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  • Writer's picturetatum van dam

i'm too nice

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word “nice” as: “pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory.” All of which I consider myself to be.

Perhaps it is rooted in the way I was raised. My teachers and parents enforced something referred to as the "Golden Rule" - treat others the way you would like to be treated. I have always kept this childhood memoir embedded into the back of my mind - but over all these years I have found that maybe, sometimes, I’m just a little too nice.

When you're “too nice," you say "sorry" too much.

We all have those words or catch phrases people often associate us with. Aside from saying “you’re not wrong” or my silly jokes about “being launched into the void,” I always find myself apologizing, even when I don't have to be. After doing some research, I found that this is psychologically known as “The Sorry Syndrome.” I constantly feel the need to use the word, even in the smallest situations, that it often ends up cheapening the times I am actually sorry about something.

When you're “too nice," you please others before pleasing yourself.

Even when I am aware that I am inconveniencing myself, I still go out of my way to please others - even when they don’t usually ask for it. In addition to saying “sorry” too much, I also say “yes” too much. I commit to too many things at once - and it ultimately ends in having to cancel plans, whether I would like to or not.

When you're “too nice,” you often forgive too easily.

As a child, Goldilocks and the Three Bears taught me to “forgive and forget”. But at what point do you forget? And how easily are you expected to forgive? In my experiences, I have found myself forgiving people that didn’t deserve it a little too soon. People who have hurt me, used me, and did not treat me the way I deserved to be.

When you're "too nice", you get taken advantage of.

Looking back on past relationships with other people, I have found that my peers have taken advantage of my kindness - maybe it was unintentional, or so I would like to believe. If you are always so readily available, others see it as a way to use you.

When you're “too nice,” you don’t speak up.

In my mind, I know the right thing to say, or the right thing to do. However, when it comes to the actual confrontation… I choke up. I get scared of the outcomes, when often they aren’t all that bad. I tend to overthink absolutely everything, which creates worrying about scenarios that probably won’t even happen.

So, I have realized I’m too nice. What now?

As the saying goes, the first step to fixing your problem is admitting you have one - and finally, I am going to do something about it. Being nice is not a problem at all, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to the point where you’re a doormat to other people. It’s a problem.

From this point on, I am going to begin to say “no” when presented with situations that may inconvenience me. I am going to stop saying “sorry” all the time, and realize the strength a word can hold when I really am sorry.

I am going to be honest about how I feel and stand up for myself. I am going to voice my opinion, with no regard to what others might think about it. I am going to realize that I cannot simply please everyone. I am going to say the word "no" without fear. I am going to be more assertive.

And most importantly, in doing these things, I am going to realize my worth.

Sometimes being nice can be dangerous. You have to show your mean side once in a while to avoid getting hurt.

To all the others out there who are also “too nice”, don’t let the people in your life see your niceness as a way to walk all over you. I know it can be hard, and quite frankly I’m only just beginning to learn to tone down the niceness.

Try to put yourself first. Make sure you are happy with yourself before making others happy. Don’t go the extra mile for someone who would barely even cross the street for you. From one “nice” person to another, stand up for yourself.

You are enough.

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