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Can You Be Too Nice?

It is an interesting question - can you be too nice? Is it possible that being too nice can harm your relationship? The answer could surprise you. Have you ever said or heard your partner say: “I’m done with this, I don’t want to do anything for anybody ever.” “I am sick of having to make all the decisions. You won’t tell me what you want to do. All you says is whatever I want.” “I get no respect. We always have to do things your way.”

Too Nice

Tensions may arise in your relationship from a surprising source. The things that you think are helping your relationship may not be helping. People, who are too nice in their relationship, in time, tend to feel like they have disappeared into the relationship and may end up feeling that they have to remove themselves from the relationship to re-establish their identity. You can prevent yourself from being swallowed up in your relationship by recognizing when you are being too nice and choosing to be true to yourself in your relationship.

You can be too nice if you consistently do for your partner what they could and should be doing for them self. You can be too nice, if you rescue your partner from the consequences of their actions. You can be too nice if you constantly sacrifice your wants and needs to accommodate your partner’s wants and needs. You can be too nice by tiptoeing around your partner to avoid conflict.

People who are extremely conflict-avoidant and overly concerned with keeping others happy often give up being themselves to be in their relationships. They are afraid to express their thoughts and opinions for fear of upsetting their partner. They refuse to bring up difficult subjects because that might lead to conflict or at minimum an uncomfortable exchange.

They get burned out in their relationship because they are constantly pleasing everyone else, hoping that someone will give back to them. They are frequently disappointed because they refuse to set boundaries around what they are willing and able to do and around how they want to be treated.

Initially the partner may think it is great to have a partner who is constantly giving them what they want and need. In time that partner may become frustrated because they cannot seem to coax an opinion out of their people-pleasing partner. There will definitely be confusion when their people-pleasing partner begins to express their resentment. When people-pleasers gets seriously burned-out, their behavior usually drastically changes from constantly pleasing their partner, to being obnoxious and refusing to do anything for anybody.

We absolutely need to be caring, generous and kind in our relationships. But when being nice prevents healthy open communication, means constantly discounting your own wants and needs, means taking responsibility for your partner’s behavior, you have crossed over into being too nice. Being too nice will build resentment within you and frustration within your partner. In the long run, being too nice will harm your relationship.

Can you be too nice in your relationship? The answer is that as long as you have a backbone and equally respect yourself, you can never be too nice. Be nice, but recognize your limits and set your boundaries accordingly. Be honest with your partner, communicate openly, respect your wants and needs as well as your parrtner’s, allow your partner to experience the consequences of their behavior and expect and allow your partner to contribute meaningfully to the relationship.