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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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