I’ve long been considered a “nice” person. In fact, I frequently get told at work how people appreciate my ability to listen and be empathic.
I am always willing to lend a helping hand or jump in on a conversation if I think I can provide value in some way.
I kept the door to my office open all day, even though I am a major introvert who can easily become overstimulated. And because of being considered a good listener and an empathetic person, this commonly led to days where I had someone in my office 90% of the day, sucking all of the energy out of me so I had none left by the time I got home.
But my nice girl tendencies quickly caught up with me and I learned some hard lessons on how to stop being so nice because it was turning me into a pathetic zombie monster.
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A Personal Story
First off, if you don’t know this about me yet, I am extremely introverted.
Now you may be saying, Ashlie, I have been around this rodeo for a while and you don’t seem like an introvert AT ALL.
Well, that’s because I am not shy. Being an introvert doesn’t always mean you’re shy, but that’s a conversation for another time.
But as an introvert, it takes a lot of energy for me to socialize and interact with people for extended periods of time. It drains me to the point my body and brain will literally shut down.
I remember the first time this happened to me and it’s when I realized that I had to stop being so nice and do what was best for me sometimes.
Just a Normal Day…
I went to work at 0730, took a look at my calendar and saw that I had three meetings lined up that day. Being in a leadership position, that was a pretty typical day in the life. No big D.
I rolled into my first meeting at 0800 which lasted just over an hour and a half.
When it was over I went back to my office and rolled up my sleeves to get some work done. Not long after one of my employees walks in and asks “if you got a minute” to talk to them. Of course, I say yes because that’s who I am and that’s why people feel comfortable coming to me.
Well, that minute turned into a two-hour therapy session, which I finally had to shut down because my next meeting was coming up.
On to the next!
About an hour later, the meeting closes out and I head to the fridge to heat up some lunch thinking I will finally get some peace and quiet.
At this point, half the day was gone and I had spent quite the majority of it talking and interacting with people…so I was beginning to feel the drain.
Back to my desk to hopefully take a few minutes to grub, when in pops one of my coworkers to discuss some of the things going on around the office and do some brainstorming.
So I shovel my food and chat between bites and before we know it we’re off to the next and hopefully final meeting of the day.
Now it’s mid-afternoon and I am finally sitting at my desk staring at my email that I haven’t gotten around to checking yet when in comes my boss to talk about more things that are going on around the office.
Before I know it, it’s after 5 PM, I have accomplished zero work, and I spent the ENTIRE day socializing.
I messaged Garrett and told him I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and wasn’t sure how to handle it.
I felt like a zombie.
Back at home, he took one look at me and asked sympathetically, “What happened babe?”
Everything came crashing down at once and I fell to the floor in a puddle of tears. He scrapped all of our plans for the evening and ushered me straight upstairs, into my jammies and turned on one of my favorite shows. He held me and let me sob and sniffle in silence while I tried to get lost in someone else’s life to get away from my own.
Yes, I know. My husband is awesome. No, you cannot have him.
It was the end of an era. I had to learn to shut my door sometimes and self-manage my interactions with people throughout the day in order to maintain my sanity.
I had to learn to stop being so nice.
Are You a Yes Person?
Do you ever find yourself:
- Saying yes to someone because you are afraid you might let them down?
- Always letting someone else make the decision to keep them happy?
- Not speaking your mind because you are afraid to “make waves?”
- Really wanting to fit in or desperate for them to like you?
- Tending to always agree with people? Some would say you are generally compliant.
If any of these sounds like you, YOU ARE A PEOPLE PLEASER!
And you, my friend, need to learn to stop being so f*cking nice.
Being Too Nice = Self-Sabotage
You’re Not Being Authentic
By being a people pleaser and being too nice you are censoring yourself…and that makes you a liar.
There, I said it.
You’re manipulating everyone around you, and you don’t even know it.
Because you’re forcing them into viewing you a certain way and trying to make them see you as easy-going and non-confrontational.
But really all you’re doing is telling everyone around you that you don’t have anything valuable to add or provide and you’re telling them that you don’t have an opinion or feelings about something.
And that’s a lie!
You need to be around people who like you for who you are, and you aren’t even giving them the opportunity to know the real you.
If you don’t figure out how to stop being so nice, you will over time internally harbor resentment.
Even though your need or desire to make others happy gives you a sense of fulfillment, it’s likely to build up resentment towards others over time and that can manifest in passive-aggressive tendencies.
