5 Reasons Our Playing Nice Is Not Nice

It’s nice to be nice. In fact, we should be nice. The world definitely needs a huge dose of niceness. But there are instances when playing nice is counterproductive. For instance, Lois P. Frankel, PhD, in her book Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich underscored the many reasons playing nice does not help women (and I believe even men) in achieving financial independence. Playing too nice in life in general can be detrimental to our well-being, like in the following instances:


#1) We Want To Please Everybody

It is human nature to want approval, so we try to be agreeable with everyone around us. But when we keep this attitude undiscerningly, we end up as pathetic people-pleasers. People-pleasers do not have a life of their own. They do not have real friends. They have no time to pursue what they really want in life and in their careers. The result for them is bitterness and misery, and they can only get past this if they stop being doormats and accept that pleasing everybody is an impossible task for any one person.


#2) We End Up Rewarding Bad Behavior

Clifford Lazarus, in his article[1] on psychologytoday.com, spoke about the “Law of Effect.” He related a case where, despite the husband’s abusive behavior, the wife continued to treat him nicely, hoping he will soon reform – but she was disappointed. This is because of the Law of Effect. The husband continues with his type of behavior because he thinks that is what gets his wife to submit and serve him. Children use this law effectively as well. If a boy wants something and mom will not do it, he throws a tantrum and mom gives in, and it does seem like the bad behavior is being rewarded. Dr. Lazarus stressed that if we are treated badly, we should speak up and not smile and pretend it’s okay.


#3) It Puts Our Reputation on the Line

If we play nice even when people treat us like garbage, we either have a vow of some sort that we are trying to fulfill or we have some serious problems with our self-esteem. When we overdo niceness, we’re regarded as desperate, lacking a backbone, or as a coward, and we will not get any respect for it. It is even highly possible we will be taken advantaged of and used by others because of this.


#4) We Neglect Our Own Needs

Our quest to be nice and make other people happy can leave us feeling left out. The even sadder thing is when the people we are trying to please are unworthy. We have to understand that our first duty is to ourselves. When we are happy and content with our life, we will be able to help others be happy as well. We cannot give what we don’t have.


#5) We Compromise Our Dignity

Compromise is good. It is good when makes us better people or improves our relationships, but it is bad when we compromise the values or principles that make us upright persons. We are exposed to situations that challenge our values daily, and it is tempting to compromise just a little bit so as not to offend those around us. If we are not strong enough to resist, we will one day find ourselves in deep trouble; and sadly, the people we did that for cannot help us.

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