Is it possible to be *too* nice?

You know, that age-old fallback excuse for not dating the ‘nice guy/girl’…is it possible to be *too* nice?

I was first asked that question this weekend by my ex (yes, my ex) as we caught up briefly about life, in general. He’s back at the dating game (again. shocker.) and asked me if I thought he was ‘too’ nice. Well, suffice it to say, my first snarky rely was going to be ‘um, no, clearly you’re not, since you divorced me.’ But I thought better of it and would have honestly only said that as a joke, not because I truly believe it, because I don’t. He is a nice guy.

But that’s not the point of this post.

Sometimes I struggle with M’s niceness. He’s a giver. Through and through (please withhold the ‘that’s what she said’ comments, though I guarantee at least half of you smirked at that word choice. Heh.). He’s incredibly generous. He never says no (as we know). He puts me (and most everyone else) ahead of himself.

Yet I find that difficult sometimes.

Sometimes I just want him to say no to me. To put his own needs before mine. To let ME pay. To take me up on the ‘no gifts for Valentine’s Day because it’s a silly holiday’ thing. To offer up an opinion on plans when I suggest something (he suggests or makes plans for us too, don’t get me wrong, but if I offer something else, he’ll almost always go with my plan instead). To say no to those in his life that constantly ask him for money.

He may sound like a ‘pushover’ and he’s actually not, because he does stand up for himself, he’s a leader at work, and a solid contributor in every aspect of his life. He mostly ‘takes my lead’ on stuff we do together because he says ‘when I am happy, he is happy’ or ‘I don’t care what we do, as long as we’re together.” All beautiful words and gestures and I love him so much for it, but part of me fears taking advantage of that, so I become hypersensitive to it and try to censor myself in terms of putting an opinion out there on plans and such and wait for him to suggest something first, sometimes, because I know that if I make the first move, what I say goes.

I don’t know why I hate that sometimes, but I do. I hate it, but I love it about him, because at the root of it, he is a generous giver of a man. And there are so few of those in this world. And I am lucky enough to have one in my life. And I know it. But that also adds to the hypersensitiveness.

We’ve talked about this quite a bit. And we’re both working on it – for both of us to communicate as openly as possible, no matter what, for me, to be more open and flexible and to take that step back (my own initiative, not anything he’s said or done) and him on learning to say no.Β  I’m determined to get that out of him. But is that the right thing to do? I am not even sure. I don’t want to change him. But I don’t want him to ultimately become unhappy in our relationship or for it to be one-sided.

So, what do you think? IS it possible to be too nice?

After ‘blogging it out,’ I don’t thing I agree with that statement, but I do see the danger in being so open that you never get ‘your way’ and that’s the last thing I want to happen with us. I believe in fairness and equality and balance in a strong relationship. We’re mostly there, I think, but sometimes it just weighs on me and affects me more than it should.

(not even sure if this post makes sense. I’m just sort of blurting it out there as it comes to me. So, bear with me!).

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57 thoughts on “Is it possible to be *too* nice?

  1. I think you know where I stand on this–as I am one who has stopped dating a guy because he is “too nice.”

    I understand what you’re saying–you definitely want a nice guy who treats you right and accepts you for who you are. BUT–I don’t want someone I can just walk all over. It’s no fun to get your way–ALL the time. I like it when Eric stands up against me and tells me I’m being a brat. Because I can definitely be a PITA.
    Maybe it’s just about finding the right balance–and good thing you guys are working on it!

    1. Yes, walking all over someone is never good…especially when it’s easy to do. I totally get that. I do however, think you are right on the point that it IS all about balance and some adjustments. I have a feeling part of the reason why he does this with me is because of being hurt in the past, and maybe an inner fear of ‘if i don’t say yes all the time, then she’ll leave’ or something. It’s definitely not a make or break for me, it’s just something I want to better understand how to help him with.

  2. I think I’m usually M. and then I resent someone later. BUT…he seems way more stable than me πŸ™‚ I don’t want someone to say NO to me if it’s unreasonable, but I do appreciate a guy who will tell me to stuff it if I’m being a dumbass πŸ™‚ Balance again…you just have to find it!

    1. Right, I definitely wanna know if I am being a dumbass πŸ˜‰ It’s almost like a good check and balance…that he CAN feel comfortable doing that with me instead of just glossing it over. I think it’s just something that we need to work through together, because let’s face it, I have some of these tendencies too. I am not good at saying no that often either.

  3. Interesting. Yes, I think you can be too nice for your own good. Sometimes I am way too nice and get pushed around for it. But then i can go to the other extreme as well. Maybe he truly wants to put you first? This is a tough one, especially not really knowing him.

    1. You know? I think he DOES genuinely want to put me first…and part of me is hard to accept that because I haven’t had that before, so that part feels really really special. I just look at it more in terms of HIM being happy and satisfied in our relationship. So I want to make sure he is and not just yes’ing me to death either.

