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Beware of the Nice Guy Who Only Pretends to Be Nice

savvydating's mission is to help women attract positive relationships by establishing personal parameters and greater self-worth.

The two sides of a manipulator.

The two sides of a manipulator.

Craig is a counselor. He is a "nice guy" who helps people professionally, and who is well respected among his peers. Craig is also a good father and an excellent provider. He attends church most Sundays with his wife and children. Most people who know Craig describe him as "a really good guy." He sees himself that way and in many areas of his life this "good guy" label is true---to a degree. However, Craig lacks empathy even though he is a "good guy." The thing is, Craig has a deep distrust of people, especially women. Interestingly, Craig believes that "people get what they deserve."

At home, if Craig's wife crosses him in any way, he will not "let it go." He feels it is his duty to have "discussions" with his wife about her "unacceptable" behavior. Afterward, Craig's wife isn't sure why she feels bad or guilty for not having done anything wrong in bringing up a matter of everyday concern. Craig's wife knows that her husband views women as either ladies or whores and that Craig seems to have misogynist tendencies. Nevertheless, she believes her husband is a good provider and father, and just maybe she had over-reacted about his habit of missing appointments they had agreed to attend together. Craig's wife knows that she can't discuss her feelings of frustration with her husband because doing so would risk his becoming angry with her.

Quotes from Misogynistic Men

  • The famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, stated that "A woman is perhaps an inferior being," that women are basically incomplete males and thus, "a deformity."
  • L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, stated that "a society in which women are taught anything but the management of a family, the care of men, and the creation of a future generation, is a society that is on its way out."
  • Friedrich Nietzche, German philosopher and the darling of Marxists, stated that "Women are less than shallow." "Are you going to women?" "Don't forget the whip."

The Contempt of Misogynists

Craig's hatred of hatred of women manifests itself through the belittling of women, sexual objectification of women, and prejudice against women. The nice guy as misogynist isn't talked about much. After all, the nice guy performs good works; he is stable; he cherishes his children, and he isn't foul-mouthed. But inwardly, he sees many women as fat, lazy, and ugly. He believes some of his patients are "disgusting" but because he is a "professional," he keeps his opinions to himself.

Conveniently for Craig, his inner contempt goes largely unnoticed by most observers...but those who know him better see glimpses of another darker side. Craig has a strong sense of entitlement, especially where women are concerned. He must be taken care of and respected by his woman, as his mother took care of him. He doesn't like it when his wife stands her ground. Not at all. He is highly annoyed by her failure to meet his needs and he knows exactly what to do to teach her to "be reasonable." In time, his wife will come to resent him, but because he is a "good" husband and father, she finds reasons to stay, at least for now. But in her gut, Craig's wife wonders, "Is my husband a good man?"

Craig's wife has asked herself a very good question---one that will ultimately lead her to the truth.... that her husband does not respect her emotions or anyone else's.

Your Feelings are "Off Limits"

For example, lets say Craig's wife comes home from a stressful day at work. She has had a disagreement with her boss; she feels angry and upset. She needs to vent. Unfortunately for her, Craig hates any kind of "complaining" or conflict in the home. He does not want to hear about his wife's bad day, nor does he like it when she becomes upset about work or any situation, for that matter. He wants his wife to play nice and to conduct herself in a "mature" manner at all times. The problem is, Craig married a reasonable woman with normal feelings. Yet, he feels compelled to put her in her a way he considers thoughtful but which is in reality, extremely condescending. He tells her that she is "escalating" and that she needs to be calm.

Craig is apparently unable or unwilling to respect his wife as a true partner. In time, his wife will be forced to concede that Craig is not as nice as he pretends to be with others and that if this pattern of dismissing her feelings continues, she may have to leave or suffer immeasurable damage to her self-esteem. She knows that Craig believes women should be sweet and sexy. He is angered by women who do not fit his image of how females are supposed to act and look. Craig may or may not be a narcissist, but he definitely has some of the characteristics.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Belief that you're special and more important than others
  • Fantasies about power, success and attractiveness
  • Failure to recognize others' needs and feelings
  • Exaggeration of achievements or talents
  • Expectation of constant praise and admiration
  • Arrogance
  • Unreasonable expectations of favors and advantages, often taking advantage of others
  • Envy of others or belief that others envy you

--Mayo Clinic

The Narcissist's Prayer

"How better far the world would be

  If all the people were like me!

