Do you constantly put the needs of others first and agree with everything anyone else says or does? Are you sick and tired of being the nice guy? Are you ready to start standing up for yourself and going after what you want without apology?
Today, we’re going to discuss how to be less nice.
Wait a minute . . . you want me to purposefully be less nice to people? Dr. Aziz, how dare you?!
I dare because constantly playing the “nice guy” is something that can get in the way of success and happiness in all areas of your life, including work, friendships and romance. Let’s be clear, here: I am not talking about how to become an awful human being—this is not a tutorial on being meaner. I am simply going to show you a few ways in which being overly nice can get in your way, and then I am going to help you to move past them.
First of all, the problem with being the nice guy is not showing kindness. Kindness is good, and you should continue to display it to the best of your ability with your family, friends and co-workers! The problem with being the nice guy is that you risk running into the habit of always submitting to the wants and needs of others without question . . . even when it is unjustly draining to you in an emotional, physical or financial way.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
When the nice guy routine becomes habit, we feel as though we don’t have a choice regarding our actions—we feel beholden to any request, because we subconsciously equate compliance with obtaining something from the other person:
Of course, I’ll let you make fun of me—then you’ll think I’m fun to be around!
Of course, I’ll agree with anything you say—then you’ll be my friend!
Of course, I’ll change the way I dress and act—then you’ll want to date me!
Dan Glover wrote a book called, No More Mister Nice Guy, in which he coins this tendency the “covert contract.” He defines this mental process as an invisible or implicit contract that the other person doesn’t even know that they’ve signed. In your mind, however, it’s understood that your “kindness” necessitates a specific form of repayment.
Unfortunately, this is not the way the world works. The result is that most nice guys are secretly pissed off that they aren’t getting what they expect in return for their niceness . . . but getting pissed off is not allowed because it’s not nice, so they hold in their frustration and anger. This excess dark energy gets stuffed away, deep into their subconscious minds and manifests itself in myriad physical ailments and complications.
If you think that’s a bunch of malarkey, go ask any medical doctor whether negative emotions can cause things like headaches, anxiety, muscle tension and nausea—you’ll quickly be set straight.
So how do you break free of this habit of playing the nice guy all the time?
You can start by asking yourself this question: What am I afraid will happen if I say “No”? What am I trying to avoid by being nice?
What I have found with my clients is that it is usually one of two things: conflict and guilt.
For some people, fear of conflict or confrontation is deeply rooted in things they’re taught since early in their childhoods—be a good boy; don’t question authority; do what your parents say because they said so. These individuals have no experience with questioning the status quo, so to imagine doing so is unthinkable . . . and they wouldn’t know how go about it in the first place.
For others, fear of confrontation stems from a fear of retaliation from the other party—they have no idea how the other person will react, so they think it’s better not to risk things getting out of control
The fear of guilt doesn’t stray too far from this idea: we don’t know how the other person will react, but we imagine that he or she will be hurt by us in some way if we don’t go along with the request. We worry we’ll hurt other people’s feelings. Consequently, we also worry that we’ll lose our relationship with that person because of our actions.
These are habits you must break if you hope to live the life you really want to live.
As I mentioned from the start, being less nice has nothing to do with being mean. It’s about being powerful and assertive and authentic—saying what you actually think and not cowering behind some fake “nice guy” persona.
Your opinions and feelings are valid, your emotions are valid, and your gut reactions are valid. If someone’s comment angers you, you don’t need to take it lying down. Sure, you probably want to take a moment to collect your thoughts or respond from a place of reason instead of pure rage, but you don’t need to be afraid of expressing the fact that someone has hurt you (if that is the case); you don’t need to be afraid of letting someone know that he or she has embarrassed you; you don’t need to be afraid of telling a friend he has taken advantage of you.
Yes, these things may sound scary . . . you’ve never done them before! You must take a chance, however, and begin to face your fears. When we do that and come out on the other side, we realize we can survive them.
Start small! You don’t have to confront the dragon on the first try. Try telling a waiter if he didn’t get your order right—don’t just eat it because you’re scared to speak up. Try telling a friend you can’t hang out because you need some alone time with your family—if he’s a true friend, he won’t question you either.
The more you do this, the more you will realize how much more peace and security it can bring to your life, and the more confidence and power you will start to feel. If you find that you’re still having trouble moving forward with this, check out my program, Confidence Unleashed, which is all about releasing your raw power and helping you access that sense of energy and power that you need in order to break through your old habits. These problems won’t solve themselves, so face them fearlessly so that you can begin to grow your power and take control of your life.
Please feel free to “like,” share your comments or subscribe below. What are your tendencies when it comes to being a nice guy? How have you been successful in being more assertive? We learn more quickly when we learn from each other, so let’s help each other out by connecting through our experiences!
In the meantime, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome. I’ll talk to you soon.
About The Author:
Dr. Aziz Gazipura is a clinical psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on social confidence. After being stuck in shyness and social anxiety himself for almost 10 years, he became determined to find a way to social freedom. You can connect with him on his Facebook, Twitter and official website.