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Nice Guy
aka: Nicegirl

"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, obnoxious 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 the dark, 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.

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 duo.

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. You should beware this nice guy should you press 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).


Example subpages:


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alternative title(s): Nice Girl; Nice Gal
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