  On second thoughts that's not so good;

  The other people really should

  Have me as centre of their sphere;

  There's only room for one in here.

  Only one can be the middle,

  And know the answer to every riddle

  Of life, art, science and history;

  And, of course, it's me, it's me!!!"

Craig's wife begins to feel greater frustration; she begins questioning herself. "Is it wrong to feel anger over an injustice?" She wonders. Craig then goes in for the kill. "Alright, so you've figured out you don't like your boss. What are you going to do about it? Don't you know that life is all about growing up and getting along with others? After all, you chose that profession. Just calm down. You're being silly." His wife suddenly feels confused and even angrier than she did before she first walked in the door. She isn't quite sure what just happened. She feels compelled to defend her anger, her frustration, and her career choice, even though all she wanted to do is vent for a few minutes and get a little bit of sympathy.

She thinks to herself, "Do I take his advice to "be calm" or do I say something which might "rock the boat" and make Craig angrier? After all, he's a good husband who is just trying to point out the obvious. I'm sure he means well. He knows about these things; he's a professional therapist for crying out loud. But then why do I feel so nervous and anxious whenever I feel the need to vent? It's not like I complain every day. I just wish he would he would listen.

Red Flags

  • He has inner contempt for those he views as "less than.
  • Notice that quick flash of anger in his eyes, despite his positive and "kind" words when you question him.
  • He shakes his head "No" just slightly, even as he says "Yes."
  • If single, he is well prepared on dates. He may give you sweet little gifts. He will ask thoughtful questions. He will make you feel as though you are the most interesting person in the world, even if you bore him to tears.
  • He is condescending.
  • He lacks emotional integrity; he is not opposed to lying if it suits his purpose.
  • He will either question your judgment if you question his, or he will dismiss your feelings as lacking in good judgment. He does this in a "reasonable" way, of course.
  • He never forgets a perceived wrong done to him.
  • He can and will take care of his immediate family, i.e.; his wife and children, because it serves his interests, but he will not help a "friend," or most other family members. His motto is: "They made their bed and they can lie in it."
  • He is a poor listener.
  • He despises feminists. In his eyes, all feminist are loud mouthed, ugly "man-haters."

In the Workplace

Craig is highly devious and he knows it. If you stay on his good side, you won't have any problems. If you don't, that's another story. Craig has a long memory. If someone else doesn't have enough savvy to see through him, then that's his problem as far as Craig is concerned.

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Craig has had a few people fired from their jobs. All he had to do was give them enough rope to hang themselves, and then quietly yank the rope even tighter. It doesn't matter whether his colleague was competent or not. If you mess with Craig, there will be consequences. And yet, once that employee is "let go," you can be sure that Craig will be right there to pat his "friend" on the back, shake his head over this "injustice," and bemoan how this "terrible wrong" could have happened to a "loyal friend." Craig doesn't mind bending the truth to serve his agenda.

Yet, we need not look for liars under every bush and tree. Rather, we must expand our knowledge about dangerous people by becoming more alert to the signals that such personalities display.

Even those who are practiced at detecting lies, such as law enforcement officers, are not necessarily "spot-on" detectors. According to researchers, lie detecting is a skill that some people can develop over many years. Researchers have also found that people who tend to look for lies nearly always believe people are lying even when they are not. But those who tend to assume that people are truthful, in general, may be more inclined to believe the liar.

What's In It For Me?

The man who pretends to be nice will always look at What's in it for Me." Another clue about this personality type is that he has difficulty maintaining close friendships, primarily because he has a low tolerance for frustration. Finally, If he hurts someone's feelings, he does not feel guilt.

