Nice For What? A Guide to Being More Assertive
by Jasmine L Bennett
Do nice girls finish last?
Yeah, that sometimes happens.
Being nice to some is considered a high standard, the golden rule, a personal display of morals and character. Yes, being the “nice girl” can get take you places, get you a good job and even get you a “good” man.
But what happens when you’ve been so nice helping others that no one looks back to help you. You keep allowing people to run over you and make you feel uncomfortable while you’re smiling, being “nice”. I’ve been there. Actually, I am there. I was (am) the nice girl. The girl that everyone wished they could be because I was always so quiet, had my acorns together, and was always so “nice". I put myself in awkward situations that I didn’t want to be in because I didn’t want to be looked at as the confrontational girl who just didn’t go with the flow.
There was a time when I kept quiet while someone kept bumping into to me in line at an amusement park. It was really getting on my nerves, but I just didn’t say anything because I thought that it would cause a scene and I would be considered mean for saying something about it. So, I just kept quiet and moved as far away for them as I could. Eventually, she stopped when I got a chance to go to the restroom. But internally, I was uncomfortable and annoyed.
There were also times during my marriage that something was bothering me, and I just didn’t say anything about it because I thought that I was just supposed to deal with it. It wasn’t anything major, but it was something that I felt like needed to change. Eventually, that little thing built up into a big huge argument about stuff that had nothing to do with him and I quickly realized how my philosophy of being nice was affecting not just me but those close to me. I took the time to evaluate myself and work on being nice while also voicing when something was bothering me.
If you want to be nice, but also want to speak up for yourself when you’re feeling uncomfortable, here are some ways to stand up for yourself without feeling disrespectful or mean.
Say Something the First Time
Don’t let things that are uncomfortable keep happening to you over and over and then you explode spontaneously because you’re filled to the brim with anger. When someone says something to you or does something to you that you don’t like, let them know at least the second or third time it happens that you don’t like it. If your friend keeps buying you cookbooks for your birthday and you know you don’t like cooking, let them know nicely that you aren’t that into cooking. Tell them gently and lovingly without being extra or mean. They may be upset initially, but if they love you and are really your friend they’ll understand.
If your co-worker asks you if you want to go to a concert to see one of their favorite artists and you’re not really into them, tell them the truth. Say that they’re not your favorite and you’ll help see if you can find someone else that would like to go. You don’t HAVE to go the concert just because they asked YOU. (Truth is you don’t HAVE to do anything) Of course, you want to be looked at as the “nice” co-worker that you can go out to have a good time with. And that may still be true. (just not at this concert) Saying "no" can be one of the most important words you say. Especially, when your mental wellness is depending on it.
“Take the time to stop running from the fear of confrontation.”
Don’t Avoid It
Most “nice” girls don’t like confrontation. You would rather make everyone else happy if it means you could avoid a fight or disagreement. So, you avoid being around someone or going to a certain place because you are always left feeling uncomfortable. You avoid hanging out with certain people that you love because they do things or say things that make you wish you weren’t there. Dodging them is cool at first, but eventually, you’re going to have to be around them again. Take the time to stop running from the fear of confrontation. Bring them to the side to talk to them or say in a lovingly way how you feel. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sit-down dinner 2-hour conversation. It could simply be done in just a few words or sentences like “I don’t really like __________, what do you think of __________?”
Don’t Downplay It
When things begin impacting your life, wellness, and body, it’s time to speak up and address what’s going on. Burying emotions and feelings will only lead to them turning into something bigger later. If something serious is bothering you whether it be family, friends, or work don’t ignore it hoping it’ll go away. And don’t tell yourself it’s not important because it is. If it involves your health and wellness, then it’s important. You matter, and you need to do what’s best and speak up for yourself.
“If it involves your health and wellness, then it’s important.”
Stop Trying to Please Everyone
If you’re like me and you love to make everyone happy, it can be hard even think about the possibility of letting someone down. Even if it’s a stranger you just met. You inhale and exhale loyalty and love. It’s who you are and how you live. If you could, you would do at least one thing to make everyone in the world happy. In reality, that won’t happen. If we're honest with ourselves, we don’t even know what we need as women to make ourselves happy sometimes. So, what makes us think that we can make everyone happy all the time? If being nice could make everyone happy, then it would have happened already. But it hasn’t and that’s not just your problem. The truth is, you can’t please everyone. Do your best, show love, be loyal and speak up when something is bothering you.
Being nice DOES NOT involve you allowing other people to run over you and excluding your own happiness. You can still be kind and discreet while letting people know how you feel. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself… in a nice way of course.
About The Authour
Jasmine is an author, creator of mental wellness plans, foodie, wife and mommy. She’s also an aspiring mom nerd. Find out more about her wellness plan for women with depression @getrealwdepression.