A Nice Guy or a Great Guy? The 10% Difference

by Eric Disco
Jul 1

Being great with women can be confusing. Guys get a lot of mixed messages.

Don’t be the nice guy. Yet be warm and friendly with her.

Be genuinely interested in her and excited about what she’s saying. But don’t suck up to her.

Hold yourself strong and confidently. But don’t be guarded.

Be aggressive and make the moves. But don’t creep her out.

When I first got into this stuff it was exasperating. “Just tell me what to do!” I felt like yelling at people. Am I supposed to be nice or not nice?!

The answer, as usual, is not quite so simple. It requires an understanding of how we as human beings interact on a social level and how we as individuals function and deal with fear.

The “natural” leader amongst any group of people, the alpha male as it were, is also the coolest guy in the group.

He’s not the most aggressive and dominating necessarily. He is gregarious and friendly and leads the interactions with a friendly air.

He typically makes everyone else in the group feel good about themselves.

So what is the difference between the leader, the coolest guy in the group, who is pleasant with everyone, and the nice guy, who is also pleasant with everyone?

There is a 10% difference between the two. But that 10% is very important.

Paul Gilbert writes about the social hierarchy of school children and primates and points out the difference between the leader and other members of the group.

Several studies of social behavior in “natural” groups of pre school children have shown that the leader is not the most aggressive individual. Indeed, among primates as well as human children (Barner-Barry, 1977; Montagner, 1978; Strayer, 1978; 1981), it is typically the number 2 male in the dominance hierarchy that exhibits aggressive threat most frequently.

The leader, in contrast, tends to be more self-assured–for example, capable of appeasing conflicts between others in the group as well as serving as a focus of limitation or observation (Maclay & Knipe, 1972; Montagner et al., 1978).

As leaders may need to exhibit aggression on occasion, particularly when directly challenged, they are thus more frequently observed in appeasement or facilitating roles in human groups (and among some primates with comparable, face-to-face, social processes).

The leader, while being friendly, is capable of showing aggression and dominance when it is required.

Most of the time, he can be friendly and build up those around him in a positive way.

But it is known to all members of the group that he has the capability to make the move, to take control when the time comes.

A lot of my growth when it comes to being successful with women has been within that 10% difference.

When I am connecting with a woman, when she is telling me things about herself, most of the time I am warm and receptive.

But 10% of the time I don’t approve of what she is telling me.

This makes it clear to her that I am not just sucking up to her like most guys do. I am treating her like a human being.

I actually practiced, for a certain amount of time when talking to women, finding something to disagree with. It was usually somewhat negligible, but I would still assert that I wasn’t into it.

After a while I didn’t even need to do this as much–they would hear it in my voice. I sounded more genuine.

I was at one time afraid to sexually escalate with women. And they could sense it.

It’s great to tease women and make them wait. But if I am afraid to make that move in the first place she will sense it.

It needs to be clear between the two of us that I am willing and unafraid to make the move.

That is why I went out for a month and practiced escalating very fast with women, much faster than I was used to.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  I escalated so hard that I lost a few interactions with women.

But I was becoming comfortable with making the move.

After going out for a month and escalating hard, I could pull back and be a bit smoother because there was no hesitation; I knew exactly when to escalate.

So what is the difference between the nice guy and the group leader who is also warm and friendly?

The nice guy, without that 10% aggression, is always nice. He cannot operate in any other mode.

He is afraid of conflict.

He cannot possibly tolerate the idea that maybe the woman does not view him as completely 100% acceptable.

So he is constantly checking in to see if she approves of him. This is known as being NEEDY.

He NEEDS to know if she approves of him, if everything is okay, if he hasn’t done something too aggressive that would generate disapproval.

The coolest guy in the group, by contrast, has the 10% aggressiveness, those cajones, to RISK people not approving of him.

He has experienced making the move and now knows exactly when assertiveness is needed.

For the most part he can be open, unguarded and relaxed. Yet he still oozes the confidence to do what needs to get done, when it needs to get done.

