true or not, it will appear as though you don’t respect yourself.

A nice guy understands that he has his own identity and his own life. His own interests and unique suggestions he can bring to the table in a relationship. He has enough respect to say no and set those boundaries we talked about. A guy who is a “doormat” will (falsely) believe that if he brings any of this up it will make waves and she will get annoyed or mad, so he just lives his life smiling and nodding.

Smiling and nodding. Smiling and nodding…Stop it!

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A nice guy has confidence in himself.

(Notice I didn’t say arrogance). The reason why some win and some lose at the dating game, is often tied to just that – confidence. It takes confidence to approach a woman in the first place. Confidence to make your move. Confidence to convey your feelings to her. Confidence to be secure enough with yourself to be romantic without feeling like you’re sacrificing your masculinity. A guy who would be considered a “doormat” rarely, if at all, displays this confidence.

Confidence to be himself.

Your confidence will be your foundation for success in relationships, and in life. Work on this first – and then move forward.

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A nice guy isn’t overbearing.

I fully believe that a man should put in consistent effort to make the woman in his life feel special, beautiful, and loved.

But there’s a difference between showing someone your affection and smothering them until they feel socially suffocated. She should be a big part of your life, but not the entire thing.

If you follow her around like a puppy dog or insist on spending every single second together, she will feel like you’re emotionally crushing her and will need to get out. Fast.

Give her some space and some time to miss you. Plus – she wants you to have your own dreams, passions, and ambitions – not just hitch yourself to hers.

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We can work to change the misconception that nice guys finish last, because they don’t. Men who sacrifice their own identity for the approval of someone else, finish last. Men who get so caught up in someone else or a relationship that they lose sight of themselves and who they are, finish last.

You don’t have to be a bad boy OR a nice guy, you can be both. Challenge her, seduce her, empower her. But also love, honor, and value her.

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23 Comments

  1. Little Miss Menopause on June 25, 2014 at 11:22 am

    This was great and the Gumby mention was a spot-on brilliant reference! These “toys” come in both genders however. The female version is called The People Pleaser. When both kinds of Gumbys get married, (not to each other of course!) often times they finally wake up/come into their own or finally feel secure enough to drop the facade — and that’s where the real problems begin! “You’ve changed!” wails the spouse. In reality, they are finally just embracing who they really are and acknowledging they have needs/desires of their own. But more often then not, divorce is brewing.

  2. Big fan on June 25, 2014 at 11:45 am

    This is very true, I have always found nice guys to be attractive but if they are too afraid to tell me they are interested then I assume that I am just a friend to them.

    “You don’t have to be a bad boy OR a nice guy, you can be both. Challenge her, seduce her, empower her. But also love, honor, and value her.” I love this quote!

  3. KiKi Cutey on June 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I am in love with every word of this post. Very eloquent.

    My guy friends and I have this ceaseless conversation on the “war” on nice guys and where the lines are drawn.

  4. MarkP on June 25, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Here’s a big one that was left off the list: A nice guy is nice to EVERYBODY, not just women he wants to date or have sex with.

    A true nice guy incorporates kindness, respect, and caring into all his interactions because it’s a genuine part of his personality. His niceness doesn’t stem from a sense of neediness nor is it just a ruse to attract a women for his own romantic or sexual interest or serve any other ulterior motive. A nice guy is nice because that’s just who he is, and many people (not just women!) can tell the difference.

    • James Michael Sama on June 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Great point Mark, but I’d submit that the “doormat” type would be nice for this reason as well. In my article 10 signs he’s secretly a jerk I discuss this exact point because I agree with you 100%. I suppose I’d just be hesitant to mark kindness to all as a clear difference between a nice guy and a doormat, because it’s a quality they can both possess.

      • KP on June 25, 2014 at 11:18 pm

        Although, by not making the difference between being genuinely nice to be nice and being nice because you have intention of dating/sex, you are enforcing the idea that by being nice you deserve a relationship/sex. The friend zone is not a real thing. Real friends don’t have those expectations and no one merits a relationship/sex by being “nice.” Anyone who says otherwise is enforcing rape culture.



    • ennis on June 28, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Mark P. – Here is the rub. People, especialy women, cannot see that the “nice guy” you just described , does not even bother to “play” anymore. Nice guys left the building to guys who pretend to be nice to get the prizes … and no one wants to admit that..

  5. MeAndDating on June 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Bad boys come across as strong and exciting. Nice guys come across as boring and weak. Doormats nobody respects. It seems to me that in their 20s and 30s women are attracted to bad boys, but after enough bad experiences a.k.a. lessons, in their 40s they want a nice guy who makes them feel safe. Only a control-freak bitch wants a doormat and then only for a short time before her despising his weakness causes her to move on.

    • Jimmy on June 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Yeah, but by the time women hit their 40’s and realize they want a “nice guy” – they are too used up and full of baggage for a “nice guy” to deal with. At that point, she’ll be stuck with a doormatt.

