You’ve heard the old saying, “Nice Guys Finish Last”… right? Well, there is some truth to that statement. In fact, searching the web I found all sorts of interesting articles.
Gregory Ciotti wrote a particularly interesting post recently about how and why nice guys earn less money… it’s worth the read.
Today we’re going to take a bit different look at the consequences of being “nice”.
First, what does it mean to be “nice”. At Inspired Living Projects, we’re interested in promoting making decisions from the STRONG AND HEALTHY SELF position, and in so doing we hope that people will find ways to contribute to their communities. That sounds like being a nice person, doesn’t it?
Today, being nice means being agreeable… being a “Yes Man / Woman”. There are some obvious and some less obvious results that come from being the person who puts everyone else’s needs in front of their own. Maybe it doesn’t happen this way for everyone, but here’s what we see, time and time again:
1) You Don’t Get What You Want: Kind of obvious isn’t it? When you put the needs of others in front of your own you often don’t get what you want / need. Have you been the person that’s always too happy to help co-workers out at work… and then the work you really need to get done is left unfinished? You might come off as a nice person, but at the end of the day, you’ll be a nice person who can’t handle deadlines.
2) It Builds Resentment: Being “nice” can strain relationships. If you don’t stand up for what you want / need and go along with everyone else it can become upsetting and you might start distancing yourself from friends / family. Even simple things like always letting your spouse decide what’s for dinner or what you will do on date night can do long term damage. It sounds a bit silly, but even standing up for the seemingly little things can go a long way. If you feel like you are compromising yourself all the time then not only will it build resentment, but, eventually…
3) You Will Act Out In Unhealthy Ways: Time and again we’ve seen those who compromise themselves, by being the nice guy / nice girl, act out. This can take many forms. In work relationships in can result in actions like agreeing to do a chunk of work for someone and then letting deadlines pass without doing a thing. In intimate relationships it can be similar. Your spouse might promise to get things around the house done, but never does. If resentment is left to build, because one partner is “too nice” to say anything, or too nice to have ask for what they really want, acting out behaviour can be more extreme – like affairs, alcoholism, and more.
These behaviours can, obviously, be hugely damaging, and they all stem from “being nice”.
So bottom line, it is far, far better to make decisions from STRONG AND HEALTHY SELF than trying to be nice.
We’d love to hear from you, here, by email, or on twitter: @kryanwilson or @DrAdrianaWilson.