To Get Ahead, Stop Being Nice And Start Being Real

If you’re hard-working, responsible, loyal and able to take initiative, but you aren’t managing to achieve that next level of success, there might be a simple answer to this problem.

If you love your children and care for them the best you can, but you find that they’re defiant, oppositional, overly entitled or disrespectful, there’s probably a good reason for their bad attitude.

If you’re in a romantic relationship and you’re good to your partner, but they often take you for granted, don’t listen to you or treat you in ways that make you feel less than special, you’d probably like to change this dynamic between the two of you.

I’ve noticed that many people are sabotaging their success in the workplace, as parents and in their romantic relationships, and they’re doing it with their habit of being too nice. This habit does the opposite of what they hope for, with their colleagues and supervisors, their children and their romantic partners.

If you’re being too nice in any of these aspects of your life, it’s most likely due to the mistaken idea that people-pleasing is the way to get people to like you and cooperate with you. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.

When you’re too nice in the workplace, people see you as weak and ineffectual. People-pleasing fosters disrespect and encourages people to take advantage of you, even bully you.

At home, being too nice to your children causes them to be more disobedient, because they see you as a buddy rather than an authority figure.

Your children might like you, but they won’t listen to you. More often, though, they won’t even like you, as the lack of discipline could ultimately be perceived by them as a lack of love which could then lead to them resenting you.

In a romantic relationship, being too nice means going along with what you don’t want, tolerating things that upset you, and not expressing your true needs and feelings. It’s dishonest and ultimately you’ll be left frustrated, unfulfilled and feeling unconnected to your partner.

Being too nice is meant to make people like you, but in fact, it makes them look down on you; it’s meant to foster cooperation, but in fact, it encourages disrespect and even exploitation.

Being too nice is meant to promote harmonious relationships, but in reality, it creates dishonest interactions in which the other person doesn’t know the real you and therefore will never be able to respond to your real needs.

The only way to be successful in work, parenting and romance is to let go of being so nice and start being more real. Next, I’ll explore the reasons why we fall into being too nice, and after that, I’ll discuss ways in which you can be kind, yet empowered, in your dealings with your colleagues, supervisors, children and romantic partner.

Sign up here for my free monthly wellness newsletter. April is all about becoming empowered in life.

And check out my new podcast series. In episode two I talk with filmmaker and activist Matthew McLaughlin about creativity, authenticity, masculinity and self-acceptance.

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About Marcia Sirota