Ted Bundy was the ultimate example of the guy who pretends to be nice, even though he was a serial killer. At one point, he worked as a hotline suicide counselor who was very good at his job. Nevertheless, he was a sociopath and a psychopath. According to Duane L. Dobbert, in Understanding Personality Disorders: "Such people—frequently identified as "sociopaths" ... are often outwardly charming, even charismatic; but beneath the facade there is little true personality or genuine insight. It's like...a storefront that's attractive and lures you in, But inside...the merchandise is sparse."

Listen To Your Gut

My intent isn't to put the fear of all men into the hearts of women. Most men are not sociopaths or psychopaths. However, if you find yourself entangled with a man who "acts nice" even though your gut tells you he isn't, then you'd best pay attention. You can do that by detecting a pattern of lying, not to mention a pattern of using emotionally manipulative tactics to confuse you. It is important to look at the whole picture.

Most women will never meet a psychopath, but you may run into a man who dislikes women. Just know that both good men (and women) are out there. The sooner you learn how to detect the good guy from the guy who only pretends to be caring, the better your chances are for finding love that is meaningful. If you can recognize the characteristics and behavior patterns of the manipulator, you'll have a much better chance at avoiding heartbreak, if not outright danger.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 savvydating


savvydating (author) on June 22, 2018:

XOXOXO!!! (Now I'm getting a big head, but I like the way it feels.) ;)

Suzie from Carson City on June 22, 2018:

Besides being thoughtful........You're incredibly smart!! :)

savvydating (author) on June 22, 2018:

We've paid our dues, Paula. The super-cape will be there when we need it. For now, we can enjoy the last 1/3 of our lives wearing something comfortable. These days, my comfy flats and Skechers GO-Walks" are my best friends. Hahaha.

Keep up the regimen, girlfriend. You're almost there. Yipee!

Suzie from Carson City on June 22, 2018:

Yves...You're so thoughtful. Some days I feel (almost) like a million bucks~~ others, that would be reduced to "pennies." However, I'm being religious with my program, which is a combo of following orders from the experts & my own common sense knowledge & experience. I accept what has been repeated to me by not only the medical professionals but also the myriad of heart patients who readily confirm that we must give ourselves one full year to recover to complete wellness. I'm at 7 months, so I'm being patient.

Despite any of this, I take one day at a time. I've learned it's absolute truth that we should all do this throughout life. Alas, my friend....I don't know if WOMEN will ever concede to this after a lifetime of believing we must be Super women. I had my super cape cleaned, packaged and retired to the top shelf in my closet~ & replaced it with more comfortable, useful attire! Peace, Paula

savvydating (author) on June 22, 2018:

Paula...How lovely to hear from you this fine morning. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I completely understand being solo and just how enjoyable it can be, that is, once we have already had a lifetime of love(s). Frankly, I feel exactly the same way as you do. But then, I've always valued my alone time.

FYI: My summer is going smoothly. I trust you are healing well.

Suzie from Carson City on June 22, 2018:

Yves....Paying you a long overdue visit, I find this article as interesting as everything you write. I'm afraid I'd have to say that a woman who believes she's never had an experience with the type of man you speak of, is simply not paying attention. Once we have had an encounter with what I consider a bit of a frightening passive-aggressive fellow, it's not something we easily forget.

Girlfriend, I'm going to admit that more and more, I realize how content & comfortable I am on my own at this point in my life. There are far worse things than being solo, once we have a lifetime of relationship wisdom. A casual date now and then, suits me quite well nowadays. Truthfully, I don't feel I even have the time & energy to maintain an official "partner-type" situation.

Hope you are doing well & enjoying the summer. Peace, Paula

savvydating (author) on April 19, 2017:

Hello dear, Thank you for dropping by again. Bad managers can destroy morale like nothing else. I wish they were given lie detector tests or something...

I have been lied to outright by a supervisor and it was the most shocking and disappointing experience---because she made me out to be the bad guy. Well, at least we're not alone in having to deal with these seemingly "nice" people who are anything but. I am glad you got transferred. What relief you must feel!!

