Nice men who are deeply troubled inside often display these 9 subtle behaviors

The term “nice guy” has taken on a complex meaning in our modern world.

On the surface, it conjures up images of politeness, chivalry, and genuine kindness. 

However, occasionally the “nice guy” persona disguises a much deeper and hidden turmoil.

Understanding the subtle signs of a man wrestling with internal struggles is important, as it opens up channels for empathy, support, and perhaps even healing.

Remember, kind people can be troubled too, and you never really know the struggles someone else is going through.

So, let’s explore 9 subtle behaviors that may signal a kind man is also deeply troubled:

1) People-pleasing tendencies

An excessive need to please others, often at the expense of their own comfort or security, can be a red flag. 

This might manifest as agreeing to absolutely everything, an inability to say ‘no’, or constantly prioritizing the needs of others above their own. 

While generosity is admirable, consistent self-sacrifice indicates a lack of healthy boundaries and self-worth.

So keep an eye out for the saccharine sweet nice guy, who bends over backwards to please everyone else. He might well be having a hard time on the inside.

2) Hiding away negative emotions

Society often pressures men to suppress feelings like sadness, anger, or vulnerability.

A man who never fails to present a cheery or stoic demeanor might be suppressing a sea of unexpressed emotions

So watch out for forced smiles that don’t quite meet the eyes, fluid changes in conversation subjects when difficult emotions arise, or an inability to get vulnerable and open up about their true feelings.

3) Terrified of conflict

Disagreements lead to conflict, and conflict means the potential of clashing heads or falling upon bad terms with the person on the other side.

As a result, troubled or insecure men often go to great lengths to avoid any situation that might result in things getting heated.

This fear can lead to passive-aggressive behaviors (which we’ll explore below), suppressed but seething resentment, or a tendency to sweep problems under the rug. 

And whilst it’s healthy to choose your battles, constant conflict avoidance signals that something may be amiss, plus leads to all that resentment bubbling up eventually.

4) Poor boundary setting

As we covered above, people-pleasing is an innate trait found in many nice yet troubled individuals.

Owing to a lack of trust or desire to please, they often struggle to establish healthy boundaries and protect their peace.

Yet boundaries are absolutely vital for emotional well-being. 

However, someone who consistently says ‘yes’ when they really want to say ‘no’, allow others to take advantage of them, or have trouble expressing their needs clearly, likely needs to work on setting better limits to protect themselves.

5) “I’m sorry!” (all the time)

There is nothing wrong with taking responsibility for genuine mistakes, and many of us could work a little harder to own up and say sorry for our wrongdoings.

However, a man who constantly apologizes unnecessarily, even for actions he himself has not committed, may be carrying a burden of low self-esteem or shame.

Excessive apologizing may indicate that he internalizes blame or feels undeserving of positive experiences.

Equally, he might feel so desperate to be accepted that he’ll open his arms to a heat he has not personally caused.

6) Extremely self-critical and overly perfectionist

Perfectionism and a desperate need to perform only at your best are often driven by an unhealthy fear of failure

Beating yourself up about anything short of perfection can be a debilitating symptom of deep-seated insecurity.

Someone who sets impossibly high standards for themselves tends to tear their performance and behaviors apart, or is crushed by the weight of disappointment at the smallest of setbacks.

7) Struggles with intimacy & lasting relationships

Enjoyable intimacy and genuine connection require a good dose of vulnerability on both sides. 

Someone struggling silently with unresolved trauma or emotional baggage has likely created a carefully constructed facade and hidden away their emotions (as we covered above).

And whilst building these tall walls around your soft bits might protect you for a while, appearing so emotionally distant can cause huge issues when it comes to intimacy and maintaining lasting relationships

These nice guys might initially appear cheerful and joyous, but any attempts to dive below this outer shell will likely be met with firm resistance and cool aloofness.

8) Places dates and potential lovers on a pedestal

Although these nice-but-somewhat-caged individuals might not open up and trust all too quickly, they tend to have a bad habit of placing people they’ve just met up on a pedestal.

This typically happens in the early stages of a relationship or when pursuing someone new, and can reveal an unhealthy desire for external validation or a deep-rooted fear of being alone

Unfortunately, idealizations, fantasies, and a tendency to overlook red flags or excuse problematic behaviors are a bad combination for starting off strong when it comes to love.

In addition, rushing headlong into relationships without truly getting to know the other person is something commonly seen in these idealists – so don’t be too surprised if they lovebomb you and then disappear.

9) Passive-aggressive behavior

Finally, one of the least tasteful traits amongst these men is their use of passive-aggressive behavior or language.

Typically unable to express negative emotions directly, they resort to passive-aggressive responses – think sarcasm, subtle digs, silent treatment, or ‘forgetting’ to do things they’ve agreed to. 

This is their indirect and unhealthy way of expressing anger or hurt, often masking personal unresolved issues and poor communication skills.


Understanding these behaviors is the first step toward offering support and encouraging healing. 

If you notice these signs in a friend, loved one, or even within yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Offer a listening ear, encourage open communication, and consider suggesting resources for professional help if needed.

Remember, genuine kindness extends to those struggling within, too. The journey towards healthier relationships and self-awareness often begins with seeking support.

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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