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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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