The Problem With "Nice Guys"
Updated: Oct 18
Dressed in a dark green hoodie with her hair tied back, Hannah Montoya, a Tik Tok creator with 3.2 million followers, acts out a skit as a "pick-me boy."
"Would you want to go on a date with me?" Montoya asks. "No? But I'm so nice to you! You know what? All girls are the same."
The latest of Montoya's now eight-part series on "the pick-me boy" has garnered 1.1 million views and 259,700 likes in just two days. The popularity of these videos is likely because so many women have interacted with a "pick-me boy" who suffers from "nice guy syndrome.
According to Montoya, "pick-me boys" use self-depreciation as a means of flirting. As for people with 'nice guy syndrome,' they "love talking about how nice they are, which isn’t a problem, it’s just annoying," Montoya says. "But then they go on to say they’re 'different than most guys' at least three times in conversation and will probably complain about being undervalued." Though it is possible to be one and not the other, "'pick-me boys' & 'nice guys' go hand in hand," Montoya says. "They’re like sucky cousins."
One clinical social worker with a focus on nice guys agrees with Montoya's definition. "Nice guys adhere to an unspoken contract with the world, without the world’s consent or awareness," he says. "The contract is: 'If the nice guy is all of the good things, none of the bad things, and the nice guy has no needs, want, or flaws, then, in return, the world will provide them happiness, fulfillment, comfort, and love.'"
Though being a nice guy may sound like a positive trait on the surface, these people tend to use manipulation to receive the comfort or attention from women they feel entitled to. "I feel like if you’re genuinely a nice person, you don’t need to say, 'hey look at me, look how nice I am!' It’s a red flag right off the bat," Montoya says. "'Nice Guys' expect something out of kindness like it’s a currency. Like 'I listened to you when you were talking, now you owe me a date or something.'"
Montoya has clearly come into contact with many 'nice guys,' and made her Tik Tok series to showcase her experiences. "I’ve had both lowkey “nice guy” interactions, and boss-level pick-mes," Montoya says. "It ranges from their responses, from 'oh, so you hate me?', to someone completely having a meltdown and cussing me out for having a boyfriend."
But the millions of views and likes that her series received demonstrates just how widespread this issue is. "The fact that I can relate to this is sad," one person commented on her video. "So, I want to tag someone so bad but yknow, I'm a decent person," another commenter wrote.
There is even a Reddit thread titled "Women who gave 'nice guys' a chance how did it work out?" where over a thousand women have shared their personal experiences with "nice guys." "All the guys I have known or dated that felt it necessary to label themselves 'nice guys' turned out to absolutely awful humans," wrote Reddit user Missunderstood80. "Either they had a bad temper, horrible morals, or just didn't want to take "no" for an answer."
"I find men who claim to be "nice guys" are the rudest," Reddit user PokaCake posted. "They act like the women of the world owe them for some reason and tend to be the ones that would force themselves on me and get angry if I pushed them off."
Taina Millsap, a senior at Emerson College, has also had a lot of experience with nice guys.
"I had a friend for three years that made me feel so bad for not liking him," she says. "I ignored the fact that he was making me uncomfortable because I felt like I owed him something or I was obligated because he was so nice."
Like Millsap mentioned, the word that seems to come to mind for many when discussing so-called 'nice guys' is "uncomfortable."
"My best description is just the word 'uncomfortable,'" Montoya says
"In my experience with 'nice guys,' they’re actually the opposite of nice," says Jessica Cunha, a senior at Emerson College. "I feel uncomfortable and annoyed when dealing with them." Gabriela Portugal, another senior at Emerson College agrees. "I pity nice guys because they try too hard to seem like a nice guy that I just react really badly to it," she says. "I just feel really uncomfortable when I'm around them."
Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of 'pick-me boys' and 'nice guys' out there. Any college-age girl has likely come in contact with one and regretted it. But just because the number of 'pick-me guys' seems to be extensive, it doesn't mean that every man you meet will fall into this category.
"It’s super easy to not be a 'pick-me boy' or 'nice guy'," Montoya says. "Which, on behalf of all people everywhere, I definitely suggest."