  4. To answer your question, yes, it is possible to be too nice. Also, there is a fine line between being too nice, and being a doormat. No one want’s to date a doormat really.

    As far as M, you say, “He may sound like a β€˜pushover’ and he’s actually not, because he does stand up for himself, he’s a leader at work, and a solid contributor in every aspect of his life.”

    And…..so what?

    Him not being a pushover at work has nothing to do with him being or not being a pushover within the confines of your relationship. He needs to find a proper balance between being nice and voicing his opinions.

    If he does not, and if you feel so strongly about it, can you truly be happy?

    1. Well, I never said I wasn’t happy. Clearly, I am. Through and through. So, let’s just get that out on the table. He is, by far, the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. But to your point – there IS a fine line between nice and being a doormat. Right now, I actually think it’s GOOD that he has the ability to set boundaries and say no and such at work because that is WAY harder to overcome – being a doormat at the office. IMHO. So, while yes, I do think there is truth to ‘too nice’ I don’t think he firmly fits that category either, he just has a lot of tendencies that way and my concern is that HE is happy in our relationship too, not just me.

      1. I didn’t mean if you were happy now. I meant if he continues to do what he is doing, and it continues to annoy you, can you be happy then? You obviously feel strongly about it, otherwise you would not have written about it.

        1. well, yes, of course, if nothing changed and he never had an opinion on anything, that would probably be an issue. But now? We’re just scratching the surface, it’s far from an issue.

  5. My opinion? And I say this because I am married to an “M” of my own and I count myself lucky. Not because Scott is a pushover because he’s not. He stands up to his wifey just fine when I get all Type A on him and all that jazz. What I think this comes down to is you’re not used to having someone who is THIS in love with you and I think it scares you a little. Yes, with a “giver” in your life it’s easy to inadvertently take advantage of that without meaning to. So you learn, over time, you learn a good balance and it works. It doesn’t mean you need to change him or he needs to change or YOU need to change. nope. it’s just a nuance you both need to adjust to – M finally has a woman in his life that wants him to be himself and not someone else and loves him as he is. And you need to adjust to the fact that you have a man in your life that is strong and smart and LOVES you and is committed to you and is a true giver in every sense of the word. And you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Not as far as I can see it. I have that and cherish every minute of that time with Scott…because he’s a rare gem and I’ll take him just as he is. For what it’s worth.

    1. Well, sis you should have just written my blog post, because you clearly make a lot more sense than me πŸ™‚ You are right, seriously. I see it so much with you and Scott, all in good ways. Guess we’re related, huh?

      1. Sometimes I think you get so caught up in analyzing, mulling, ruminating and overthinking, you don’t see things the way we see it on the outside, looking in on your relationship. That’s all. You could benefit from shutting that brain down now and then I think. I call it a bad case of ‘blogger brain” but that’s just me. πŸ˜‰ And it helps that I have an “M” of my own to compare to which gives me a different perspective.

      1. Ha-ha, that’s too funny Heather! I think Jess is right, we’re all related in a past life πŸ˜‰ Jess, you’re right, I am overanalyzing this a bit. I guess it’s because I want to help and I want him to be happy too. And I get paranoid he does too much for ME that he can’t possibly be as happy! But that’s silly.

  6. Hmmm. I don’t exactly know if I actually have two bits of anything on this one.

    Tim was (is) still like that. And he explained it to me like this once: Guys are fixers. We love to fix things. Fix your problems…fix your broken toilet seat…whatever. And in that same vein, guys want to please their SO, because it’s *like* fixing something. You get all happy and ‘my hero!’ and whatever. This makes us feel important and helpful and needed. We are the hunters…we bring the bacon and you = happy. Just like we go along to the chick flick or the thing you want to do and you = happy. We do everything we can to make YOU happy. Doing that is like we fixed something. And we’re fixers.

    I don’t know if that helps you… but it helped me.

    1. I actually like your perspective on this, coming from you as married to a ‘nice’ guy. I like the fixer aspect, and it really relates to M too since he ‘fixes’ all day at work too. I think it will take some time for both of us to adjust and realize that we can be ourselves completely without fear of hurting the other one’s feelings. Ya know?

  7. as a single i just want to say “oh boo hoo – you have someone who wants to fawn all over you and make you happy…” – but I kid! i totally know what you mean and what you’re getting at. when i first started dating RAB there was a time where i just wanted to pick a fight with him so i could know whether or not he was actually human – and whether or not he’d stand up for himself instead of constantly trying to make me happy.

    1. LOL! I know, a huge part of me was writing this post, thinking, wow, if THIS is all there is as a ‘flaw’ then I am pretty damn lucky. I think it’s totally workable, and it’s part of who he is. I don’t want to change him, I just want to make sure he’s doing things that make HIM happy too, not just ME.

