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Disadvantages of being nice - When being too nice can hurt

Are you being too nice?

Are you being too nice?

Only a skeptic would think of the disadvantages of being nice. After all, being Mr. Nice Guy is the way to go, isn't it? Irony or the truth of life, call it what you want. Being nice to everyone around your all the time can sometimes hurt you. From horror stories of being labeled and treated as a doormat to cases of school and workplace bullying, the cons of being nice may land the best of us in a soup. Here is a skeptical approach to why being nice, can fail.

For the ease of relating certain points to real life situations and examples, words like he, guy and man have been used. However you should note that this hub is not gender specific. It is aimed at both, male and female audiences.

Being nice amongst friends

In a perfect world, a group of friends would be full of people who are nice to each other and understand the emotional and moral quotient of each person in the group. As many would advice you, our world is anything but perfect. Being nice with your friends will definitely earn you heaps of brownie points and get you labeled as a 'good friend'. But sometimes, being nice may get you labeled as the guy who will accept everything thrown at him. Here's how.

  • You may find yourself always running around to help your friends because you, Mr. Nice Guy, are only a phone call away and hardly need any convincing
  • Your opinion may never matter while you and your friends decide for a place you want to visit for a short trip because your friends may think "Surely he won't say no to come to Mt Buller. He's nice and he won't reject this idea. Let's go with it"
  • You will seldom be considered a man who will step up in a fight because Mr. Nice Guy usually doesn't pack a punch
  • Being nice may make you the victim of practical jokes because you will not be expected to retaliate
  • Being nice can lead to bullying

Being nice at work

Being nice to others at work can definitely have a lot of disadvantages. An office or a workplace environment generally has the atmosphere of cut throat competition, even though it may not be that apparent. People may be clawing their way up the corporate ladder to get an edge over their very own friends and work colleagues. It is this very reason of "getting the upper hand" at work that people who try to be nice may be faced with certain disadvantages. Here are some common workplace scenarios that you may be faced with if you go that extra mile to be nice to all your colleagues.

  • Colleagues at work may take advantage of you and try to offload their share of work to you
  • You boss may give you more work than you can do, thinking "Oh he's a nice guy. He won't say no"
  • Being nice may get you all the awards and compliments like "nice job!", but can delay that significant promotion because nice guys usually don't make great managers
  • When companies and corporates are looking for people who can be their faces, they may prefer to groom the arrogant brat and tone down his arrogance levels rather than groom Mr. Nice Guy to put him out of his comfort zone
  • In many work environments, employees are expected to ask and fight for perks and other benefits which may not be the agenda of someone who is really nice and courteous

Being nice to your partner in a relationship

Although being nice in a relationship sounds like the perfect thing to do, it can show its ugly side when things start to go wrong. Although 'being nice' and 'being in love' sound perfectly complimentary to each other, there may be times when your habit of going that extra mile for your partner may backfire. In no way, does this mean that you should ever be rude to your partner. But keep your eyes and ears open and be alert of possible signs that your partner is taking advantage of your niceness. Here are a few classic examples.

  • Your partner may take you for granted thinking "Oh he's too nice. He won't say anything"
  • You may always be the one to bow down out of arguments simply because you are habituated to being nice
  • You could be lied to because your partner may think "Oh he is too nice. He won't suspect anything"
  • "Honey I've zeroed in on this fantastic restaurant for our date tonight. I already made the booking because I thought you wouldn't mind even though you don't like this type of cuisine" Get the point, Mr. Nice Guy?
  • If you are just too nice to your partner all the time, you may find yourself doing all the work, errands and the boring bits that come as responsibilities of being in a relationship

Being nice in general

Being nice to people around you in daily life is really the right thing to do. After all, life is all about spreading love and sharing the joy, isn't it? Allow me to pull you out of your fairytale world and welcome you to the harsh 21st century. Everyone around you is out to climb the imaginary ladder of life filled with false notions of success and prosperity equals money. So don't be surprised if your niceness or politeness brings you in harm's way. Here are some typical daily life situations that can happen if you are the person who is always nice to others.

  • "Hard bargaining never fails" and that's exactly why being nice to a salesperson in a shop may land you with an overpriced deal
  • You may be ridiculed behind your back because being nice and overtly friendly with strangers may be looked down upon by the more arrogant personalities
  • People may take emotional, moral, physical or financial advantage of you in daily life simply because you are being nice and don't have the heart to say no
  • Being nice will definitely not help your cause if you are calling a customer service helpline to complain for the lack of services or a faulty product


princesswithapen (author) on January 06, 2012:


What you face right now is a spot that the best of us find ourselves in, every now and then. There are always going to be people who will jump on and take advantage of your niceness. After all, survival of the fittest is nature's law. Although primitive, that law has still rubbed off on us humans. I hope you strike the right balance between being nice and otherwise, very soon.


jasper420 on January 06, 2012:

great hub you make a good point im currently trying to find a balance between being nice and not getting used

Tabiee from Pakistan on November 18, 2011:

You are a quality writer and I appreciate you! Keep it up! Write at trust & friendship as well

princesswithapen (author) on November 18, 2011:

Scroll to Continue

Thanks a lot Tabiee! I really appreciate your kind words.