That’s the guy you want to be. You want to be the guy who’s taken action, who’s built his confidence.

When that 10% lies within you it makes all the difference in the world.


posted in Initiative and Inhibition

10 responses
eldiablo says:

Hello Eric..
very good article as always.. i just wanted to ask, what did you do to “escalating fast”.. because this is my sticking point as well

Rendez says:

It’s funny how I’m still on the way but in the right track, how I can identify myself with every point yet I’m still hitting the wrong ball sometimes or maybe not but not returning it 100% precise.

Great article, there’s no much info about leadership like the statements you’ve made.

Cameron says:

Awesome post man, I totally dig it.

Neil says:

I feel like I can easily challenge and disagree with people verbally, but am very hesitant to escalate until a lot of different conditions are met. For example – is this girl someone I admire and respect? If so, is she attractive enough that I’d want to date her? Are we on the same wavelength intellectually and sexually? If those things aren’t established, I assume it’s going to be a waste of time and emotional energy to escalate much with her.

Unless I push myself or am extremely comfortable, I’m generally pretty guarded with my space and my use of touch. I guess my main thing is that I don’t want to feel fake, or offend someone by invading their space. This happened to me recently – I was at a pool party, and a girl kind of randomly jumped into my arms so that I was carrying her. Call me a Victorian prude, but it always feels so weird to me when girls are hanging off of me and I barely know them. Do you know what I mean? Plus, I think it made me feel less attracted because they looked needy or slutty when doing so.

Anyway, I’m on my way to a martial arts class tonight and think I’m going to challenge myself to be more social, fun, and appropriately touchy-feely with all the cute girls there.

Any thoughts/comments welcomed.

Ben says:

Great post, Eric. You’re right about the contradictions we face, and that there is truth to both sides of the contradictions – it’s learning to balance them that makes us great.

Keep up the awesome writing.

schwabsauce says:

Neil, I identified with a lot of this post but also with what you said, so I want to put this out there from a perspective you and Eric can hopefully both recognize.

For one thing, don’t have too many abstractions associated with touching! It’s a very practical part of life that happens to be very enjoyable. But don’t let the pleasure make you think it’s bad. You’re not assuming anything by touching someone casually, it’s typically appropriate and appreciated and guys like you and I withhold it needlessly. By touching someone you’re showing respect for their judgement and their ability to deal with unexpected stuff in a mature way (which is a key part of disagreeing, as Eric explained). Being a little playful and expecting the same also shows that you are confident in your status as an adult and don’t feel the need to put on a front.

There are excuses evident everywhere in what you wrote, but that’s ok! You’ve identified them and exposed them to be dismantled. Now we can recognize ourselves in your words and see the truth in Eric’s. It’s great to be careful about who you spend your time on, but you aren’t going to find out if you’re on the same intellectual wavelength with a girl until you touch her and drop the barriers. And even if you’re unsure, it’s not a waste of time! It will help you be ready when the really smart, sexy girls are giving you butterflies. And it will help the girl relax and show you her attractive side.

Neil says:

Thanks for the reply, schwabsauce. You’re right – I need to let down my barriers more and just practice being comfortable with touch. Especially with attractive women, but also with men. I’ve noticed that touching guys in a friendly manner (say, hand on their shoulder) shows confidence and makes you look alpha-male-like.

Definitely a taboo/pattern from childhood, I think, that I need to work through…

AaronS says:

Wow, this is really well written. I thought it had the right amount of insight, personal experience, and heck even science (who knew it was good for something!). Seriously though, thanks for posting this. I think the 10% recommendation is perfect because there are a lot of ‘coaches’ telling decent guys to be jerks or alpha males, and the glove just doesn’t fit. This is a realistic enough change that most guys can make.

Jerome says:

Awesome article, insightful and cool, and quality comments as well.

Ezekial Little says:

how do i get this 10% edge to me?
As a young African American male, relationships tend to be very muddled on both male and females on our race.