05/26/2015 08:58 EDT | Updated 05/26/2016 05:59 EDT

Are You Too Nice in Your Relationships?


Everyone wants friendship and love in their life, and we all have our own ideas about how to create great relationships. One of the things that gets in the way of this is our tendency to be too nice.

Many of us are convinced that being "nice" is the way to win a friend or a partner and keep them; that if we please this person and give them what they need, they'll love us and stay with us, forever.

Well, it doesn't really work that way. The problem with being nice is that it's not who we really are. No-one, not the greatest person in the world, can be nice all the time.

Being authentic means showing all the colours of who we are to the other person, even if sometimes, these colours are not so nice.

When we're "nice," the other person can't know who we really are. What they like is our pleasing persona and not the whole of who we are, with our light and dark aspects; our nice and not so nice parts.

If someone is with us because they like our "nice" persona, we can never feel loved for who we are, so it's a very lonely situation.

If we want to keep the relationship, we have to continue being "nice," which takes an awful lot of effort for very little real reward.

And sometimes, being "nice" can get us into trouble. Overly nice people appear weak and needy, and have a tendency to attract users and abusers. It's easy for "nice" people to be taken advantage of, or worse, by someone who's happy to exploit our need to please.

When I was younger, I had a tendency to be "nice" in my personal relationships. I was overly generous and too understanding of behaviour that in retrospect, was not okay.

As my real-life experiences demonstrated, being nice attracted people who took advantage, or who didn't show me the respect and consideration I deserved.

I learned that being nice backfired, bringing me relationships that were disappointing and frustrating, rather than satisfying and joyful.

I had an epiphany: there was a way to be a caring, loving person and create great relationships. I learned how to be kind.

I realized that being "nice" is out of balance- we're giving more than we're getting. We're putting too much energy into making the other person happy, hoping that they'll do the same for us, when often, this doesn't happen.

I saw that we can be kind instead of nice, and interact with others in a much more balanced manner.

Being kind is putting our own needs first; it's loving ourselves and caring for ourselves in the same way as we've been doing for others.

When we take responsibility for meeting our own emotional needs, we fill up with self-love and self-respect. These good feelings then overflow outward, enabling us to be there for others in a way that doesn't deplete us.

Being kind is considering others, but also setting good limits. We're loving and giving, but we don't put up with bad behaviour or settle for less than what we truly deserve.

Being kind, as opposed to nice, has changed my relationships for the better. People know the real me, so I feel seen and loved for exactly who I am.

I'm a lot less tolerant of unacceptable behavior, but I'm also able to give a lot more, because I'm not being drained by frustrating or disappointing interactions.

Being kind is a win-win, because both people, whether in a love relationship or a friendship, can be authentic and express their genuine feelings and get their needs met.

Being kind to others starts with self-love and self-acceptance, so if someone doesn't like us, or if they reject us, we're not losing anything. We'll always have our good self-esteem.

Being kind enables us to conserve the energy we'd otherwise be wasting in trying to please someone or in dealing with their drama. A kind person has no interest in engaging in drama, and chooses to walk away from it.

I'm so glad that I went from being "nice" to being kind, and I want to empower other people to do the same thing.

When you start by building a great relationship with yourself, you can let go of being "nice" and become kind. You can be a loving, giving person, without all the drawbacks that come from being a pleaser.

Sign up here for my free monthly wellness newsletter. June is about how men can create fantastic relationships with women.

And men, if you want to learn more about how to have a great relationship with a woman, check out my new book in my Short and Sweet series. It's called, "Women Decoded: The Secret Strategy for Relationship Success."


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