"There's nothing to hate about Marianne. She's little and friendly and she will lend you anything."
The Nice Guy (or Girl) is nice
. Maybe not a saint
, but definitely not unpleasant
or an edgy rebel
. They're friendly, psychologically well-balanced, morally average
(if not better
) and in short, someone anyone would like to be around and have as a friend
, which is often what they are to the hero and/or his extended cast. He won't engage in jerk-like behavior
, but probably responds in kind to Vitriolic Best Buds
Want to know what writers think of that? "Boring!"
. This is because they can be conflict null zones romantically and dramatically because of a perceived (or real)
lack of depth.
Along with the Happily Married
couple, the Nice Guy is among fiction's "favorite" Friendly Targets
. They'll die senselessly to motivate
their hero buddy, lose the girl to the more dynamic but unstable Dogged Nice Guy
or just in general go through constant torment from the world around them
On the other hand, if done right, it can demonstrate why a guy has beautiful women attached to him: he really is a remarkably wonderful and compassionate person. The Nice Guy can be engaging, likable or The Protagonist
; all it takes is giving them a personality outside of "nice" such as: a scholarly refinement
, a chivalric attitude
, some engaging relationships, and a pinch of Hidden Depths
Nor does it mean being nice means they're not tough
, or an Iron Woobie
. If combat intellect
or combat ability are involved, it's akin to Obfuscating Stupidity
or Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
because you naturally expect
, tormented loner
to be rough and tough, and the nice guy to be a Non-Action Guy
. So when it comes time for "No more Mr. Nice Guy"
, heads roll
. On the other hand, with the All of the Other Reindeer
trope in play, the nice fellow can be a redeeming factor as a person whom the beleaguered hero realizes is on his side and lets him know he's not alone
. Unless the nice guy is the beleaguered hero, then he's screwed.
Often, authors go the abbreviated route and give them a Dark and Troubled Past
triggered by a Berserk Button
. Either way, you can expect their niceness to be in spite
of whatever tragedy
or drama is in their lives; kind of an equal and opposite reaction to it. If done too suddenly, it implies a level of secrecy and acting that a Stepford Smiler
would be jealous of. When done well, a more troubled character will rebuff their advice or friendship
with "What do you know? You've never had X happen to you!
" to his "I did
", thus revealing healed-over scars.
Furthermore, the Nice Guy trope can overlap with Innocently Insensitive
, in which case the character can be just as insufferable at times as the Jerk with a Heart of Gold
or even the Jerkass
, but not at all mean-spirited like them. However, if the setting is comedic with many Chew Toys
around, you can't always count on them to be the sympathetic ones
(though this tends to only happen in anime and manga).
Note: this trope is referring to genuine
Nice Guys, not the other sort of "Nice Guy"
(aka the Dogged Nice Guy
), which is more of a Bastard in Sheep's Clothing
(usually with major Casanova Wannabe
tendencies). Entitled to Have You
is the trope for that concept. Also, if the Nice Guy has a rougher male as his Foil
, they're a Noble Male, Roguish Male
or Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
Occasionally, however, the treatment go the other way around: Perhaps in a world set upon Black and Grey Morality
, and Gray and Grey Morality
, this Nice Guy actually stands out because he IS a Nice Guy, he doesn't have the excuse to be cynical or mean, nor does he need to have a tragic backstory. He's that nice, friendly and helpful... that he eventually becomes a fan-favorite
due to how much he stands out amongst the more cynical cast members, a refreshing breeze to say.
If he does
get the girl, it's Single Woman Seeks Good Man
. Usually, the result of Upbringing Makes the Hero
. Though watch out
if you've pressed his Berserk Button
. Exact oppositions of this trope are: Jerkass
, Lack of Empathy
, Jerk with a Heart of Jerk
and the Complete Monster
(extreme opposition). If the villain is a Nice Guy in spite of his evil deeds, then he qualifies as Affably Evil
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