The world can be a dark place where positivity and kindness are hard to find…
…yet, there are many nice people out there who try to take on that darkness by letting their own kind light shine.
It’s an admirable desire and quality in any person. Unfortunately, there is a tremendous amount of suffering, negativity, and selfishness in the world. People often look out for themselves, not their fellow man.
A kind, nice person who does not have solid boundaries to shelter behind is going to find themselves worse off.
That is not to suggest that you should stop being nice if you are, or that you shouldn’t be nice in the first place, just that you have to know when to close the door on a negative situation that may harm you.
Humanity must be seen for the enigma that it is – kind and cruel, compassionate and cold, charitable and selfish.
The ability to survive, thrive, and live in a healthy way is found in balancing these facets of the human condition.
Being too nice can actively damage your life, but an understanding of the challenges that go along with it can keep you from being harmed while you try to put something positive into the world.
So… what should you know?
1. People will try to take advantage of you.
A nice person can be a welcome breath of fresh air in the right circumstances. In the wrong circumstances, however, they can attract negative attention.
Nice can be a hindrance in competitive environments like the workplace and business, particularly if you make the mistake of thinking that the person opposite you will treat you with the same amount of niceness or respect.
People who are looking for an edge will often hone in on nice people, because nice often coincides with soft, especially if you’re in an environment where nice does not coincide with normal conduct in that environment.
You can avoid this by knowing your environment and ensuring your boundaries are solid. It’s okay to be courteous, polite, and professional so long as you can ensure your interests are protected and secure.
2. People may not respect you or your boundaries.
People will often test your boundaries, pushing to see how much they can get away with until you finally decide to push back to prevent being treated in an unacceptable way.
Quite often, they will then try to walk back their behavior by telling you that you just misunderstood, they didn’t mean it the way that they presented it, or that they were just joking.
It’s a common manipulative ploy that tells you a lot about the person you’re interacting with.
A genuine misunderstanding will generally include an apology and an attempt to rectify the behavior.
The people that walk it back are typically just looking for weaknesses in your boundaries, which they will find sooner or later if you let them continue poking around.
These people should be kept at a safe distance if not removed from your life altogether.
3. People will not strive to meet your needs.
Many people are selfish, self-centered creatures that are driven solely by their emotions and perspective of the world.
They may not be all that empathetic or sympathetic to the needs of others. They may be genuinely oblivious to their own behavior or they may actively not care.
In many cases, you’ll find that people who don’t care are people who once did but had their niceness and kindness taken advantage of.
Nice people need to be assertive. They must communicate to the people around them what their needs and expectations are.
Many nice people do not want to be perceived as mean, rude, or unkind, so they accept being treated poorly or without consideration so as to not cause a disturbance.
Sometimes you have to cause a disturbance if it means not being treated with respect.
4. You may forget to treat yourself well.
Not every nice person in the world is nice because that’s who they are. There are those who devote so much energy to being nice to other people as a form of self-medication to avoid confronting their own problems.
They may throw so much of their time and energy into the niceness they are giving to others that they may not address or take care of their own needs.
Life is chaotic and turbulent. People will go through a lot of positive and negative situations.
It’s extremely easy to get swept up in the negativity and problems of other people and pulled along with them.
Next thing you know, you may look around and see that years have passed without making meaningful progress on your problems that would allow you to find peace of mind and happiness.
Be nice to the world, if that’s what you want to put into it, but don’t forget to treat yourself just as well as you treat others.
5. People will view you with skepticism and mistrust.
A grounded perspective on the world we live in is necessary to ensure we maintain a healthy, balanced mindset.
Ideally, as a nice person, you’ll find yourself surrounded by other nice and kind people as you erect and enforce your boundaries well. Predators and users tend to shy away from people who don’t allow themselves to be manipulated.
However, it can be easy to lose sight of the rest of the world if your circle becomes too closed off.
We can fall into a false sense of security and complacency, offering too much out to people that may not respect or return the same niceness, and find ourselves hurt in the process.
It’s good to surround yourself with kind and nice people, but it’s not so good to lose sight of the difficult nature of humanity and the rest of the world.
It’s not that the world is a terrible place or that there is no room for niceness. It’s more that a majority of people are really looking after their own interests or self-preservation.
Nice people need to do that for themselves to some degree, too.
7. You may begin to resent the people you are nice to.
Resentment is a poisonous feeling that can slowly erode the foundation of friendships and trust. It often starts with a disproportionate exchange between the affected parties.
In the case of niceness, it can start to grow if the nice person is pouring too much of themselves in another person without an appropriate reciprocation.
That also depends on the context of a situation. Maybe you’re not friends with the person. Maybe they are a person who is having a hard time that you’re trying to uplift and support.
You don’t really expect niceness or kindness from them right now because they are struggling and trying to keep their head above the water.
But what happens when they finally move their mind into a better place and decide not to reciprocate when the nice person needs some support?
Then you have resentment.
Friendships and relationships are a different thing altogether. They are supposed to be reciprocal and mutually beneficial in some way.
You can’t constantly pour niceness and kindness into the cups of others without eventually depleting yourself. That process of depletion is much quicker if the person is a friend or a significant other who is not pouring back into you.
Resentment will build and that relationship will break down.
8. You may find yourself apologizing for things that aren’t your fault.
Nice people don’t typically like to see other people upset or be upsetting to other people. That can turn into a problem for a nice person if they start to shoulder problems and emotions that are not theirs to carry.
It’s one thing to be there for someone who is having a hard time, to offer some support and kindness in a trying moment. A nice person needs to be wary of that other person trying to shove their emotional responsibility onto them.
The nice person needs to be wary of the phrase, “I’m sorry,” to ensure that they are not apologizing for things that are not their fault and smoothing out emotions that the other person should be working on themselves.
9. You may find yourself overburdened with additional responsibilities.
Being too nice is a quick way to be swamped with an unmanageable amount of tangible responsibilities.
And by tangible responsibilities, we are talking about the activities that go on in your life, being volunteered for activities without anyone consulting you because they assume you’ll agree to it, or accepting more than your fair share of work.
People who are too nice and compassionate can be exploited by others who do not care about their feelings, respect their time, or their responsibilities.
“No.” is a complete sentence that nice people must learn.
There are times when it is good or necessary to provide additional justification, particularly if you’re trying to find a middle ground with people you are close to.
However, people who you are not close to where compromise isn’t required, or those who are taking advantage of you should never get more than a “no.”
Justification offers a manipulative person a potential in-road to inject self-doubt and undermine your “no.”
10. You wind up attracting narcissists, manipulators, and users.
Nice people attract narcissists, manipulators, and users.
Because nice pairs with naive often enough that it is a relatively safe gamble. People who are both nice and naive often want to see the best in other people, even people where their best doesn’t come close to overshadowing their negative.
Predators go for nice people because they are often easy to steamroll, manipulate, don’t ask the right questions, don’t establish boundaries and enforce them, and have a hard time watching other people suffer.
What does suffering have to do with it? A commonly used manipulative technique is to paint oneself as the victim in this cruel world.
“The boss had it out for me!”
“All of my ex-partners were crazy!”
“Everyone is against me and no one supports me!”
The manipulator tends to leave out their role in all of these things, how they acted to others, whether they were showing up for and actually doing their job, if they offered any type of support or help to their friends.
A naive person will feel bad for that person without scrutiny, not questioning their motives or inconsistencies. This puts them in a position to be manipulated.
The easiest way to counter this is to pay attention, listen for inconsistencies, and question them. You can sympathize with another person’s story, but don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment.
Niceness is a quality that this world is in dire need of, but it can definitely cause unwanted problems in your life.