How To Stop People Pleasing And Start Facing Conflict

I recently got this email about the problem of people-pleasing and avoiding conflict:


I read ur article about fear of conflict and laughed hysterically. Ure fkn brave man! I like ur eastern take on things too where ure aware and u breathe n things. I recognize me being a people-pleaser too and I'm shitless afraid confronting people and coming into conflict. How do i go about it? Do I just do it? How do i do it if the other part is childish and runs from u like a scared little bitch? I want to please everyone but inside i know i HAVE to come into conflict cus i cant escape it. I have to let others know when they're being retarded. I focus too much about making others happy n i cant see em sad. Is this wrong? I think its good to be this compassionate and nice but the more i read up on it somethings telling me this kind of people pleasing is bad for u and ur future. and others?"!?!?! But isn't that another layer I'm adding to it? Stopping people pleasing to please others even further?!?! SO FUCKED UP. WHATS THE POINT OF LIVING WITHOUT VALIDATION and ATTENTION OUTSIDE YOU. FUUUCK. SEEELF IMAGE WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT. WHATS THE PURPOSE of FKN LIFE?!?!

I hear your anger and frustration. This sounds like a classic example of how obsessive people-pleasing and avoidance of conflict undermines your sense of self to the point where your life seems meaningless without external validation. Here's how to fix it: [caption id="attachment_3014" align="alignright" width="300"] Obsessive people pleasing and avoidance of conflict will eventually crush you.[/caption] At the core of people-pleasing behavior is anxiety, most likely anxiety about being abandoned or unloved. My guess is that you're afraid that you won't survive physically or emotionally without the approval of people around you. The way to tackle this fear is to stop seeking other people's approval, build a life that is meaningful for you even without external validation and discover that you not only survive; you thrive. The big irony here is that the less you seek other people's approval, the more likable you will become to most people in the long run. That sounds great in theory, but the only way to really discover it for yourself is to take the journey yourself; and since the biggest impediment to doing this is the anxiety, that's what I'm going to focus on. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago

Learn To Say "No"

Hey, it's Graham here again and today I want to teach you about learning to say no. This is a basic assertiveness skill that a lot of guys like myself who are recovering nice guys tend to struggle with. It's the whole being able to say no when other people request things of us that we don't really want to do. Often we've had a lifetime where we've been taught that the nice thing to do is to say yes to people, to help people out, to be the nice guy, to give other people what they want, and sometimes we take it too far and we end up doing things for other people at our own expense. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago

How Elliot Rodger Got It All Wrong About Girls

You may have already seen the whiny, complaining videos from Elliot Rodger, the gunman in the recent Santa Barbara shootings. While I'm loath to give posthumous fame to someone who takes out his pain and anger in such a destructive manner, the guy does have a lot to teach about how not to approach the topic of being successful with women. Unfortunately Elliot never reached out to me for coaching, so I couldn't help him. There are countless other life, dating and confidence coaches on the internet who could also have made a huge difference. Plenty of YouTube videos from dating coaches would have taught him what he needed, had he bothered to put it into practice. I've read somewhere that he was getting professional help at the time of the shooting, but clearly it didn't give him the skills he needed to change his world view or deal with his pain and anger. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago

Converting Business Success Into Confidence With Women

I know a bunch of guys who are very successful in their careers, but still lack confidence with women. Coming from an engineering background originally, my experience has been that career success doesn't always translate automatically into feeling confident interacting with girls. In fact, some of what we learn as men about being successful vocationally can work against us when it comes to the fairer sex.

Cute girl in a bikini with a laptop

Success in Business May Not Translate Into Success With Women

Women want a well-rounded guy who is successful in business but they also need to be able to connect and relate to us in order to get to know us more deeply. The biggest mistake I see successful career guys making with women is attempting to apply the same strategies that work for them in the business world to their relationships with women. After a few relationship failures, the once confident guy's self-confidence starts going down the tubes as he blames himself for not getting the relationship he wants; or even worse he becomes bitter and resentful of women for not liking and accepting him the way he is. The problem isn't him; the problem is the strategy he's using unconsciously to connect with women, and simply changing strategy can make all the difference.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Do Women Really Want Men To Be Vulnerable?

I'm a big fan of Brené Brown's TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. I keep coming back to watch it again every few months, and it never fails to move me each time I do. It reminds me that authenticity, connection and vulnerability are the keys to freedom while guilt, fear, shame and disconnection are the bars of the jail cell in which I've lived so much of my life. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend you watch it now.

And then watch this awesome follow-up titled Listening To Shame where Brené talks about the impact on her life of having the first talk go viral. After telling the conference of her research-induced breakdown (a.k.a. spiritual enlightenment), the video went viral with four million hits on the Internet. She went into a meltdown and didn't leave the house for three days because of a vulnerability hangover. That's the feeling that we get when we reveal something we're ashamed of in front of other people. It's the reason we avoid revealing our true selves to others: we know there's likely to be an unpleasant emotional reaction within us at the thought of other people knowing the parts of us and our story that we don't like.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How to Get Over the Girl Who Ripped Your Heart Out

Ever had a girl break your heart so badly you thought you'd never recover? Couldn't get her off your mind? Desperate to get her back? Then you might find John's story helpful; and besides, I need to debrief to get this guy out of my system.

