“You’re SO nice!”
Ever heard that comment? If you have, you’re probably a little tired of it. Being labeled “nice” seems like a compliment at first, but it can indicate that people don’t respect your boundaries. While this isn’t always the case, there are a few ways to tell if your “niceness” is setting you back.
As believers, we are definitely called to be gentle and compassionate with the people around us. But we are NOT called to be doormats. Jesus Himself was “meek,” the word for “strength under control.” If being nice means allowing others to trespass your boundaries and abuse your time, it’s time to redefine “nice”! Following are three ways to know you are being way too nice, and how to fix them.
1. You Don’t Communicate What You Really Think
If, in the name of politeness, you don’t communicate your real thoughts on a topic near to your heart, “niceness” is also dishonesty. There is a way to communicate your opinion without disrespect! However, when we’re scared of conflict, we tend to hide behind courtesy, even when it’s insincere.
Learning to communicate honestly requires learning to embrace conflict. Conflict is not a bad thing; it’s a necessary part of life, and it helps us build positive relationships. If we hide from conflict every time it happens and refuse to communicate with honesty and truth, we’re not only hurting ourselves—we’re damaging our relationships, too.
It’s not mean to share an honest, educated opinion. Nor is it rude to confront someone lovingly about a wrong behavior or offense. Jesus taught us to be both kind and straightforward with the people in our lives.
2. You Take on Commitments You Really Don’t Want to Do
You don’t have time to bake cookies for the office party, but they asked, so…you said yes. When you’re unwilling to take the uncomfortable step of saying no, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with commitments you don’t really want to do! This is also connected to a fear of conflict. It may also indicate a fear of letting people down. Whatever the motive, the root is fear—and fear is not of God!
God wants you to live freely and only embrace the responsibilities He’s called you to do in this season. He gives you wisdom to discern which things you should commit to and which ones you should decline. Saying yes to everything doesn’t make you a better Jesus-follower; in fact, it limits how much energy you have for the things God IS calling you to do. Don’t take on too much in the name of being “nice.” Choose wisely.
3. Others Assume You’ll Always Say Yes
If you’ve repeatedly set a precedent of accepting new tasks and commitments, people may begin to abuse your time. This isn’t ill-willed; they simply expect you to be as “nice” as you were before! This is why it’s so important we learn to say no and set boundaries on our time. If you’re single now, it might be easier to spin all the plates. But someday, if you’re married with kids or furthering your career, you won’t have as much time to say yes to everyone. Start setting healthy, God-centered boundaries now and make good habits for the future.
It’s possible to be a nice person and still say no to a volunteer opportunity. It’s possible to be nice and confront your friend about an ungodly relationship. It’s possible to be nice and embrace conflict as part of life in a fallen world. It’s possible because when you obey God and follow Him, He gives you a compassionate and kind spirit—even when the task at hand is less than pleasant!