Tabiee from Pakistan on November 18, 2011:

Leave it. Anyway I like you hubs!

princesswithapen (author) on November 18, 2011:

Hi Tabiee

Being nice has its downsides when people go overboard with it or when others start taking advantage of your niceness. Labeling the idea of being nice as real trouble would be a bit harsh, don't you think? Thanks for re-visiting this hub.


Tabiee from Pakistan on November 18, 2011:

Yeah Being Nice is a real trouble!!!!

princesswithapen (author) on November 17, 2011:

Hi Tabiee

Thanks for voting this up. I'm glad you liked this hub!


Tabiee from Pakistan on November 17, 2011:

Absolutely true! Voted up!!!!

Textured Ideas on November 08, 2011:

No problem, I enjoy your articles =)

Oh dear, I just reread my comment and I had meant to type business success in the sense of being hard-nosed can be an advantage in business affairs, but typed karmic success for some reason while getting ahead of myself.

Isn't is awful when you read a comment back and think "Why on earth did I write that?!" or disagree with yourself afterwards!

Anyway, sorry about causing confusion in any way!

princesswithapen (author) on November 08, 2011:

Textured Ideas

Thanks for the appreciation. It means a lot!

Textured Ideas on November 08, 2011:

Hi princesswithapen, yes it's very true that what goes around comes around. You're right that it's always good to remain nice, but a shame when people do take advantage. A great hub! =)

princesswithapen (author) on November 08, 2011:

Hi Textured Ideas

It'd be a little harsh to say that being nice never earns us karmic success. In fact, I believe that being nice always pays off because I am a strong believer in the fact "what goes around comes around"

I think it is that art of knowing when to be nice, rather than being nice always that is the key to not let people take advantage of you. I have to agree with you that being too nice can cause people to take undue advantage of good nature.


Textured Ideas on November 08, 2011:

This is so true! Being too nice causes people to take advantage of good nature and then it can go too far, finding it hard to say no to people when they expect too much. You're right that unfortunately being nice doesn't earn us karmic success.

princesswithapen (author) on November 07, 2011:


You seem to be a gem of a person because you find it hard to not to be nice! Deep down inside, I can relate to that. However, time, age and experience, like Chatkath pointed out, have taught me to be firm while dealing with people. On the other hand, being nice to loved ones and people who you care about is a must! It is a tough balancing act. Much like a tight-rope walk that life throws at us. It's great to know that you take situations like these as a lesson, and that's what we all should do.

Thanks for your warm feedback!


princesswithapen (author) on November 07, 2011:


You seem to be a gem of a person because you find it hard to not to be nice! Deep down inside, I can relate to that. However, time, age and experience, like Chatkath pointed out, have taught me to be firm while dealing with people. It's great to know that you take situations like these as a lesson, and that's what we all should do.

Thanks for your warm feedback!


Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on November 07, 2011:

It's very right, being nice to everyone around you all the time can sometimes hurt you. I've many times take it as a lesson, but one thing hard to do is not to be nice... so perhaps a list of precautions will help. I like this hub, voted up and interesting!

princesswithapen (author) on November 07, 2011:

Hi Chatkath

You're absolutely right. Time, age and experience are indeed some of the greatest teachers in our lives.

It is good to be nice, but at the end of the day, it is difficult to find the right balance between being nice and being taken advantage of like you mention. I'm glad you liked this hub.


Kathy from California on November 06, 2011:

Very interesting topic princesswithapen...I think I was a bit more self-absorbed in my younger days, becoming more empathetic with time, age and of course, experience...perhaps wanting to create good karma at long last? You make some good points about what happens sometimes when we are "nice" unfortunately, and I have certainly experienced it when people expect that nice person no matter what. Not happening! No one is nice all the time, everyone has their limit, so it is all about give and take. Life works well when we balance it out that way but it's never easy. Up and awesome!

princesswithapen (author) on November 01, 2011:


True, to a certain extent. Although I'm sure there are many other elements that go into someone finishing last.

Your comment is very complimentary to the hub. Thanks!


princesswithapen (author) on November 01, 2011:

Hi missolive

I really don't know where to start replying to your comment because it is one hell of a ride! Your experience with the parent in the school halls is disappointing. And I have to agree with you that finding a middle ground when it comes to being nice vs. sounding arrogant is difficult.

All said and done, being nice to others is definitely the way to go. The key is to be aware when people start taking advantage of your niceness. Most of the times, it is all about putting the foot down at the right time.


bangingbeauty on November 01, 2011:

There goes the saying, Nice guys finish last. True at times!

