Everybody wants to be likable. Everyone wants to have lots of friends. For some us, it’s a lifestyle - making constant efforts to please the people around us, moving out of our comfort zones for them, prioritizing their choices over ours. Relatable much?
However, we need to understand that there is a fine line between being nice and a total pushover.
The world that we live in considers being mean as the new cool. It has blurred the difference between being witty and thrashing people's confidence. People here don’t value the virtue of niceness. Instead, they try to overpower you, consider you weak.
I strongly believe that whatever you give in to the universe, you get it back. Therefore, it’s nice to be nice. But not at the cost of self-respect.
Here’s what you need to do to make sure you’re just a nice person and not a pushover.
1. Know your boundaries
Mark the limits. Calculate the extent to which niceness ends and exploitation starts. Don’t let people walk over you. Moving out of your comfort zone to do something for someone isn’t always bad. But you need to make sure that doing so, you’re not harming your own self-esteem.
Do people often tell you to do "their" job for them? Do your peers ask you to randomly pay for their drinks when they take you with them to a bar after work? Do people ask to borrow your personal belongings and never return them? If the answer to even one of these questions is YES. Then you've got yourself written "pushover" all over you. Stop. Know your boundaries - and tell THEM to respect them.
2. Avoid self-centered people
Some people tend to overpower you emotionally. That’s a red signal. Stop right there and change your path. They’re not the right people to deal with. So, how do you spot them? Observe their behaviors. They love to talk about themselves, crave attention, and will cut you off once their goal is fulfilled. Runaway from them as fast as you can.
Do you ever get a call from a random friend asking for advice on something you're good with? Maybe finance? Music? Real estate? Anything - but once you have given them the advice, the next sentence that comes out of their mouths is, "Alright, thanks, man. Later."
Well, mark such people and whenever they try to use you for advice; tell them you're too busy to take out time for jerks.
3. Put yourself first - ALWAYS
Learn to prioritize yourself. Trust me, it’s a form of self-care. Going out of your way to help others is super nice. But, understanding that by fulfilling someone else's needs; you're not killing yours, is much more important.
If you are not nice to yourself, there’s no point in being nice at all. If you keep agreeing to help other people while you cancel your own plans on yourself - you are deliberately putting your self-esteem down. Listen to yourself. Your inner self. What it says is important. Remember, self-love over everything!
4. Know if you’re saying yes just to avoid saying NO
I get it. If you’re genuinely a nice person, it gets really tough to say NO at times. People tend to emotionally drive you into saying yes for things you would’ve never done on your own. So, here’s a trick. In a situation where you’re not sure if you agree or not, evaluate if you’re saying yes just so you save yourself from all the emotional chaos of saying NO. Keep in mind that you don’t owe people to agree to everything they say. Value yourself.
5. Count the number of times you apologize
Sorry is a magical word. Sure! But, are you overusing it? Count it. How many times do you apologize in a day? And at what accounts? Shocked? Now repeat after me, STOP APOLOGIZING FOR THINGS YOU HAVEN’T DONE WRONG. You don’t owe an apology for having an opinion. You don’t owe an apology for saying what’s right. You don’t owe an apology having standards and boundaries.
6. Practice self-assertiveness
Don’t be afraid of voicing your opinions. It’s nothing to feel guilty about. Unpopular opinion: You don’t need to be rude to say what you believe. Stay calm. State your concerns simply and directly and don’t underestimate the power of ‘I’. Say it! Say it out loud. ‘I think it should be like this’. ‘I don’t agree with you’. You can do it!
Your goal isn’t to be rude to someone. Your goal is to prioritize yourself and your feelings. Again, this does not mean that you shouldn’t be nice. But, just don’t let others exploit you. Remember, if you can’t help yourself, you can’t help others as well.