The Underbelly of Being Nice

Why do people fight so hard to be sweet, nice, and accommodating, rather than honest, genuine, and authentic? It is a great question. Cultures are set up and rewards are given if you follow the rules: always say yes, agree to everything, be nice, don’t rock the boat, and tell people things you think will make them feel good and like you. What can possibly go wrong?

Let’s take a look at the cost…

Being Nice — Passive Aggressive
If I am focused on “being nice” which, according to the dictionary means, among other things pleasant and agreeable; I am focused on you and what you want, not me and my thoughts. “Be a nice girl/boy” is what so many of us were taught.

So what happens if I disagree with something, or I am having a “not nice” day? What if I am upset? If nice is “the right way” or “good,” does it mean I am wrong or bad if I am not nice? If I don’t like someone and I have been trained to be nice, where are my real feelings going to go — if I can even access them?

Odds are, I am going to be sweet to the person’s face and speak poorly about them behind their back. Sound familiar? One of the foundations of passive-aggressive behavior has just been taught to me. Now I am not recommending that we need to tell everyone how we feel about them, but we can stop being little cheerleaders around them when we don’t believe their actions should be encouraged.

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Psychotherapist, Speaker, Coach, and Author of “Backbone Power The Science of Saying No”

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Dr. Anne Brown

Dr. Anne Brown

Psychotherapist, Speaker, Coach, and Author of “Backbone Power The Science of Saying No”

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