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Communication Skill
Published: March 16, 2017

Why Being Too Nice Is A Curse. Here's How I Learn To Grow My Backbone.

Since we were toddlers, our parents, seniors, and teachers constantly tell us the importance of being nice. There’s nothing wrong with being nice, in fact, we should be nice to people. But have you encountered someone who goes overboard with their niceness?

There’s a fine line of being nice and TOO nice. Imagine the colleague who laughs at every single joke at work. Or the friend who compliments everything that you are doing. Or the stranger who starts a conversation with you and responds with “I agree”.

Do you find them nice or irritating? I think most people will say the latter. We might even find that person disingenuous. So what’s the key to be nice but not overly nice? Here are 3 tips for you to keep closely in mind:

Don’t only nod and agree

Sometimes, it is difficult to balance being nice and voicing our opinions. For some reason, we think others are fragile, and criticisms or disagreements can easily break a relationship, so we decide to go the safest route — nod and agree at everything.

In a conversation, person X thinks the world is getting more dangerous with technology. You nod with concurrence. At the same time, person Y thinks technology will bring a brighter future to the human race. You equally agree. What will you look like? An attentive person or one who is not paying attention?

Instead, we should be listening attentively while disagreeing when necessary.

Most people welcome disagreements during discussions. It is more important to argue with valid points than agree to everything. Of course, one more trick is to not our dignity at stake — this will make you nicer to talk to.

Praise with understanding

We all enjoy receiving compliments from others. And overly nice people shower you with praises almost too much. They say nice things about your haircut, lavish compliments on the minimalist design of your water bottle, or even admire your mid-day flossing habit. Unfortunately, their praises are often ill-targeted and give off a rather insincere impression.

The main reason behind is people who are too nice don’t truly understand the person they are complimenting. On the contrary, we should praise others according to what that particular person is actively proud of. People value accurate praises more than those stock phrases. So when we do bestow a compliment, we are more likely to receive a proper resonance from the other side.

Sympathy speaks louder than cheerful words

Being positive is not wrong. But it doesn’t necessarily mean blindly spewing sunshines and rainbows to a person who is feeling blue. Overly nice people are often remorselessly upbeat, it actually does not help to comfort others.

The more effective communication and the last tip of being nice but not too nice, is to give proper responses instead of immersing the person you are trying to comfort into the pool of optimism. Sometimes, people just want a pair of ears to listen, and often, they only want someone to understand them.

Let’s think about this as the person who is going through tough times. What would you prefer? The overly nice person who emphasizes your positive attributes, or the nice person who doesn’t say much but listens?

Needless to say, we tend to be cheered up by the ones who sympathize and are willing to travel through our sorrows, anxieties, confusions, frustrations, and hesitations with us.

It sounds pretty complicated, isn’t it?

Well, it seems difficult to truly be nice but not too nice. After all, being nice follows one simple principle — put yourself in the shoes of others.

One of the reasons why people are overly nice is because they are intimidated by others. They are afraid of social failure, and by expressing an excessive amount of humility, they are under a false assumption that being extremely nice and friendly is the best way to interact with others.

On the flip side, when a person understands the needs of others, s/he is able to make others feel satisfied. Spend the time to grasp what is pleasing to others and take the effort to build real and close relationships by being the “nice but not too nice” friend.

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