Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies who will dazzle you with insight on various topics. After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World
For this week, Denise chose: Can a person be too nice?
I was thinking about the practicality of niceties while driving earlier today. The fact that so many of us tread lightly when it comes to forking over the dreaded “NO” word, apologizing profusedly when we feel we’re letting someone down. It’s a burden I am well-acquainted with, considering I’m one of those people. You know, the ones who feel guilty when we can’t be everything to everyone.
The first word that sprang to my mind in response to this blog topic was fear. When someone is overly nice, it’s out of fear. Fear of being rejected, fear of letting someone down and dealing with that impending guilt. Fear of someone else’s disappointment. I know a lot about this topic because I’ve lived this topic for many years. Childhood taught me that sweetness was a a lot more attractive than meanness, and I rolled right along with that snowball. Soon, I lost control of myself. I couldn’t say no to anyone, and when others would ask me for my opinion, I’d make sure the response I gave was tailor-made to make that person feel good. Even at the risk of hurting myself and keeping my true feelings locked up tight.
I never want to hurt someone, period. I take my relationships with others seriously. Even when I felt the warning pangs in my gut that would tell me I shouldn’t do something, I’d do it anyway because it was pleasing the other person. (Those who are overly nice are usually people pleasers, too. The two go hand-in-hand). I’d continue on with unhealthy relationships out of sheer necessity. I’d bend over backwards and do whatever it took to hold onto someone. Often, I wasn’t being real with them, or myself.
I read an article regarding this topic on Psychology Today. Here’s a checklist to help you determine if you are “too nice”:
- Do you have a hard time saying “no” to others’ requests, even when they’re unreasonable?
- Do you often find yourself under-appreciated and taken for granted?
- Do you believe you’re being taken advantage of at work or in your personal relationships?
- Do you let people give you thankless tasks they don’t want to do themselves?
- Do you often go along with what others say and want, even if you feel differently deep down?
- Does your kindness and self-giving often go unreciprocated?
- Are you afraid of being rejected if you don’t go along with certain people’s whims and demands?
- Do you take care of others first and yourself last?
Like the article mentions, being a nice person is a healthy way to be. Most people don’t want to live life as a curmudgeon. However, living a life where you overdo it to please others and don’t feel you can be honest with yourself or your loved ones can be an incredibly detrimental experience.
So, how did I learn how to say “when”?
The biggest factor for me was my maturity. I wanted everyone to like me in my younger years. Now-the older I get, the less I care. I just don’t have the time to devote to worrying about pleasing everyone every second of every day. I do the best I can with what I’ve got, and if it’s not enough? Shrug.
I’m learning how to say “no”. It might not be as firm as I’d like it to be, and I still have hiccups. Totally a learning curve.
I have a voice and it doesn’t always sound like everyone else’s. That’s OK.
Setting boundaries is healthy, and it doesn’t mean I’m not being agreeable. It means I’m doing what works for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t turned into a grouch. Not yet, anyway. I consider myself to be a fairly nice person. I am there for my friends and loved ones. I do what I can to help someone in need, yet I don’t fade off into the background and forget that I’m still there, too. At times, it can feel as though I’m walking a very fine line between being nice, and being “too nice”. It’s still a work in progress for me.
Now it’s your turn: What are your thoughts on being “too nice”?