The majority of us aim to live our lives as kind and nice people, surrounding ourselves with others we believe to be of the same nature. But, can you ever be too nice? It might be hard to think someone can be too nice. After all, it can seem like we’re surrounded by doom and gloom in today’s world.
However, some people can find their niceties are being taken advantage of or fall into the category of ‘people pleasing’, a behavioural pattern where individuals constantly strive to please others, often before themselves.
To help you notice if you’re becoming too nice and not prioritising yourself, we have five tips from therapist Logan Cohen. Logan has dedicated his life to helping people through therapy and has written a self-help book to help people improve their mental health. He explains how to recognise if you’re a people pleaser and if you need to start putting yourself first.
5 signs you’re being too nice
Here are Logan’s top five signs you’re being too nice and maybe becoming a people pleaser:
1. You're always there to lend a hand
Logan says that one trait people pleasers lean towards is always being on hand to help. This isn’t just being a helpful person but never saying no to people when they need help. For example, you would immediately stop doing something if someone else asked you for help. This can lead you to prioritise others' needs before your own, even when you are working on a task that is important to you.
2. You are excessively agreeable
Another pointer to being a people pleaser is that you tend to be excessively nice. Logan explains that if you have a reputation for being nice, it can make you hesitant to speak your mind for fear of causing disagreements.
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He says that people pleasers often believe that expressing their true thoughts might result in being perceived as nasty or wrong because they are usually agreeable and unfailingly friendly. People pleasers tend to have a fear of being alone, so don’t want to cause animosity or fall out with people. This causes them to withhold their opinions.
3. Other people's feelings take priority over your own
Being too nice can also be seen when people put their own feelings second, Logan explains. He says that people pleasers think that hurting another person’s feelings would be the worst thing they could do. This is because it can lead to falling out with them or fear they will be viewed in a negative way.
He says this fear leads to a feeling of responsibility for other people's feelings and doing everything to make them feel good/better, even if it means ignoring how you feel yourself.
4. You’re overly forgiving
If you’re too nice, you might find that you're overly forgiving. This can be seen when others do something wrong, and you forget about it within minutes. Then, you constantly blame yourself for your mistakes when the shoe is on the other foot.
Even if someone constantly hurts you or disrespects you, you always make excuses for their behaviour. Logan believes that this happens because deep down, people pleasers have a fear of being alone, so don’t want to distance themselves from people, or they might be left with no one. It can lead to people pleasers continuing to have toxic, rude, or uncaring people in their lives.
5. You apologise on other people’s behalf
Finally, Logan explains that the last sign that you’re being too nice is if you apologise on other people’s behalf. It ties into being overly forgiving. He says that if you’re a people pleaser, you might find yourself comforting and consoling those who have hurt your feelings, even though you're the one who deserves comfort. Phrases like ‘It's okay, you didn't mean it’ and similar apologies become a common occurrence.
Logan’s final piece of advice is that if you relate to these signs, it's essential to reevaluate your approach. Being kind and considerate is commendable, but it's equally important to set boundaries and prioritise your own wellbeing.
If you want more expert tips and recommendations, check out our page on wellness, which includes guides on breathing exercises for better sleep, how to create a productive workspace, how to tackle tiredness and tips for better sleep, according to experts.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.