It started in my early years… most likely in grade school. Often, I was told I was “too nice.” Perhaps, it was because I went home to conditions that were the farthest thing from “nice” and “normal.” Even teachers would tell me that I was “too nice!” I was the one who would pick the worst player… first… for the kickball team. I wanted to be sure they knew that they wouldn’t be left standing there at the end of choosing. I was also the student who volunteered to stay after and clean the boards. The truth was that I would do anything not to go home.
Years later in my teaching career, both on high school and in college levels, I was told the same thing. I saw it as caring, love, and guidance. In the end, they did as well.
Here’s what I absolutely know about being “too nice,” in my adult years. There is what others might say about being “too nice,” but then there is my view…as always.
People will see you as weak
They might take advantage of you. This first point is no shock. This is generally the rap against being too quick to put your own needs aside in favor of the needs of others and many, point out this danger.
I say: You can never be too nice to others. Do it without thinking.
You forget to be nice to yourself
This is also a problem with being “too nice,” some might say/feel. It is often cited by experts in regard to entrepreneurship as a problem. Being responsive is great for your business, but take your focus on meeting others’ needs too far and … you’ll end up with no time left over to work on your own priorities or the longer-term issues that are essential to your company.
I say: Find the balance in life. It is never: You vs. Them, but rather… You and Them!
You attract the wrong kind of people
Kindness may be a prerequisite for healthy and meaningful relationships, but also an inability to set boundaries. Being excessively nice… “You will start to attract needy, whiny, overly emotional, demanding/controlling people,” say many experts. Again, I disagree.
I say: You might be the only bright light in those peoples’ days and actually improve immeasurably the quality of their lives and therefore improve everyone’s day. Keep on!
Folks might distrust you
Let’s face it, genuinely nice people aren’t rare, but especially in some corners of the business and professional world, they’re hardly in the majority either. This sad fact means that if you are truly nice, you’re liable to be occasionally misunderstood and even viewed with suspicion. People might believe that you have an ulterior motive in mind, otherwise, why would you be doing all these special things? Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there can not, surely, be such a thing as “too nice for no reason.” Really?
I say: Prove them wrong! Whether it’s in life, business, and relationships… always be “too nice.” Everyone benefits!
You will askew your own expectations of others
If someone is too nice to people, they start expecting unreasonable amount of niceness from others as well. This always leads to the nice ones thinking others are being mean to them or taking them for granted. I read this in articles and it always makes me smile.
My guess is that some people cannot handle this and when they talk about how they’re nice to everyone while others take them for granted, they tend to sound very entitled. (Maybe their niceness isn’t genuine.)
I say: It doesn’t matter if people are nice back to you. What matters is that you are nice to them. Expect nothing in return.
How do you strike a balance between compassion and kindness, and being “too nice”?
Compassion and kindness are wonderful traits for people to have, but some times they are done for the wrong reason. One should never show either to impress, gain respect, or to “show others up.” This applies to home, work, and any other public ventures. As of late, we have seen this in Politics and it hasn’t boded well with the masses.
I say: Always strive to be “too nice” and compassion and kindness will follow!
But here’s a warning: Never assume that someone is insecure, weak, or showing off if they are “too nice. ” Sometimes, they just are that… nice!