BY CLARA MASSEY
In such a crazed world we live in, it’s good to be nice, right? But if we’re too nice, it can serve as a detriment. I was once a pushover who didn’t know my limits. I used to think that being agreeable was the way to go—and it still is—but I needed to know my limits first.
It may seem strange, but I’m 27 years old, and I’m just now learning how to be assertive and stand up for myself. But hey, I guess it’s good to learn at any age, right? I learned fairly recently with my boss. She’s been a hard-to-please woman with seemingly little to no patience ever since I started my job. I’ve always been incredibly shy, soft-spoken, and quiet. As crazy as it may seem, I’ve gotten used to her being so harsh. But one day, she was pushing and criticizing me so hard that I emotionally broke down on my way home that night. I reached my limit. I thought, “I’ve been quiet and gentle for way too long. I can’t keep acting like my boss’s harshness is not affecting me because it is. It’s time for me to speak up and address her!”
So that’s what I did the next time I saw her. I approached my boss with a palpitating heart and shaky limbs and calmly told her, in a nutshell, “If you want me to perform better at my job, you need to be easier on me.” From that day forward, my boss was a lot less harsh on me, and my work is slowly improving! Whew!
I share my experience to say that when it comes to being too nice, learning our limits comes with experience; we will not just know what they are right off the gate. This is one of the ultimate fixes for being too nice: we must know our limitations and speak up when someone (knowingly or unknowingly) pushes us too far. We must also know that being assertive does not make us jerks but rather makes us strong and courageous.
“So, being too nice can be detrimental, you say?” Yeah…I know this sounds strange, and it may or may not be a surprise, but being overly nice can be off-putting for most people. It’s considered unattractive if you’re trying to attract the opposite sex. For example, men do like nice women, but a woman who is too nice and friendly can come across as “easy.” But easy is boring. Men want a little bit of firmness and resistance up front because it urges them to keep fighting to win you over.
Also, being overly nice isn’t good because people may see it as weakness and will more than likely take advantage of you…that is if you let them. I’m not saying that kindness is weakness—because it’s actually a strength—but being too kind is. This is where learning and knowing our limits strikes in. We simply cannot let others abuse our kindness. We have to lay the line somewhere and just learn to say, “Nope!”
People who are too nice also have a tendency to neglect their own needs and desires. I am guilty of this. We are so apt to put others first and please them, that we inadvertently neglect ourselves. It’s a harsh, yet true, reality. So when you serve food for your guests, please remember to save a plate for yourself so that you won’t go hungry (catch the metaphor?).
Here are some helpful tips for those of us who are too nice: 1) Know your limits and set them! 2) Know the kind of people you are dealing with. Are they the kind who will see your kindness as weakness and take advantage of you? Are they habitually harsh and critical if you allow them to be? Take it from someone who used to be “way too nice,” – dealing with hardy personalities will more than likely motivate you to put that foot down. And finally: 3) Please remember to be nice to yourself. It’s beautiful to give to others, but you better save a plate for you!