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on November 01, 2011:

hard part for me is saying "no"

I always end up rambling with excuses - still working on that one.

honesty is great - however, I am finding myself constantly guiding my middle schoolers on the difference between what you COULD say and what you SHOULD say

I'm scared of mean people! lol - I was CHEERFULLY walking down the hall (at my school mind you) and I enthusiastically said "Hi! How are you today?" to a passing ADULT (a parent I didn't know) She laughed at me in wicked smirky kind of way and said, "Do I know you?" then let out an aggravated huff as she passed me. (and we wonder why we have parent conferences - right?)

Well, before I write an entire hub in this comment box...

I really enjoyed this hub and I do find it valuable. It is difficult to find a nice middle ground when one wants to please and some just go over the top and come off as annoying. I worked in retail and corporate management for many years before I went into teaching. So, I really enjoyed your examples on the sales floor. Personally, if a sales person is overly friendly and following me everywhere I end up leaving.

Voted UP and across! :)

princesswithapen (author) on October 31, 2011:

"....When we are in love we trust the other person and they trust us, and I know I would never take advantage of my partner's lovely...." Put perfectly, bell du jour.

However it is not uncommon for partners of people who are control freaks or dominating by nature, to bear the brunt of their own niceness. Many relationships go sour simply because one partner may feel that they are being taken for granted due to their own niceness. You and your partner are very lucky t have each other as loving and understanding individuals.

I'm glad you liked this hub and thanks for stopping by!


princesswithapen (author) on October 31, 2011:

Hi Jenn

Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong in being polite and respectful. In fact, that's the way it should be. Like you said, it is when people intrude into your personal boundaries is when you start treading in murky waters.

I'm really glad you found this hub interesting. Thanks for reading and commenting!


princesswithapen (author) on October 31, 2011:

Hi Husky

You're right. Honesty is a vital element of any friendship, relationship or workplace bonding. It is unfortunate that expressing an opinion which disagrees with public consensus can often be interpreted as 'not being nice'. But that's the way the world goes around and some on the most successful managers and entrepreneurs have cared to disagree.

Thanks for your warm and insightful comment!


bell du jour from Ireland on October 31, 2011:

A lot of what you have written is very true, in my experience being too nice in the workplace won't get you anywhere. However in personal relationships its different, isn't it? When we are in love we trust the other person and they trust us, and I know I would never take advantage of my partner's lovely nature because I care about him, and he wouldn't do it to me. Great hub though and voted up.


jenn-zee from Toronto, Ontario on October 31, 2011:

Very interesting hub, thanks! I think what you need to be is assertive. That is, nice, so long as others are "nice" to you. There is nothing wrong with being polite and respectful of others, but once you are letting other people disrespect your personal boundaries, you are no longer "nice" -- you are, to put it mildly, a milksop.

Husky1970 on October 31, 2011:

An excellent hub, especially because it has been written by a person who is inherently very nice. It is so true that being nice all of the time is somewhat detrimental in the areas that you have mentioned. It sounds as if you know quite well when it is time to be nice and when it is not.

In friendships, relationships, and the workplace, it is always best to be honest and to express your opinion, not surpress it because it might not be perceived as "nice" to disagree. You have expressed this very skillfully, princesswithapen. Readers of this hub can benefit from such sage advice.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

princesswithapen (author) on October 31, 2011:

Hi icciev

I agree with you to a certain extent however I believe that if we be firm and stern, rather than outright "mean", it should suffice. I like your comment " this world you eat or you will be eaten" Well said!

Thanks for stopping by.


princesswithapen (author) on October 31, 2011:

Hi Sonia05

It's great that you and your husband go out of the way to be kind and helpful to others. But as you may have noticed, that can sometimes backfire and you can be taken for granted. It is a fine line to balance on to, but I'm sure you will get the hang of things if you make a conscious effort.

I'm really glad you could relate to this hub. Thanks for reading and commenting!


icciev from Kuwait on October 31, 2011:

I totally agree with you being nice always harm people, because there is always devil people who doesn't honor the person who is nice. and as you know in this word you eat or you will be eaten. being mean with some people doesn't interfere with being nice all the time because some people deserve to be treated that way. thanks for sharing this deep thoughts and voted up.

sonia05 from india on October 31, 2011:

Hey, I can really understand the disadvantages of being too nice. My husband dear is someone of this sort. He is very kind and helpful and its difficult for him to say 'no' to anyone. I know for sure that he is taken for granted and I do not like it. I try to convince him and make him understand that he is going over the board but its his nature. He sees my point of view but is unable to avoid being toooooo nice. Because of this, I am also pushed into this nice business which makes me irritable sometimes!!!

Your hub is very relevant especially for me. Thank you for sharing this hub. I really liked it. voted up!

princesswithapen (author) on October 31, 2011:


Yes. I was always under the impression that I'd never find the time to get to even 50 hubs, let alone 100.

There is a fine line between being polite all the time and engaging into compulsive 'being nice' behavior. You are right, it is not the same thing. But those who engage in the latter can often face the wrath of dodgy personalities.


FloraBreenRobison on October 31, 2011:

I see you are only two hubs from 100. As for this hub, I don't know anyone who is always nice or always nasty. I do know people who are always polite, but that is not the same thing.

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