  8. Ok,I have to weigh in, I feel like there is totally such a thing as “too nice.” I am soooo bored with guys who are yes men. I want someone to be a little bit of a challenge for me. Yes, treat me right, but tell me what you like, what you want to eat, what you want to watch on tv, etc. I cannot date people who say “whatever you want dear.” Ty from NC was totally like that Jo, and I wanted to kill him. But you are much nicer than me. Much much nicer, lol. I need a guy with an attitude to match mine.

    1. Yes – for you, and your personality (from what I can see), you’d steamroll a ‘nice guy.’ And I think that term is subjective to everyone. Your definition may differ from mine and from the next person too.

      1. LOL, what, are you saying I am intense???? hahaha, just teasing. I would totally steamroll a guy like that, which isn’t good at all. You are so right about the definition of “too nice” varying from person to person. I like what Magnolia said below, I think what I am thinking of as “nice” is actually “weak” and Ty was definitely weak-minded to me. I want to be respected, for sure, but I want someone who is opinionated, I’ve always been attracted to men who can debate with me.

  9. This is a tough question. I personally don’t like the feeling that I could be taking advantage of someone. I want someone who has their own strong opinions when it’s appropriate. Obviously, I wouldn’t want someone who always has to have their way. Sure, it’s about balance. I can’t help but wonder if it will balance out over time. It’s still fairly early on when he may be trying to impress you. Maybe in a few months, he will feel more comfortable telling you that he’d rather eat pizza than Chinese food.

    1. I think you are right too, he is still focusing a bit much on the ‘impress’ phase, or the ‘honeymoon’ phase and as we exit that, I think more and more it will ease up and he will realize he can speak his mind more than he has!

  10. it’s not being too nice that’s the problem. it’s being too weak. it’s being steamrolled, getting resentful that everyone’s ahead of you in line, and letting that leak out. it’s being so spineless that you let the people in your life get away with murder because you’re so desperate to keep them in your life.

    this was my ex’s problem. this is why he’s my ex. i didn’t like the person i was when i let myself run rampant on him, and he never once sat me down and called me on my sins against him. it sucks, but i just can’t be with him. the man is the first one to call me on it when i’m out of line. at first, it was infuriating, but within seconds, i realized how good what he did was for me, and for us.

    sorry for the rant; this is one i know WELL.

    1. Yes. Weak is a huge sticking point. If he were weak, that would be an issue. I would be far more concerned if he were ‘too nice’ in other areas…like work. Because that’s when you get steamrolled.

  11. i read this earlier today and have been thinking about it (your posts are always so introspective!) i think its a fine balance between being too nice and a pushover, and our previous life experiences play a big role in this. in the past i’ve been a huge pushover and now i’m so afraid of becoming one again that i sometimes take it to the opposite extreme. i say one should just embrace the kindness because its much better than the alternative. great post, as always.

    1. Wow, thank you so much πŸ™‚ I am glad it gave you reason to think more about it too. But you are dead on – our past experiences totally weigh in to on our current experiences and how we behave. I think his past and getting hurt has caused him, in a way, to want to be a pleaser and not make waves. Not that he would make waves with me because he said ‘no’ to something! I think he’s still feeling that out and adjusting. And that’s ok.

  12. Yeah, there is a too nice. And I think sometimes, in some ways, we lose respect for those we think are too nice. S used to think that I was. I am a giver, but what he has discovered, just like I always warned him, that I stand up for what I want, too.

    As long as M has areas of his life, as you pointed out, where he shows his strength, you two will weather anything just fine.

    The cool thing is that I see you gradually moving beyond the honeymoon phase of the relationship into the real stuff. The dirty. I like it. Hang in there. He’s worth it. (From everything you’ve said.)

    PS. Skype time this week? I’m in a great place and ready to talk. (This could just be the diet pills, of course, but I’m willing to take that risk.) πŸ˜‰

    1. Exactly. He does show it in other areas of his life, and it’s not like he doesn’t ever suggest things or anything and yes me to death, he just tends to lean in my direction whenever I make the suggestion, more often than not. He’s a giver, I can’t and don’t want to change that! And yes, skype! Glad to hear it πŸ™‚ Email me!

  13. I think that you might be confusing ‘nice’ with honesty. With a possible fear of being rejected if he doesn’t meet everyone else’s need before he considers his own. By the way, he sounds like a good man! Garter Bride Pat

    1. Thanks for stopping in! And you are right, there is a difference with nice and honesty. He is always honest, even if sometimes I have to pull it out of him, he will be honest. And that’s important!

  14. I totally get your struggle. I thought at first that S was too nice, but I’ve recently learned that he has a bit of stubbornness (as I call it) and even though it comes up when he is not in agreement with me, I find myself very attracted to that aspect of his personality. There is something sexy about the fact that he will defend his opinions and such. Is it strange that I’m attracted to the fact that I will not always be “right” in a discussion with him? Even when it makes me a little mad! What is up with that?!