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on April 19, 2017:

OMG that sounds just like a former manager of mine. Fortunately I was transferred to another department and now report to someone else. This manager also made promises that he didn't keep, most of his direct reports can't stand him, and he seems to favor the male employees over the female employees.

savvydating (author) on December 16, 2016:

CaliLights....I did not receive notification of your comment from 12 days ago. That happens here, on occasion. Thank you for your response.

The thing is, if someone isn't treating us particularly well in the beginning, there really is no good reason to believe they will treat us better the next time around. Keep that in mind.

I appreciate that anyone in medical school does not have a lot of time to date, despite what that asinine program, Grey's Anatomy, would have you believe. You can only do as much as time will allow.

Honestly, I think you just need to pay better attention to your gut and respect what it is telling you in each specific given moment.

That may sound nebulous to you at this time. If you need more clarification, let me know. I still believe that you (and most people) could benefit from short time therapy---just to clarify a few things in order to move forward with more confidence.

savvydating (author) on December 16, 2016:

Hi David....Thank you for sharing your story. Truly interesting!

That's the thing with these "nice" guys. You can't tell them apart from anyone else---until we begin to notice the "contamination" they leave behind.

David Branagan from Ireland on December 16, 2016:

I don't usually read dating tips for women, but I have to say I enjoyed reading your article. It is very well written and engaging. I once knew someone who was well respected and highly regarded, a genuine guy, kind, very well spoken and professional. This guy turned out to be a pathological liar, completely lacking empathy, a manipulator...hey I would even go as far as saying I think he may be a psychopath. Thankfully this person moved countries, probably to escape the lies that people were finally starting to see. People need to be careful in this strange world!

CaliLights on December 04, 2016:

It wasn't someone I just met. It was an on-again, off-again relationship lasting six months -- two 3-month periods in which my ex called me up to start dating again only when it was convenient for her. One-sided; conversations revolved around her; there was no affection or intimacy unless I initiated them. There was no breakup either time; things just faded away and I never heard from her asking where I'd gone or if we'd see each other again.

Several months after our second dating foray, she emerged with a new boyfriend, and she appeared seemingly happy and reciprocal and complete with this man on social media -- why couldn't she have that with me, I asked? I pressed for answers, she called the police; used excuses that she'd moved on but didn't give me any insight as to why she never valued me.

On the upside, even the police had told me off the record that her complaint seemed inappropriate, as I'd made no threats of the sort. They were just making a courtesy call and told me I seemed like a stand-up guy who meant well.

As for therapy, I'm sure you can understand that she's the one who needs it, not me. Hope that clarifies things.

savvydating (author) on November 27, 2016:

Cali, The point I was making is that it is sometimes easy to be fooled in any relationship, just as you believe you were fooled by the woman you dated briefly.

That being said, it sounds like you became emotionally attached rather quickly. If you had a few dates and she did not want to keep dating you, it is odd that you should demand answers. I don't know the circumstances behind that relationship, but it sounds to me like this was just a matter of her deciding you were not the guy for her. Maybe you came on too strong. Women don't usually call the police unless they are afraid.

But as I said, I don't know the details. Maybe a good therapist can help you sort things out. I hope you feel better soon and thanks for visiting.

CaliLights on November 27, 2016:

I understand, but marrying a good person doesn't mean they didn't play a role in letting their prior relationship fail. As a man, I was in a relationship with a narcissistic female who did everything to neglect me and let our relationship fall by the wayside -- no communication, no breakup, no explanation, nothing.

Within months, when I found out second hand she was dating someone, new, I sought accountability, I protested and demanded answers, and all it got me was getting the police called on me. She even manipulated the law into thinking I was the same type of bad guy you portray in your Hub post, when it was really the other way around. I've struggled with feelings of guilt ever since, that maybe I'm the sociopath who makes excuses for his behavior.

