Posted in Alienation

The Dangers of Being Nice | Psychology Today

Does this mean you shouldn’t be nice?

Of course not. But there’s a difference between a values-driven life and an anxiety-driven one. A values-driven life comes out of your values, your core beliefs as an adult of how to be with others. You are kind and considerate and see that we are all struggling on this tiny dot of speck in the vast universe; you treat others the way you’d like to be treated. You do it not because you “should” or because you will feel guilty otherwise, but because it’s your life blueprint.

But along with this, you can say no, take care of yourself as well as others, be assertive and honest without being aggressive and hurtful. Life is win-win as much as possible.

The anxiety-driven life, on the other hand, makes being nice a way of managing anxiety. You learned to take a nice-stance as a way of avoiding conflict and confrontation that you can’t tolerate, a stance that is “I’m happy if you’re happy,” meaning I do whatever I need to do to not get you disgruntled, because your being upset makes me anxious. Here you don’t say no, you don’t speak up and be honest and assertive, because of your own fear. It’s less about a value of how to treat people and more a psychological flack-suit to protect you from what seems to be a scary world.

Ramping It Down

If you decide that you are, in fact, tired of being nice all the time, or tired of absorbing any or all of these consequences, it’s time to stop going on autopilot and begin to make choices and change some of your behaviors. Here’s how to get started:

1. Slow down to realize how you really feel.

If you’re an always-nice superstar, you likely don’t even realize how you feel a lot of the time. Rather than quickly raising your hand at the staff meeting when they call for volunteers, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself whether you really want to do this. The same is true about negotiating with your partner: Stop the pre-compromise and figure out what you truly want. If you can’t tell at the time, wait, and continue to ask yourself how you truly feel; something will eventually emerge.

2. Practice saying no.

Not raising your hand is saying no, but you want to practice doing this more actively — this is about setting boundaries. If you’re asked to be on a church committee, for example, and don’t want to, say no. Better yet, be proactive and let others know where you stand before they come to you. If it’s too difficult to say no in person, call and leave a voicemail, or send a text. Just get it done.

3. Use your anger as information.

When you feel anger, irritation, or resentment, use it as information telling you what you need, what you don’t like, what you may want. Then again speak up.

4. Practice being more honest.

Honesty is essentially what setting boundaries is all about, but honesty is also the driver of intimacy. Move out of that superficial talk and experiment with deeper conversations — tell those close to you how you really feel rather than “fine.” If your partner is doing the same, get the problem of verbal intimacy and honesty on the table as something you both want to work on

5. Use your symptoms as tools to let you know when you’re overextended.

Don’t just sweep the binge or the burnout or the passive-aggressiveness under the rug, but instead use them as red flags that you are being over-responsible, that you are neglecting your own needs. It’s time to not just apologize or recover, but again speak up.

6. Push back against the critical voices.

Your critical voices will go crazy as you begin any of the above. You will feel guilty, you will feel anxious that the world will despise you and that terrible things will happen. This is little-kid stuff that flares up when you start to break your old patterns. Take a few deep breaths, pat yourself on the back, and keep moving forward.

So, are you ready to give up some of your niceness?


p class=”field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden” style=”box-sizing:border-box;-webkit-font-smoothing:antialiased;word-break:break-word;”>


Currently studying Psychotherapy , Cognitive psychology, Biological psychology, Counselling psychology and CBT and NLP. I believe in truth, honesty and integrity! ≧◔◡◔≦

One thought on “The Dangers of Being Nice | Psychology Today

Leave a Reply, All comments will be moderated - Many thanks for your contribution

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trauma Coach & Therapist

%d bloggers like this: