On the most recent episode of my favorite online business show, Kitchen Table Talks with Chris Brogan and Joe Sorge (Tuesdays 2:00-2:30 ET on The Pulse Network), their weekly viewer discussion question was…
“Are you ‘too nice’?”
It was an excellent discussion point which brought many insightful responses. The question itself, however, contains a bit of a challenge. And – as long-time readers of this blog who know my rather predictable thought-processes have most likely already figured out – it is…”the premise” of the question itself.
In other words, what is meant by the word “nice?” Without a stated definition, everyone who answers the above question, will do so based on their personal belief system and internal definition. And, that’s exactly what happened.
Within the first two definitions were: pleasing; agreeable; delightful: a nice visit. Amiably pleasant; kind: They are always nice to strangers.
When answering the question about being “too nice” many wrote about “giving in” or being “taken advantage of.” These answer make sense in terms of the framing of the question. I mean, obviously, if a person is “too much” of something then it must be counter-productive.
Yet, nothing in the definitions above regarding the word “nice” would indicate that even a high degree of “nice” should have that result.
So, my response was the following:
“If you are nice AND being taken advantage of, it’s not because you are nice. It’s because you allow yourself to be taken advantage of.”
I’ve blogged in the past on topics such as how to be nice…while saying “no” to those things you should (or desire to) say no to. Also, one can be extraordinarily and authentically nice while involved in a disagreement and yet, not give an inch if that would be improper. And certainly, being nice while not compromising one’s principles is a hallmark of a person both confident and competent.
So, in my opinion, you cannot be “too” (i.e., “too much”) nice and have negative results. However, you can choose to be taken advantage of partake in other counter-productive behavior. But the two do not have any natural relationship.