My point is that I read so many women damning their former exes and praising their new boyfriends/partners/spouses without indicating their role in how things went sour, like my ex refused to do. This may (or may not) be the case with Flourish, but I truly believe it was with me.

savvydating (author) on November 27, 2016:

CaliLights, You should know that Flourish doesn't play the victim. After all, she married a good man.

Sociopaths or personality disordered people are not easy to spot. They know how to copy the actions of normal people and then draw you in. A stronger man or woman can recognize them in time, but not immediately.

CaliLights on November 26, 2016:

FlourishAnyway, surely you played a role in the demise of your relationship with your med student ex -- as did your sister and her ex. There are two sides to every story, and you play a role in partnership, as well. I'd like to hear what his perspective is on you; you're not perfect and the lesson you should learn is not that you chose better, but that you need to do better in how you date people, regardless of if they have sociopathic tendencies or not. Stop playing the victim.

savvydating (author) on July 26, 2016:

Thank you for sharing your sister's story. As a psychologist, I know you will be there for her. My prayer is that he does not turn violent. Your sister can beat this thing. The law has sympathy for women....and I trust she is documenting everything.

That SOB will get "his" one way or another. The important thing is that she has made the decision to leave.

Damn. These situations are real. My hope is that somehow, more women learn to spot the indecent man sooner by paying closer attention to his actions early on.

My thoughts are with you, your family and your sister. I wish your sister relief and happiness. Truly. Thanks for writing in, Flourish.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 26, 2016:

My sister married one of these and now fears for her life. She is divorcing him, has a restraining order in place, but he is creatively going after her in ways you would never imagine. Nice guy on paper.

savvydating (author) on June 07, 2016:

Hi Vink, I am happy that this hub has served as a reminder. Thank for stopping by and for the follow!!

Vink from India on June 07, 2016:

Very well composed and informational hub.I will try to avoid being disrespectful to my partner as sometimes I might be.Thank You.

savvydating (author) on April 25, 2016:

Hi Peg..... The main thing for women to know is that she has to pay attention to her gut. If her gut tells her something is wrong, it probably is. Then she can go on to detect behavior patterns in order to come to a conclusion. Thanks for reading. I appreciate it!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on April 25, 2016:

You've covered a lot of information, here, Savvy. Very interesting observations about this sort of guy. I think I had relationships with a few of these types. It took a while to uncover their true tendencies.

savvydating (author) on April 09, 2016:

You have a point. Most men don't feel the need to say they are "good," as it is understood that making such an announcement is "off." But those who do may have a need to hide something.

Thank you for your comment, Ptosis. I will look at your link sometime soon.

ptosis from Arizona on April 09, 2016:

Great Article! When ever a guy says that he's a 'nice guy' - he isn't! "At the beginning of a new relationship, the manipulation is subliminal. If they are good at it then it won't be noticed until long after a pattern in ingrained in the relationship. " -

savvydating (author) on March 02, 2015:

For sure---the rushing into marriage thing is definitely way too risky. Taking the time to date is much wiser. Eventually, whoever he is, whether good or bad will reveal itself. Thank you for commenting!

ologsinquito from USA on March 02, 2015:

This is precisely why it's important not to rush into marriage, which I believe is a lifelong commitment, for better or for worse. You've very aptly described a very difficult man to live with, including the profession he chose.

savvydating (author) on February 21, 2014:

Lol! You have a way with words. Yep! I'd pick an engineer over a med student any day of the week. Way less ego! I'm glad you got a good, predictable guy--They're the best kind. Thanks for stopping by, FlourishAnyway. I'll be seeing you around the pages. :)

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 21, 2014:

Oh, yes I've met a few. Red lights went off. I scrammed and did not look back. Thankfully I married the nice, predictable, stable engineer with an awesome sense of humor rather than the conniving, cheating, control freak med student who was scary smart, emphasis on scary.

savvydating (author) on January 09, 2014:

Thank you, WillStarr. I do agree that women can be terrible and two-faced as well. No question about it--the boat rocks both ways. This is the first time I've had the pleasure of your visit. So nice to make your acquaintance. I'll be dropping on by to check out your articles.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 09, 2014:

I've met a few of these guys, and I've also met a couple of their female counterparts.

