A character has just arrived on the scene in a story I’m writing. He seems like a all around good guy who is liked by both men and woman. In a conversation with the leading lady, he reveals that he, as he is now, didn’t come easy. He was a Mr. Nice Guy who never says no to his girlfriends but they left him anyway.
I had to stop writing at that point. What is it about him that he allowed himself to be treated that way?
A friend mentioned the possibility of childhood trauma and suggested that he only got better after finding a new hobby or sport to develop his self-confidence. While I agree with his view, I needed to learn more about Mr. Nice Guy before I can complete the backstory of this character.
As it turned out, Mr. Nice Guys do and say nice things with strings attached, however unconscious their actions may be. They never voice their needs or wants, thinking that’s a sign of weakness. Mr. Nice Guy lives in a fantasy that by doing everything “right”, their life will be problem free and his needs will magically be fulfilled. Then he suggested ways to transform from being a Mr. Nice Guy to being a Mr. Real Guy.
The funny thing is, I can see a bit of myself in Mr. Nice Guy as well.
I’ve always pride myself as a “low maintenance” woman. Now I know I’m also a Mr. Nice Guy. We think having a need makes us bad. So, while we appear to have no needs, we were only denying that part of ourselves. It’s ironic that this behavior also kills the opportunity to receive love and kindness from others.
As I read on, I found more traits that I share with Mr. Nice Guy.
- Avoid new situations / Stay with the familiar
- Give what I want to give instead what’s needed
- Try harder to fix an old issue but use the same ineffective method (which Einstein defined as insanity, how fitting!)
I am pretty sure I’ve grown enough to repeat that last two patterns. Now I just need the courage to move away from my comfort zone.
No More Mr. Nice Guy! not only helped me create a character who had “lived”, I also gain some insight into my own unhealthy thinking and belief.
So to all the Mr. Nice Guy and Miss. Nice Gal, accept your imperfect self and you shall prosper!