And that toxicity goes both ways. You resent the people around you and in turn, they won’t understand or appreciate your passive-aggressive comments and behaviors towards them.
You’re also likely to attract the wrong kind of people into your inner circle. More assertive narcissists and bullies will gravitate to you because they know they can get what they want out of you.
And you’ll just let them walk all over you.
Those don’t sound like real friends now do they? Do you really want people to be your friend only because they can manipulate you?
Didn’t think so…
You’re Destroying Your Own Self-Esteem
Girl, let’s talk about what this sh*t does to your self-esteem.
If you are constantly putting others before yourself, spending all of your energy on what other people want, you’ll eventually come to believe that you matter less than them.
You condition yourself to believe that it’s ok to not put yourself first because you care about this person and you’re making them happy.
You’re selling yourself short. You’re flat out devaluing your worth as a human being.
You need to respect yourself enough to be your own person and not be ashamed of it.
Let’s Talk About the Why
What causes you to be so damn nice all the time?
Afraid of the Labels
Are you afraid of being labeled bossy? What about aggressive?
Let’s face it, women face a unique challenge when it comes to speaking their minds. It’s well known that there is a discrepancy between how men and women are viewed when it comes to being assertive and expressing their opinions.
If you ever get called a b*tch (or something comparable) simply for expressing your opinions, just remember that what they are really trying to say is that they recognize that you have a strong opinion and they just aren’t quite sure how to deal with it, so they act out.
It’s not you, it’s them.
Turning People Off
Confidence is not the same thing as aggressiveness.
Are you afraid of someone not liking you or thinking you are bossy?
You may have been conditioned to feel that way. And that can come in numerous forms.
Maybe at home, you were “a lot to handle” and your parent(s) conditioned you to tamper it down because you were just “being bad”.
Maybe you were a girl who was really confident in school but the boys didn’t understand you and labeled you “bossy”. And that’s certainly not gonna help you attract’em.
Or perhaps you were one of the shy girls sitting in the background, listening to those words get tossed around so you learned to keep your opinions to yourself.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg felt so passionate about this that she started a campaign, supported by the likes of #girlbosses like Beyonce, called #banbossy.
It’s targeted at young girls to encourage them to lead and be confident with raising their hands and speaking up.
Beyonce’s stance is, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.”
And that’s nothing to be ashamed of, it should be celebrated!
Fear of Rejection
Fear of rejection could definitely be at the root of your being too nice.
You may be afraid that by not agreeing with someone they may just turn you away and not hang around anymore.
But this is really stemming from your low self-esteem…not feeling like you deserve the people or things in your life so you’ll do anything to keep them around.
Afraid of Losing Your Job or Not Being Liked at Work
If you find yourself constantly swamped and overwhelmed at work, and a lot of the work wasn’t yours to begin with, you could be the office workhorse.
Because of your inability to say no, all the work gets dumped off on you because guess what, they know you’ll do it!
Being able to say no to your boss or your coworker is OK! Unless you work for a really shitty boss, chances are they’ll respect you for being confident enough to speak up.
And your coworkers will either respect that about you too or maybe they won’t like you because you won’t do their work for them.
And in that case, who f*cking cares?
Stop Being so F*cking Nice
Let’s Get One Thing Straight
This doesn’t mean you have to be an ass-hole. There is absolutely a way to balance not being a yes person with not being an ass-hole.
It Means Being Assertive
It’s all about being a strong, confident woman. It’s about knowing you have an opinion and not being afraid to express it.
And it’s about learning to stand up for yourself…letting others know they can’t walk all over you.
Finally, it’s about having self-respect and going after what you want in life.
Speaking of Being Assertive as a Woman
Now, let’s just acknowledge the elephant in the room.
We all know that as women, we can get a bad rap for being assertive and get labeled as difficult. Men are seen as confident while women are seen as aggressive or b*tchy.
What I want you to hear, and really, really understand.
Being assertive does not make you difficult.
What someone really means when they call you difficult is that you are acting in a way that demands your opinions to be heard, that you won’t be easily ignored or dismissed, and they just don’t know how to handle it.
But that’s the whole point of being assertive! To be heard. And that doesn’t make you difficult, it shows that you have enough self-respect to own your opinions.
The Devil Wears Prada is a great example of both ends of the spectrum.
If you look at Miranda, she’s misunderstood because she’s considered to be overassertive. So while many would do anything to gain her approval, they end up acting out of fear.