      • MeAndDating on June 26, 2014 at 3:55 am

        Harsh, but probably true. I think we all have a stage of life when we’re at our most marketable. Good looking people have it easy in their early years, but once their looks fade…



  6. motivatedbrown on June 26, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Reblogged this on M.B.Young and commented:
    Being too nice can sometimes conflict with the woman thoughts of you as a protector, her knight in shinning armor so to speak. But not being nice enough makes you maybe more attractive, but also a liability or someone they cant trust and confide in. Finding that happy medium is damn near impossible! Some may find themselves content, but I must say that you will never be what she wants you to be because they probably don’t know what that is.

  7. Catherine Michael on June 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Wow, this is the third article Mr. Sama wrote that someone in the comments states that women once they reach forty are “used up,” “too old,” not marketable, not attractive, “stuck with “what she can get,” etc. etc. etc. I can only assume none of the people making these comments has reached the age of 40.

    Wake-up and look around, half the people you think are in their late 20s to 30s are actually in their 40s. Being 40 or over does not mean you are “used up” or your looks will automatically fade. Many star athletes today are in their 40s and many people reach their peak health and fitness levels well past 40, check out some of your favorite celebs ages. This perception is exactly what the anti-photoshopping movement and unrealistic-beauty-standards campaigns are fighting, the misconceived notion that you are only beautiful if you can look like the photoshopped teenage models you see in mags that are posing as 20 and 30 yr olds. Yes, youth is pretty but there are so many variants to pretty, and beauty, and sexiness. I’m sorry but I have yet to see a 20 yr old that can pull off a smoking sultry look, that takes a mature woman (read: 40-ish). As for baggage, baggage is just another term for life experiences, and the only way a person doesn’t have any is if they aren’t living. If by baggage you mean drama and emotional instability, then I’ve seen teenagers with more baggage and drama than people who have lived twice as long.

    Don’t be so scared of getting older. It’s just a date on the calendar. Being “older” I can tell you life and relationships get more interesting and deeper emotionally as you get older, wiser, and learn what’s really important in a partner. With the teenage hormones out of the way you can focus more on what is best for you vice what looks the hottest. Both sexes mature and “wisen-up” to what works in a relationship, not just women. We all learn from our experiences, and some of us chose to accept those lessons; others well they are still sitting down at the local bar looking for a hook-up, maybe those are the 40 yr olds you are referring to in your comments? They tend to be in their 50s and 60s though….

    As for me, I have always dated gentlemen. I’m well over 40, look to be in my early 30s, and get asked out by guys in their 30s all the time, so I’m not “stuck” settling for anything; and I look better now than I did in my 30s when I was a model so my “looks” haven’t “faded” either. Most of my friends, male and female, look younger than their ages as well. So please stop acting like children and declaring life and relationships are over once you reach 40. You sound like my little brother when he was in middle school.

  8. sarahlearichards on June 30, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Women perceive “bad boys” as being more of a challenge. They feel if they don’t have to “work for a guy”, then there must be something wrong with him. I’ve heard this from other women.

  9. David on July 25, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I’m a doormat and I don’t know how to stop. I don’t know how to be happy and self satisfied a lot of the time because I am alone and if I can’t make someone else happy then what value do I really have?

    • Natasha on August 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      You can’t make someone else truly happy until you first find happiness in who you are. You definitely have value…you just have to learn to love and respect yourself for your value to really become clear to those around you. Focus on your own wants and needs and talents by building your career or taking classes or pursuing a hobby. Develop friendships and practice saying “no” when something does not align with your needs/wants, especially if you seem to be the only one doing all the favors. Respect is a two-way street…

  10. […] is a difference between showing kindness towards others and letting yourself become a doormat. Part of having respect for others is also having respect for yourself, and a gentleman who has […]

  11. […] which leads them to think “nice guy,” which eventually for some, prompts them to act like a doormat and never gain a woman’s respect. They think being chivalrous and romantic is about dropping […]

  12. […] which leads them to think “nice guy,” which eventually for some, prompts them to act like a doormat and never gain a woman’s respect. They think being chivalrous and romantic is about dropping […]

  13. […] which leads them to think “nice guy,” which eventually for some, prompts them to act like a doormat and never gain a woman’s respect. They think being chivalrous and romantic is about dropping […]

  14. […] is a difference between showing kindness towards others and letting yourself become a doormat. Part of having respect for others is also having respect for yourself. A gentleman who has respect […]

  15. Volf on January 7, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    There is the bad guy, the good guy and the nice guy, therefore the nice guy is not the good guy.

  16. […] which leads them to think “nice guy,” which eventually for some, prompts them to act like a doormat and never gain a woman’s respect. They think being chivalrous and romantic is about dropping […]

  17. jeff on June 17, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Women love nice guys but are attracted to bad boys.

    So they cheat.

    Nice guy suffers
    Girl is confused.
    Bad boy doesn’t care.

    …so the winner is…the bad boy!

    Winning!!!

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