You can be too nice.
Did you know that I’m in the nice girl recovery program?
You heard me correctly. I’m a nice person. I’m known for my niceness. I was raised to be a nice girl and to help others. From the time I was young, I was taught not to make waves, to never draw attention to myself and to never, ever, say “no.”
That’s quite the revelation isn’t it. But one that many of us need to have. We’re the helpers. The people that take care of things. We’re like a Maytag Washing Machine, always dependable. We sacrifice our healthy minds, hearts and bodies all in the name of being nice and helping others.
Nice girls enter into toxic relationships and stay in them for far too long. Men and women alike take advantage of us. We can’t say no, because if we do, we’re not being nice. Wonder Woman couldn’t handle our commitments, because we can’t say “no,” all to help other people feel ok.
Conflict? Don’t ever speak up and cause any issue that could make someone “feel bad about themselves.” If you do that, you’ve crossed the path from nice girl to mean girl and that is never, ever acceptable.
We may not hear from people for months, but when they need you, it’s never a personalized email, or phone call, it’s a group message on Facebook. And guess what, because we’re nice, we donate. Better than that, we ask how we can help and we spend a ton of time “helping”, answering questions, bending over backwards, all in the name of “being nice.”
I’m sitting back today, realizing that my being so nice has done a lot of things that have really affected me. How so? When you find out someone has cut you out of your life, after you were so very nice to them, you feel victimized and the feelings you have are ones of anger. You feel the need to persecute, so you don’t feel like the victim.
In our careers, nice girls are reluctant to speak up and often sit on the sidelines while others, likely not more qualified or deserving, snatch up golden opportunities.
“From being unable to leave an abusive relationship, to being immobilized in a career, to being reluctant to question a physician about a prescribed course of treatment, nice girls are more concerned with how others may react, or what others may think of them, than they are with their own well-being,” writes Lois P. Frankel and Carol Frohlinger, authors of “Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It.”
This is where so much heavy work comes in that no one else can do. It’s internal. It’s personal. It’s clearing away a lifetime of “being nice” and learning to say “No.” This isn’t about being a “bitch,” this is about saying “it’s my turn now.”
Frankel and Frohlinger write, “winning women are women who have learned how to win the respect they deserve, the success they’ve earned and the life they want without being labeled a ‘bitch.’ Women must create situations where their voice is heard and needs are met, and regardless of the outcome you feel good about how you handled yourself.”
It’s time I felt good about how I handle myself.
No more Miss Nice Girl.