There are many ideas of what the ‘nice guy’ is. We could probably write a book on the different theories.
But I’ve found that many guys spoken of as a ‘nice guy’ are really suffering from a mild form of shyness, at least to some extent. The ‘shy guy’ is, perhaps, the nice guy taken to the extreme. It is for this reason that I tend to think that the question of shyness is so important when talking about the ‘nice guy’.
The shy/nice guy tends to be casual, unimposing, and quiet. They seldom are forward or confrontational with other people. They seldom force their way or press issues. They often do not speak loudly nor are they controlling. Typically, they do not want to be the center of attention. When people approach them there is often a tendency to ‘retreat’ or ‘shy away’, though that’s not always true with some ‘nice guys’.
I’ve always associated shy/nice guys with introversion or guys that are very interior-like. I don’t associate them at all with extroverted people.
They tend to be private and don’t like people intruding in their space or bearing down on them. They generally need to have a ‘space’ around them to make them comfortable.
It’s not uncommon that the shy/nice guy has poor social skills.
Many shy/nice guys are known to be faithful and loyal people. I’ve heard many people notice this and wonder why girls don’t want to marry them, as they make the best spouses oftentimes.
I’ve also associated these people with higher morals. There is a sense that there is a proper way of doing things and that some things are wrong and should not be done.
I’ve often felt that British manners had a lot to do with the shy/nice guy. Many of us were taught to be these polite courteous people. This means we are not taught to be forward, loud, or imposing. In a way, British manners taught people to be at least a little shyish.
These all point to a person that is very restrained, conservative, and ‘proper’. In effect, a boring person, at least in modern society. In Victorian society they probably would be cherished and looked at highly, as the accounts seem to show.
I often feel that the 1960’s created a blow to the shy/nice guy. It left a detestation and contempt toward restrained conservative ‘proper’ people that exists even to this day. It glorified the loud extroverted rebel. At the same time it went against the former conservative formal Victorian society, condemning it as well as accusing it of the world’s problems. Even the movies portray it this way, glorifying rebels and extroverts. This, subsequently, made the shy/nice guy appear unattractive or unappealing. In some ways they are now treated with a contempt they don’t deserve.
I sometimes think that girls, watching all this in the movies, media and that, grew to expect the male to behave that way. The society glorified this type of male so the females, with their slavish mentality, glorified him as well. As a result, they literally sit and ‘wait’ for this type of man to appear, this forward loud imposing guy. The problem is that the shy/nice guys tend to not be forward or imposing, as I mentioned above. As a result, they are looked over and passed over, given little thought or attention. They’ve became a neglected segment of the population, as I’m sure many of us know.
The shy guy problem can get into a more extreme case, which is often called ‘love shyness’. Though there has been much debate on this, to me is describes a guy who tends to ‘shy away’ from relationships. It can be anywhere from shying away from intimacy with his girlfriend (even something as small as holding hands!) to a guy being petrified to even talk to a girl. People who suffer from this condition have a lot of problems associating with girls, as you can imagine.
And so I seem to see a spectrum, going from one extreme to the other:
Nice guy – – – – – Shy guy – – – – – Love shy guy
Less shy – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Most shy
To me one of the distinguishing qualities of shyness is the level of their interior orientation. The more interior they are the more sensitive they seem to be. This sensitivity includes things like emotions, situations, ideas, and even sounds, among a lot of other things. This sensitivity makes the interior minded guy tend to be more intellectual, artistic, poetic, and such. This sensitivity also seems to make him more aware of things so he tends to be more cautious and ‘proper’ in his life stance. It also makes them more aware of their feelings and things like nervousness, anxiety, etc. are more real to them than to an extroverted-like person. The result is they are more apprehensive and reluctant to do things. They are not all that willing to take chances or take gambles. They ‘shy away’ because human contact is often very sensitive for them and ‘shying away’ is nothing but avoiding an oversensitive situation. It’s sort of like turning away when you see a bright light. In a way, that is the ‘essence’ of shyness.
Though shyish guys seem boring many have a very active interior life that is often never seen. In fact, they tend to be the intellectuals, scientists, monks, artists, poets, and such of society. Isaac Newton, for example, was shy and quiet. Many of the people who knew him never knew he had many of his theories which he had come up even a decade before. From experience I’ve found that shyish guys are often the ones with the ‘hidden talent’ and ability.
I’ve also found, over the years, that the shy/nice guys are easy victims, unfortunately. They are also easy to bully and neglect. They are pushed aside and never noticed. Sometimes, they can be abused. Oddly enough, my observation is that females do this quite a bit, even more so than other guys. I’ve sat and watched girls deliberately bully, neglect, and treat like crap the shy/nice guy. Watching this over the years has really changed my view of the female.
The shy/nice guy seems to require people who are more compassionate, helpful, and understanding around them than most people do. This is one of the problems: they require a certain type of person to associate with. That’s not always that easy. If there is no one there like that then they will often become a-social and alone. The general character of the American female, unfortunately, is not all that compatible with the shy/nice guy. This leaves many shy/nice guys facing life alone.