Advertising
Advertising

9 Bad Things Happen When You’re Too Nice

9 Bad Things Happen When You’re Too Nice

I used to be a nice person.  I would always put others before myself, and do everything in my power to appease those around me.  I volunteered to do the bulk of the work for projects at my job.  I backed down from my requests if they inconvenienced anyone else.  And my free time was spent giving, giving and giving.

The end result, however, was not what I had hoped it would be.  I felt tired and moody, because I was not caring for myself physically.  As I volunteered to do more and more, people began to expect that I would do everything for them.  I became resentful as my dreams were put on the back burner, and I desperately craved the attention and validation that I was not able to give myself.

We all want to be selfless, but in neglecting our own needs, we diminish our ability to do so.  In the article, “How Selflessness Makes Us Selfish,” published on the Counseling Blog, the author states that when we do not meet our own needs, we begin to seek them from external sources, resulting in behavior that looks selfish.  If we want to be more kind and giving, we actually need to be a little LESS “nice.”

Here are some bad things that happen when you are too nice:

1. If you are always giving, people will expect that of you.

In the article, “5 Ways Being Too Nice Can Become Negative,” published on The Power of Positivity, the author states that if you don’t set boundaries, you will be viewed as a doormat and taken advantage of.  Valuing yourself, making sure your needs are met, and establishing limits does not mean that you do not have sympathy for those around you.  It just means that your needs are important as well.

Advertising

I thought that people would like me better and see me as more valuable if I gave as much as I could.  Instead, I found that people appreciated it less.  Those around us will value us as much as we value ourselves.  As I began to set limits and ask for help when I needed it, people began to notice and appreciate my contributions.

2. You will develop unrealistic expectations of others.

According to the Power of Positivity, when you are being too nice to others, you develop unrealistic expectations for them to do the same.  When they do not meet these expectations, you may become angry and resentful.

I have noticed this in my own life.  I would go above and beyond for any of my friends, and I took it personally when they were not willing to do the same for me.  What I did not understand was that they were taking care of their own needs, and that it was my responsibility to do the same for myself.

3. People will come to you only when they need something.

The Power of Positivity states that when you are too nice to people, they will only see you as a means to an end.  People will only come to you when they think you can help them out, because they are seeing you only as a tool to help them meet their goals.  This pattern can spiral out of control if you do not set boundaries to nip it as soon as it starts.

I saw this pattern starting in my own life, and it quickly became overwhelming.  Being able to gently say “no,” without providing too many reasons or arguing it, was key.  At times, I would offer to help the person get themself organized so that they could help themself, or I would refer them to other people and resources.

Advertising

4. You will forget about being kind to yourself.

According to the Power of Positivity, when you are busy taking care of everyone else, you will forget to be kind to yourself.  This can lead to your basic needs not being met, and spiral into depression and burn-out.

I found that my over-giving distracted me from the sources of pain and suffering that were within myself.  I was seeking validation externally, and I did not believe that I had any value outside of other people’s opinions of me.  When I backed off on the constant giving, I was able to spend some time looking within and learning to rely on myself for validation.  In the end, this allowed me to be more kind and understanding.

5. You will be seen as being weak.

In the article “5 Ways Being Too Nice Can Hurt You,” written by Jessica Stillman and published on Inc, Stillman reports that being too nice can lead other people to see you as being weak.  Not only can this result in other people taking advantage of you, but it can also lead people to not see you as a strong leader or authority.

In my job, I found that when I gave too much and didn’t establish enough boundaries, people did not give me credit for my accomplishments.  Because I did not value myself, they did not notice all that I had done.

6. You will attract needy people.

According to Stillman, when you are too nice you will attract people who are needy and manipulative.  These people see an opportunity to take advantage of you, because you have not established boundaries with them.

Advertising

I noticed this in my own life.  I would spend hours “supporting” friends on Facebook, to the point where I was not getting enough sleep.  I learned that it is okay to be a good friend and to be there for people, but it is also okay to let them know that I will only be available for a short amount of time on certain days.

7. People will not trust you.

Stillman states that because so few people are truly nice, when you are too nice, people will wonder if you have an ulterior motive.  You are likely to be met with mistrust, which will lead to difficulties in establishing relationships.

I found that before I learned to establish boundaries, I was never truly accepted into the group, both at work at in my social interactions.  When I began to set limits and show that I valued myself more, other people began to do the same.

8. You may become needy.

According to the Counseling Blog, when you are not meeting your own needs, you will subconsciously seek to get those needs met in other places.  This can result in clingy, needy behavior in relationships, as well as constantly seeking validation.

I found that, surprisingly, I engaged in both of these behaviors before I learned to stand up for myself.  I was always giving, rather than meeting my own needs for validation, so I constantly sought it from those around me.  When I learned to value myself, my clingy behavior stopped.

Advertising

9. You become more likely to engage in addictive behaviors.

The Counseling Blog states that when you are not able to see your own value within yourself, you are more likely to engage in addiction-type behaviors in order to deal with stress.  When you are constantly over-giving, you may seek escape by overspending, overeating, or other similar behaviors.

I found that I engaged in a lot of these behaviors.  I was always spending too much money and indulging in junk food, when I felt overwhelmed by obligations for which I received no credit.  When I began to value myself, my addictions lessened.

While it is great to be nice, giving too much and not establishing boundaries will limit–not increase–your ability to be kind to those around you.  Value yourself first, and you will begin to value everyone else around you.

Featured photo credit: Young woman in the field via shutterstock.com

More by this author

From Kids To The Elderly: Wisdom On How To Live Your Own Life 9 Signs That You Are Actually A Shy Extrovert 9 Bad Things Happen When You’re Too Nice A Little Of Both? 12 Signs You May Be An Ambivert! 10 Life Lessons For Highly Sensitive People

Trending in Communication

1 How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide) 2 What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities 3 Think Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead 4 How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (The Definitive Guide for Men) 5 How to Live Life to the Fullest

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

Advertising

Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

Advertising

Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

Advertising

Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

Advertising

Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

More Tips on Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next