It’s Not Always Nice to be Nice
Do you pride yourself on being agreeable, considerate, thoughtful and nice? Do you view yourself as easy to get along with? Sensitive to the needs of others? Conscientious? With good manners and a good heart?
That’s all admirable. And laudable. But, watch out! For being nice has its downside. Like feeling unappreciated, even exploited. Like being disappointed when others do not reciprocate in kind. Like having those nice feelings morph into nasty feelings when your self-sacrifice is unappreciated, or worse, unnoticed.
When nice people make decisions or compromise their interests in an effort to make others happy or to avoid conflict, trouble is often a-brewing. In other words, it’s not always nice to be nice. If being nice is your top priority, expect some unpleasant results. Here are a few of the ways being nice can turn on you.
1. Rearranging Your Life For Others
If you are frequently rearranging your life to accommodate others, reflect on your options before conceding to what someone else wants. At times you may choose to modify your plans. Other times, however, you may need to keep to your own agenda.
Either way, make a choice rather than thinking that you have no choice but to yield. And even if you feel guilty about not accommodating someone else, a little guilt is better than seething inwardly and feeling taken advantage of.
If you are often frazzled by work, fried by responsibilities and resentful that you have no time to do anything that you yourself want to do, being nice is probably your nemesis. Guard against taking on tasks until you’re overwrought -- simply to please someone else or to do what you think is the responsible thing. Avoid the inclination to solve others’ problems or take over their responsibilities.
Learn to live by rules that make sense to you, instead of by the dictates of others or the no longer relevant lessons of childhood. Saying “no” more often (especially when you’re thinking “no”) will help you to establish priorities and set more reasonable limits on your time and energy. Plus an unexpected bonus: it will empower you and build character. For the more you learn to say “no”, the greater value your “yes” will have.
3. Apologizing Profusely
If you are always the first one to jump in and say you're sorry, (and say it not just once but repeatedly), you may be trying too hard to be nice. The nasty after affects: feeling taken advantage of and wondering why it is always you who is eating humble pie.
When you do apologize, be clear about what you are sorry for. Do not malign yourself. Do not repeat yourself. You made a mistake. It’s not the end of the earth. After a simple apology, focus on problem solving or segue to another topic.
Of course being nice is not all bad. Indeed, we need more nice people in this world. So, do not alter your basic tendency to be nice and agreeable and thoughtful. Just modify your inclination to undervalue yourself and to compromise your personal interests.