This morning, I woke up with a whirl of thoughts playing on my mind. And of course, being the obsessed writer that I am, I decided to put pen to paper… figuratively. We are currently in times when we need to be caring and considerate of others, more so than before. But what happens when you people take advantage? Is there such a concept as being ‘too nice’, or should every human aspire to be nicer than the next? As my sleep was sub-optimal last night, these are some of the things that plagued my mind. So I thought I would share my thoughts with you.
Is it possible to be too nice?
With events like Black Lives Matter and Trump’s impeachment being the most recent reminders that humans are seriously flawed, I could not help but wonder if it is possible to go too far in the opposite direction. When it comes to love, I personally don’t think that there is such a thing as loving too much or caring too much. I apply the same logic to niceness, but there is such a thing as being too nice to certain people. Before you disagree, I’ll give a few examples of scenarios where being too nice is actually a thing.
As an employee and team player, you always let your colleagues pick their preferred leave days even if it means that you need to cancel your own plans. Or you are staying in a relationship with someone who is disrespectful and unfaithful towards you because you know they are broken inside. Or maybe you are even avoiding the conversation with your boss about a raise because you feel like it will be confrontational.
And now I ask again, do you think it is possible to be too nice?
Signs you are too nice:
You are being taken advantage of
Adding a touch of my personal experiences, I will refer to a time when my siblings and I all lived under my dad’s roof. One of my brothers had a way with words. And unlike me, he used his talents in more than just poetry and stories. My brother was such a sweet talker that he would make my sisters and I do his laundry, make him food, clean up after him. We were even hoaxed into giving away our personal belongings so as to help him reach his goals! It sounds quite strange now that I think about it, but back then, we were just happy to be nice.
Although my personal experience is very specific, this is a clear example of what being taken advantage of looks like. It can also present itself as finding that you are constantly serving others and never fulfilling your own wishes. In isolated events, that is not a bad thing, but when prolonged, that is very questionable.
You feel bad when you say no
I’ve addressed the act of saying no in a previous blog post – if you missed it, do take a moment to read. If you have, I’m hoping that you now agree that saying no is not a bad thing. If, however, you feel guilty each time you take a stance and say no, chances are, you’re too nice. Personally, I like to look at life through two lenses; what is best for me and what is best for those around me. The reason why these two are very important is that sometimes, saying no can actually be your saving grace. It will keep you out of trouble or ensure that you are not sacrificing more important things.
On the flip side, sometimes saying no to things like parties, or lending money to your sibling who doesn’t want to get a stable job will help them more than caving in. Take this with a pinch of salt, because if you are saying no to things just because, you may be on the opposite end of the spectrum. You could do with a dash of kindness.
You are overworked and underpaid
When it comes to succeeding in the corporate world or even in university, you need to work hard to get results. But where does hard work end and being taken advantage of kick in? Well, there is the obvious and the not-so-obvious answer. If you are taking on extra responsibilities because you see it as a potential for growth, good on you. If your colleague is going through a rough patch and you decide to lend a helping hand, you’re a saint. However, if you find yourself working longer hours and doing more work than you can cope with while getting zero recognition for it… Hmmm… I hate to break it to you but you may just be too nice for your own good!
You constantly need to recharge
I say this with hesitation because all of my introverts and mommy readers will probably fall into this category. In fact, I’m dealing with this right now! But the thing is, if you are constantly pouring out of your cup and find that you constantly need to take time off to refill, you may be too nice. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes doing things for others can come at a price for both you and the recipient. It is your duty to make that conclusion without forgetting that at the end of the day, you also need to care for yourself.
You are giving off the wrong message
So before I clarify just what this means, let me tell you a story. When I was courting my husband – and yes, I was doing the chasing – he sent the wrong message. Since we lived in different countries, I would fly over to visit him as frequently as possible. Although everyone just assumed I had business in his country (which I technically did) I was there to feast my eyes on the yummy chocolate man. And in reciprocation, he would pick me up from the airport, visit me daily, buy me dinner, etc. Turns out, he was not interested at all and was just being nice to me!
Of course, the fact that we are now married shows that we finally saw eye to eye. But I was 100% certain that he was already planning a proposal on what I thought to be our first date. Don’t worry, all the nosy folk will hear about that date soon enough, but for now, let’s stay focused. When you are too nice, you will find that people react to your ‘acts of kindness’ in a strange way. Or rather, you can tell that they have gotten the wrong message entirely.
You find yourself surrounded by ‘broken’ people
When it comes to choosing your friends, I would like to believe that you do so based on similar interests and mutual respect. When people are too nice, they tend to attract one specific group of people that others typically don’t; the broken. Now I know very well that we each have our flaws. But when all of your ‘people’ need some type of fixing, chances are you are too nice. This is another great example of a situation in which niceness does nothing to help anyone involved in the equation. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be nice. But when you only attract broken people, it is a clear sign that you need to change your approach. Have you heard of tough love before?