We all want to be a nice person who other people appreciate and like.
But there are a lot of problems that come along with this and can negatively impact your life.
Here are fifteen times when being “nice” is causing harm to your self and others.
1) Getting into relationships you don’t want
First up in terms of the times when being “nice” is causing harm to yourself and others is when it gets you into romantic relationships you don’t want to be.
Things start out pretty well and you may develop affection for someone including deep conversations and intimacy.
However as you go out on more dates you realize you’re not really feeling it and the romantic connection just isn’t there for you, at least not in a way that would make you want to get more serious.
At this point you want to pull the plug, but you’re afraid to hurt this person, since you do respect and care about them.
Being too nice and afraid to tell them you’re just not into it has now potentially gotten you stuck in a romantic relationship that’s not right for you.
The same thing can also apply to friendships that you get into in order to be “nice” which end up being toxic, dangerous or emotionally harmful.
2) Staying in jobs that aren’t good for you
Next up in terms of times when being “nice” is causing harm to yourself and others is that it can lead to staying in jobs that aren’t good for you.
This includes low pay, poor treatment by bosses, toxic relationships with coworkers and just the general fact that you’re in a job that has nothing to do with your talents and dreams.
When you’re too nice and a job is something you’ve become accustomed to, it can be difficult to quit.
Furthermore, you may fear the consequences to those who depend on you to work and want to be “nice” and prove you care about them.
So you stay in a job you hate for fear of taking a risk or making a hard choice.
As Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown explains here, being overly nice can lead to all sorts of unfortunate consequences.
When you’re too focused on people pleasing you often forget about following your own path in life and end up lost and disempowered.
3) Crossing boundaries so you’ll be accepted
Next up in problems that happen in being too nice is that you end up crossing boundaries to being accepted.
You drive drunk because your friends pressure you after a night out, or say you’re a prude…
You take substances you are leery about because your peers and colleagues tell you “everyone” is doing them…
You cross all sorts of boundaries of your own because you want to be considered cool and accepted.
When you care too much about what others think, the result can be very detrimental to your own well-being.
4) Being financially, sexually or emotionally manipulated
Part of the boundaries that you may cross in order to try to be nice to others can be quite serious.
Being too nice can leave you being financially, sexually or emotionally manipulated.
When you have trouble saying no, there are unfortunately a number of people who will take advantage of that in various ways.
This can be anything as seemingly harmless as asking for a small loan and not paying it back, but can go all the way to pressuring you into sex or emotionally manipulating you into a relationship.
There are many downsides to being a pushover, and being overly nice is the definition of being a pushover, because it indicates a lack of enforcement of personal boundaries.
5) Allowing yourself to be talked into a scam or fraud
Unfortunately, one of the ways that’s most common for overly nice people to be manipulated is scams and fraud.
Even just a simple scam phone call can destroy the life of an overly nice person.
Take the following scenario:
A guy who’s not worried about being nice picks up his smartphone to take a call from an unknown number. An “agent” on the other end tells him he was recently selected to win a cruise and the man senses it’s fishy, says, “no thanks.”
The agent insists and the guy doesn’t care, hitting the hang-up button and blocking the number.
Now take another guy who’s worried about being nice to people. He gets the same call and also senses it is fishy. He says “no thanks,” but when the agent insists he feels a pang of guilt or obligation.
He should at least hear the person out, right? He might ruin this agent’s day!
Next thing you know, he’s giving his credit card info and ends up on the phone with Visa for hours trying to recover funds and coming out $1,200 short due to the fraudulent charges made on his card.
Don’t be overly nice! You’ll get scammed!
6) Letting friends freeload off you
Another of the ways that you get taken advantage of when you’re too worried about being nice is that friends try to freeload off you.
They stay at your place for a few days, but it becomes a few weeks. You’re terrified of kicking them out and ending the friendship or harming their life.
So they stay longer.
Your other friend needs money so you give it to her. Then she opens up about her addiction to pills and other substances and says she’ll need more time to pay it back.
She’s going through hell, so you’re not going to be that person who demands money back right now!
But next thing you know she’s in rehab. Then she’s trying to find a place to live and can’t pay you right now, in fact: could you just loan her a tiny bit more?
It’s a damn vicious cycle! The only way to stop it is to not fall into it in the first place and prevent yourself from doing so the next time somebody tries to freeload off you.
7) Putting other people’s needs in front of our own
The general pattern that emerges from being too nice is putting other people ahead of yourself.
There are times in life when sacrifice is the right move, in my view.
If a relative or loved one needs a bone marrow transfusion to live and you’re the only close match, that is a step you should take.
But in day to day life, being overly nice and a people pleaser is a form of disempowerment.
It leads to losing even more respect for yourself and going in a downward spiral of weak, compliant behavior where you live for the sake of other people’s expectations.
Which brings me to the next point…
8) Living for the expectations and opinions of others
Many people who care a lot about being nice and not rocking the boat end up living somebody else’s life.
It’s like they’re under the watchful eye of the Staasi or something, except the only repressive spy service watching them is the burden of their own desire to live up to the expectations of others.
There are people who live most of their lives dressing, talking, believing and acting in ways primarily because that is what they are conditioned and told to do.
Think about that for a moment, because it’s terrifying.
They never once step outside the lines or live their own life.
They never have their own relationship with God or the divine, only the rote lines that they’re told to repeat.
They never have a real love relationship, only the outer shell of a relationship or marriage that everybody says is “normal” and “good enough.”
When you’re too nice, you can get tangled up in a spider’s web that chokes all the life out of you and stifles your inner spirit.
9) Accepting and complying with values that aren’t yours
All too often, we play a role that isn’t really us.
We act as a kind of secret agent in our own lives. We’re not who we’re pretending to be, nor do we even share the values that society and peers assume we do!
When you’re too nice and worried about people-pleasing, it can feel almost impossible to go against the group or to buck the trend of a social movement, political party or ideology.
You can almost see the sea of faces saying “you believe what?” or “how can you not agree?”
You can feel their disgust, disapproval.
And you don’t want that, so you accept and comply with values that actually go against everything you are.
10) Raising spoiled and entitled children
Lastly but very importantly in the times when being “nice” is causing harm to your self and others is when it leads to raising spoiled brats.
There is such a thing as being too strict on kids and being an unrelenting disciplinarian, particularly in some cultures and epochs of history.
But many modern countries suffer from precisely the opposite: parents who are soft and can’t say no.
They’re so scared of their offspring being upset that they say yes and roll over for anything.
The result is children without boundaries who grow up to be egotists and bullies or soft-willed losers.
How nice is too nice?
There’s a certain amount of being pleasant and a decent person that’s clearly advisable.
There’s no reason to be unduly harsh or nasty to anyone.
Being nice becomes too nice when it steps over your personal boundaries, good judgment and values.
You are too nice when you have to tell yourself to shut up in order to pretend to agree with somebody else or an external group.
You are too nice when you let yourself become the victim just so you won’t hurt somebody’s feelings.
Let’s continue to try to treat others with respect, but never fall into the trap of being overly nice.