17 Toxic “Nice Guy” Behaviors That Signal Deep Insecurity

17 Toxic “Nice Guy” Behaviors That Signal Deep Insecurity

Have you ever met a nice guy and thought to yourself, “Hmm, something seems off”? If your answer is yes, you might have been around a toxic “nice guy.” He probably even engaged in these 17 behaviors that show he’s deeply insecure.

1. He always offers (unsolicited) help.

He’s just a genuinely nice guy who wants to drive 40 minutes out of the way so you can make it to a concert on time. Or is he? It might seem like he’s doing this out of the kindness of his own heart but this could signal something deeper at play: his insecurity. Why? Because he wants you to like him, even if that means offering you help when you don’t ask and going very much out of his way to do it.

2. He doesn’t set boundaries.

When a “nice guy” is insecure about not being liked, it’s common for him to not set boundaries. This manifests as him having trouble saying “no” to requests or tolerating behavior that he doesn’t appreciate because he doesn’t want to upset others. It seems harmless, but not setting boundaries isn’t being nice, it shows a high level of self-doubt.

3. He always shows up with a gift.

Let’s say this guy is picking you up for your first date (which is already a nice gesture). You open the door and in his arms is candy, a fresh bouquet of roses, and a teddy bear. You know and we know that that is way too much for a first date, but the thing with toxic “nice guys” is that they try to win people over with things. They’re so insecure about their ability to make someone like them just by being who they are, so they rely on material things to do it for them.

4. He tries to be the fixer.

flooring being laid

He’s insecure, so of course he feels the need to be needed and look superior to others. He wants to paint himself as helpful and indispensable, and that’s where he gets his self-worth from. Because at the end of the day, he believes his value lies in the ability to solve other people’s problems rather than in his personality or uniqueness.

5. He’s always seeking validation.

Businessman, happy portrait and outdoor city for leader success, corporate management or happiness vision. Male, smile and manager positive mindset energy or achievement in cityscape background

One of the tell-tale signs of insecurity is when someone is consistently asking to be validated. “Nice guys” are no different. That’s because, deep down, they have all of these doubts about their worth and attractiveness, so they need to be blatantly told that they’re good enough, nice enough, hot enough, etc.” This helps the “nice guy” to quell his fear and insecurities about being rejected.

6. He’s always available no matter what time.

We all know that person who will drop anything and everything for other people no matter what. That’s a toxic “nice guy” behavior alright. At first, it might just seem like this guy is loyal, but this is actually a sign of insecurity. Why? It goes back to being liked—he doesn’t want to say no when you call him at 4 am to be picked up from the bar because that could mean you’d hate him (a big fear for him).

7. He gets resentful when his “niceness” isn’t reciprocated.

A guy who becomes resentful when his “niceness” isn’t reciprocated is insecure. His actions are clearly driven by an underlying need for validation and approval (insecurity city, party of one). His acts of kindness are conditional—he wants to receive something (^ validation and approval) in return. When he doesn’t get that, he feels inadequate and unworthy which can manifest as resentment.

8. He’s not spontaneous.

He plans everything to a T, his life trajectory is already set, and he wouldn’t dare deviate from it. In other words, he’s afraid to step outside of his comfort zone. That’s because he’s insecure and staying within the familiar provides a sense of safety and control for him. Insecurity thrives in comfort, so when risks are minimized, he feels comfortable.

9. He wants to be with his partner 24/7.

The truth is, he’s insecure about his partner leaving him, cheating on him, or finding someone better. Because of this deep doubt about himself and his ability to be loved, he clings to his partner tighter than saran wrap. At the beginning of the relationship, this can be perceived as sweet and thoughtful. But individuals in relationships need their space and this guy most certainly did not get the memo.

10. He compliments you, but it doesn’t seem authentic.

Does he tell you that you look great when you know for a fact that you look like crap? Yeah, this is another sign he’s insecure. That’s because his inauthentic compliments are a way to manipulate you or be in your good graces because he is so scared of not being liked for who he truly is. He tries to mask his own insecurities by giving false praise and it is transparent.

11. He presents a false persona.

If hiding your true self doesn’t signify insecurity, we don’t know what does. This “nice guy” lacks authenticity because he doesn’t think the true him is acceptable. By putting on a front, he’s getting validation and approval which further proves to him that his real self isn’t worthy of acceptance. It’s a vicious cycle.

12. He apologizes way too much.

Even when it’s not his fault, a toxic “nice guy” will tell you he’s sorry. He has an insecurity about being perceived badly by others so, he prioritizes keeping the peace over asserting his needs. We all love a guy who can take ownership of his mistakes and admit when he’s wrong. But when a guy excessively apologizes? It shows his insecurity (not to mention, that it’s kind of annoying).

13. He portrays himself as the victim.

guy covering his face with phone

When he victimizes himself, it’s a sign of insecurity. This behavior serves as a coping mechanism to deflect accountability—he’s the “nice guy” after all, he couldn’t have done anything wrong. This is a manipulation tactic used to get sympathy from those around him and further serve his deep need to be told he’s worthy, capable, and can’t do wrong.

14. He tells you how nice he is.

Happy male person face home portrait. Blue eyes looking at camera close up. Joyful bristle surfer man long hair. Smiling shy guy. Kind casual people. Young adult hippie inside house. Hipster hairstyle

You know by now that he has a deep-seated need for validation and approval. When he tells you how nice he is, that’s his insecurities showing. By repeatedly emphasizing his niceness, he can get recognition from those around him. We’ll let you in on a little secret: actually nice people don’t need to tell you how nice they are.

15. He doesn’t challenge other people.

smiling young man in front of pink wall

One of his worst insecurities (and thus, fears) in life is being seen as disagreeable. Gasp. By not confronting different opinions head-on or holding other people accountable, he thinks he’s being nice but it’s actually unhealthy. All relationships need open communication and being challenged is how you grow.

16. He gets passive-aggressive.

Nothing screams insecurity more than indirectly expressing your frustrations. A “nice guy” won’t openly address his feelings in a healthy way. Nope, he’ll subtly communicate his dissatisfaction because he lacks confidence in his ability to be assertive. The potential consequences that could come from expressing his anger aren’t worth it to him.

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Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.