Insightful Hub!

savvydating (author) on December 05, 2013:

Hi moonlake. You're actually very lucky to have such solid discernment. I know we are taught to trust, but we also need to be taught that some people are not as nice as they seem. In your case, you have the gift of a naturally strong intuition. Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to convince your friend not to stay involved with this guy...

Your story of the girl reminds me of a situation my son encountered recently. He was at the wedding of a female friend. He noticed that when the groom said "I do" he shook his head slightly (rather than nodding). My son suspected this guy of shenanigans all along, but now it's too late. Long story short, it is always wise to wait before offering up all of one's trust on a silver platter... because the deceitful guy or girl will take advantage. Thank you for the vote up. I appreciate it!

savvydating (author) on December 05, 2013:

Hi idegwebsites. Unfortunately, experience is usually the best teacher. But we can come out such relationships relatively unscathed if we keep our wits about us, not to mention that fire inside which tells us we deserve better than this. I thank you for stopping by to relate your experience, and I thank you for sharing this article. Hopefully, we can both help others from getting emotionally involved with the wrong guys.

moonlake from America on December 05, 2013:

We've had a couple in our family. I spotted them but some of my family members didn't. I guess I have a distrust first in me, I always thought was terrible but in the long run I guess it isn't so bad.

I know a girl that is dating a guy that just loves her to pieces (her words). I think this guy may be her big problem one day when they get married. I see something behind his smiling face that I don't like.

Voted up.

idigwebsites from United States on December 04, 2013:

Thanks for your "caveat". Many girls fall victim to these really really bad guys -- I for one fell prey to a "wolf in sheep's clothing", and many of the characteristics you list there, I saw those in him. I've learned my lesson very well, and I'm glad I'm free. Sharing this to inform anyone else. :)

savvydating (author) on November 24, 2013:

Hello there Ausseye. I appreciate your comment. I am always open to hearing others' observations, as it is useful in helping me to write better. I fully agree that women are deceitful--not just men. I am thankful to have been exposed to such personalities and to have been able to see through them--though this was not always the case. "Knowing things" helps immensely in dating and in business interactions. But this comes from my many years of experience in dealing with people. My hope is that I can help some people who are less experienced to develop more awareness in this area by teaching them to utiliz some observational tools even if they have not yet developed their intuition. You are right about the gut; it's there to protect us.

Thank you for your vote. I appreciate it!!

Ausseye on November 23, 2013:

Hey savvy,

Great hub with a rub, exposing the nice guy with all his potentials. The sociopath of life is fraught with "love fraud " memories, a site devoted to exposing those nice men . Loved the insight and potential observations, but as you wrote gut feeling has a very solid role in exposing the true personality of seemingly nice people, by the way some are women !! Great read and worth the effort , very useful start to detecting and my hope is that such people are in the minority, some say 5-12 percent !! Loved the read, voted up in the nicest of ways.

savvydating (author) on November 17, 2013:

Hi Frank,

"Savvy hub" is a wonderful compliment. I love it! This (green) format that Hubpages has adopted pretty much forces me to be more meticulous, so I found some excellent research material. Also, I've known a person or two who were excellent "case studies." Thank you for your votes. I appreciate them immensely and I hope some of these tips truly do prove useful to some.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on November 17, 2013:

what a savvy good tips and i assume some hard work went into this little project voted awesome.. and useful.. yeah

savvydating (author) on November 16, 2013:

Thanks for your vote, DDE. I had been working on another project for the past seven weeks, so I have spent limited time on Hubpages lately. I always like to read all articles all the way through so that I can leave relevant and thoughtful comments. I mention this because you'd noticed I'd been away. It's great to be back, reading and writing again. I appreciate your stopping by and I'm glad you liked the hub!.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 16, 2013:

Beware of The Nice Guy Who Isn't Very Nice you said it all here about the devious man and so true. Often these types are not so easily found out, great tips here and a useful hub indeed. Voted up

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