They’ll do anything to impress her to climb the ladder. That’s what we see with Andy, who is extremely intimidated and also desperate to gain Miranda’s respect by being a people pleaser, to both Miranda and her co-worker, Emily.
Eventually, Andy has to come to terms with everything she’s forfeiting just to get ahead and learns to take a stand for herself.
And I don’t know about you, but at the end of the movie, I was totally rooting for Andy! Weren’t you?
Your Current Groupies
What if my current circle doesn’t like it? Or some of my friends don’t want to be my friend anymore? What happens if my boyfriend/significant other doesn’t like this version of me and breaks it off?
SO WHAT! You’re weeding out the toxic people in your life.
They didn’t know the real you. Don’t you want someone to love you for who you are and not the person you manipulated them into believing you were? Didn’t we talk about this earlier?
If you get ditched for being your authentic self, those people didn’t give a sh*t about you in the first place.
HERE’S THE COLD HARD TRUTH: Not everyone is gonna like you, sister. And that is OK!
Have a conversation with them. Let them know you are trying to be a better, happier, more authentic version of yourself…
If they understand, great! They will love you regardless. If they don’t…screw’em. You didn’t need them anyway.
Unleash Your BADASS Self
Stop People Pleasing
While we’re at it, let me just mention to put your mind at ease, making the decision to stop being a people pleaser doesn’t mean you don’t care about other people’s feelings, it just means you actually give a sh*t about yourself.
What do you want for dinner?
Just give your f*cking input! Saying you have absolutely zero opinions or inputs on the matter is plain bullsh*t.
You and I both know deep down you can think of at least one thing that sounds good to you. Or there’s something you want that you know the other person isn’t crazy about so you don’t bring it up.
In reality, your “I don’t care, whatever you want” just shoves the responsibility solely on someone else.
That’s not very nice now, is it?
Stop Letting Everyone Around You Create Your Life
If you don’t ask, you’ll never get what you want.
I read something really powerful the other day that gave me a jaw-drop moment. It said that when people take advantage of you it’s only their fault once.
Holy sh*t. Do you realize how epic that is?
Why is it only their fault once?
Remember when I told you that you teach others how to treat you based on what you are willing to tolerate? This is it. This is your opportunity to teach them that you won’t tolerate being taken advantage of.
There are two types of people when it comes to those interacting with a people pleaser.
- Those that take advantage on purpose because they know how you are and what lengths you will go to
- Those that don’t even realize they are taking advantage of you because they don’t know their favors are spreading you too thin. They don’t know that you absolutely hate that restaurant that they LOVE so you go there all the time. They don’t know that even though you may be good at putting together furniture or baking cakes, you f*cking hate it.
The moral of the story is, opening your mouth and not being afraid to be yourself and express your opinions is how you #1 get what you want and #2, teach people how you want to be treated.
I got news for ya, if you don’t have or express your own opinions, you are letting everyone else around you CHOOSE HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.
What!? Stop it!
You are teaching others how to treat you by what you tolerate. You gotta set some boundaries and let others know when they’re getting close or when they cross them.
Stop Giving a Sh*t What Everyone Thinks
Learn to Say No
Check it…there is nothing wrong with turning down a party invite with a very polite “Sorry I can’t make it, but thank you for the invite!”
And if that’s too intimidating for you at first, start with “Gosh, I really wish I could!” But please, only use this one if it’s true…we don’t want to encourage someone to keep inviting us to things we know we’ll never really want to do.
But if it really is just a matter of timing, this gives you a roundabout way of saying no without actually having to say it.
Here’s another one that was really big for me, keep your responses simple. Some people tend to ramble when they’re making an uncomfortable response.
As in, you turning down baking someone a cake for their kid’s birthday party turns into a story about how your dog threw up on the floor and you asked one of the kids to clean it up but of course, they didn’t, so you slipped on it, sending you crashing to the floor and spraining your finger.
You’ll just make yourself sound silly and chances are they’ll catch on anyway.
You’re Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea…
Just remember, not everyone is going to like you, that’s a fact of life. You can’t change it or avoid it, so stop trying.
Surround yourself with people that are more aligned with you and your desires and the rest of them will weed themselves out.
Over to you…are you struggling with being too nice?
If so, let me know if you found some goodness in here and as always, feel free to hit me up or drop a comment below!
Much love and till next time,