I met John in a youth hostel while on a winter road trip up the east coast of Australia in search of warmer weather. He seemed like a decent guy who was always cracking jokes, and before long the two of us were entertaining some of the other backpackers with our stories of adventure and comic irony.

John seemed intrigued when I mentioned that I was a recovering perfectionist, and asked me several times to elaborate about that. I told him the story of how I had a fulfilling engineering career up until the point where I decided I didn't enjoy it any more and decided to change direction. He could relate: John had studied law, and hated every minute of it. Then he'd joined the military, and he'd hated that too. He hated prosecuting people who hadn't done anything wrong, and in general his conscience bothered him a lot. He was from California, which he hated because it was being over-run with Mexicans.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago
Self Esteem

Stem Cell Research Offers Hope To Men With Backbone Injuries

Embryonic stem cell research is offering new hope to millions of men who suffer daily from the effects of backbone injuries acquired during childhood and adolescence. According to Dr Gung-Ho at the University of Penisilvania Medical Centre, this new treatment could offer a permanent cure to men suffering from a specific type of spinal injury that has been dubbed Nice Guy Syndrome.

“I see these guys in my clinic all the time”, says Dr Gung-Ho. “Their condition usually results from an injury to their backbone during childhood or adolescence, often caused by a domineering mother crushing their spirit between the second and third vertebrae”. Dr Gung-Ho also cites a lack of strong fathering as a significant factor in these injuries. “It really has terrible impact on their confidence and self-esteem.”, he says, “These guys grow into spineless men barely able to stand up... for themselves. They suffer teasing and ridicule at school, and never reach their full potential in life. They can't walk tall, so women either avoid them or relegate them to the 'friend zone'. It's a very frustrating condition.”


Regular Guy vs Typical Nice Guy Syndrome Sufferer


A clinical trial of a radical new treatment is currently under way at the university using injections of embryonic stem cells to regrow the backbone in affected men.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How to Soothe Anxiety by Identifying and Releasing Attachments

I was just listening to The New Man Podcast interview with Robert Glover talking about Nice Guy Syndrome, where Dr Glover points out that the underlying cause of the nice guy's dysfunctional behaviour is anxiety. Anyone familiar with Buddhist philosophy will be aware that attachment causes suffering, but Robert points out that attachment also causes anxiety.

We can't avoid anxiety altogether, so we need to learn how to soothe it within ourselves. The solution is to identify what particular attachment is causing anxiety when we feel it, and consciously let the attachment go each time in occurs. Whenever we feel anxious ask the question:

What am I attached to right now?

Then take a deep breath, and think "I'm letting go of being attached to X".

For me, examples are:

  • I'm attached to being well, when I'm feeling ill.
  • I'm attached to her liking me, when I'm talking to a pretty woman.
  • I'm attached to being successful, when I'm working on my business.
  • I'm attached to getting good comments, when I'm writing a new blog post.
  • I'm attached to this being a best-seller, when I'm working on writing a book.
  • I'm attached to getting it right/perfect first time, when I'm trying something new.
Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago
Self Esteem

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert A. Glover

No More Mr. Nice Guy!

The most striking thing I notice that guys who lack confidence and struggle to attract the women they want in their lives have in common is Nice Guy Syndrome. This affliction is characterised by the constant seeking of approval from other people (especially women), an intense fear of rejection, and a misguided belief that we can get our needs met by always being unfailingly “nice” and inoffensive to other people.

Dr. Robert A. Glover is a therapist who works primarily with men who are suffering from Nice Guy Syndrome. As a recovering Nice Guy himself, he has a special insight into Nice Guy Syndrome, and why it is such an ineffective way of getting our needs met as a man. I first heard about his book No More Mr. Nice Guy on one of David DeAngelo's Interviews With Dating Gurus series, and immediately recognised the Nice Guy traits Dr. Glover described, in myself. One of the most telling things was actually a quote from his ex-wife, who told him: “How do I know that you will stand up for me, if you can't even stand up to me?”

The basic working paradigm of the typical Nice Guy that Dr.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago
Self Esteem

Recovering From Nice Guy Syndrome

When I start hearing the same message coming at me from multiple independent sources, that usually gets my attention. Last year I kept hearing that women want men with backbone who they can “push up against”. They get tired and ultimately resentful of Nice Guys who always yield powerlessly to them, and everyone else.

Nice guy syndrome is caused by too much anxiety and not enough confidence.

I listened to an interview recently where Robert Glover described what is wrong with Nice Guys most succinctly by quoting a comment from his ex-wife, who said “How would I know that you could ever stand up for me, if you can't even stand up to me?”. Robert calls it Nice Guy Syndrome in his book titled No More Mr. Nice Guy! He points out that while Nice Guys think that what they are doing will please other people, ultimately it just leads to resentment. In short, it really pisses women off.

At Passionately Alive, Nicholas talked about the importance of having relationships with people who meet us where we are at, with a similar level of passion. Women want guys who don't just collapse or run away in the face of strong emotions, whether they be the pleasant or unpleasant variety.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago