You taught me to be nice, so nice that now I am so full of niceness, I have no sense of right and wrong, no outrage, no passion.
~ Garrison Keillor
I’ve been one of those people who was too nice for their own good. This was mostly with my friends, acquaintances and colleagues. You might ask, isn’t ‘niceness’ a good quality in a relationship? Well, it is, if you don’t end up suppressing your needs, your opinions, not stating your preferences, etc.
Why being too nice is not nice
Niceness is nice as long as it’s not a result of low self-esteem, guilt or loneliness. If it’s the result of any of these, then it can really be a killer – because you’ll only attract to yourself people who exploit you.
I guess much of the reason we’re nice is that we all suffer from what I call the ‘what-will-people-say’ syndrome. Well, somewhere along the way, I asked myself who these ‘people’ were, did they really care about me and wasn’t being nice to myself my first duty? I found that when I started expressing my views, opinions and asserting myself that the people who really cared applauded and the ‘exploiters’ were the ones who couldn’t handle it. I also found that I’m happier, less stressed and more confident now than when I was too nice.
In the words of Bill Cosby: ‘I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.’