  15. I don’t know why I hate that sometimes, but I do.

    I totally get this. That would annoy me, too. It could be that he really is perfectly happy tending to your needs and your needs alone, but for me, I would find that stifling. It’s about independence. I want my partner to have her own life, her own opinions, her own passions.

    When I was dating J, my first girlfriend, I remember once she told me that when she has a family, they’re not going to eat dinner in front of the TV, they’re going to sit at the table and talk. I was excited about this determination of hers, but when I questioned her about it (not disagreeing, just saying “Really?”), she sort of backed off. And I lost respect for her. Have some principles! Stand up for something! Don’t be afraid to disagree!

    Sometimes I wonder if K felt that way about me, though. That I was too nice and focused on her. I don’t think I was, but I guess it’s all relative. For some people that model works, for others it doesn’t.

    1. Well, yes, stifling is bad. Not having your own life, passions, friends is bad. He does NOT have any problems in those areas, thankfully. That was a huge dealbreaker item for me – I don’t want to be someone’s life, I want to be part of it. He has a lot going on, he never sits down, not to mention his Doctorate program. So, it is more the saying yes to please me factor – while hey, anyone would love that, I just want to make sure whatever decisions he makes he makes for HIM too, not just me. That wouldn’t be fair nor normal!

  16. I do think it’s possible to be too nice, not that I necessarily think M is. He may be more willing to offer up his opinion as your relationship continues. I know you guys have been together a while now (six or seven months, right?!), but you guys are still getting to know each other and we’re usually on our best behavior for a while. My guess is he opens up later.

    I have a tendency to do what others want – which I hate and am working on. But at the beginning of a relationship, I know that I tend to be more easy going than I actually am… Like when I went to that sketchy party with HS Marine. I would never consent to that now. And I did that with someone I’ve known more than half my life!

    1. Right, we are still learning each other (and actually, 5 months, but close!). I do that too – do what others want, but to an extent. I am learning more and more than I’m a little more selfish that way than I used to be. Not sure if that’s good or bad!

  17. I do think it’s possible to be too nice. Well, there’s nothing wrong with it, really, but it’s just not for me in terms of a romantic partner. I need to be with someone who challenges me (in a good way), who doesn’t just agree with me on everything or let me call all the shots. I think it’s a personality thing–depends on what you’re looking for!

    1. I am so intrigued by all of these varying responses. Because what M is, is a challenger, in terms of being driven – and driving me – and being a ‘questioner’ in terms of goals and tackling obstacles. We have so many conversation on deep topics like that and I LOVE that about him. He challenges me to think differently. So, in that way, he’s disagrees with me sometimes, in terms of offering a different perspective. THAT I dig.

  18. Holy cow! 43 comments! I make it a point never to read the before comments so that my comments are organic and my own thoughts BUT NOW I can only assume that whatever I wrote wont add much. I will say if making you makes him happy, then allowing him to give you your way and making you happy, is MAKING YOUR MAN happy. Is your concern then that he isn’t ACTUAL happy because he doesn’t get what he wants? I say trust that he’s being honest. But in return DO NICE THINGS FOR HIM. If you know he likes when you cook a certain food or pick certain foods/items up for him. DO IT MORE. If he likes certain kind of movies – choose those. or music. or a restaurant. Sometimes when he asks what you want to do/where you want to go – pick what you know he’d like even if it isn’t your first choice which he would agree to. Just a thought, T.

    1. Yea, this one got a ton of comments! I love all of the varying responses and yours is totally unique of what anyone else said. That’s awesome. And I like this idea too. Because that is my fear, that he is just doing what I want, not always what he wants too. I mean, whatever we do, we always have fun and it’s never something I feel I am dragging him to do. I just believe in equality and balance. The Libra in me.

  19. I think there is a possibility that people are “too nice” but I think it can be in a superficial way or as a means to get what they want if that makes sense. I don’t think M is being too nice. My impression of it is that he’s crazy madly in love with you and by making you happy and looking after and minding you, he’s happy. I think in all relationships people give and take in all parts – physically, mentally and emotionally and these reverse between the two people in the relationship all the time. So maybe in some ways, M is being the giver in that he is giving to you and is happy for you to make plans and to go along with your plans etc. I don’t know if I’m making sense but the key too that you both have is that you seem to be communicating and you both seem to be giving to communicating if that makes sense. I think it’s wonderful that you can talk about these things with M. I don’t think you need to worry about being hypersensitive to it because I know you’d never take advantage of him in any way because you have so much respect, esteem and love for him.

    Perhaps too his role as a leader in work makes him want to have a role in letting you lead some of the day to day plans you make for the two of you.

    1. Great feedback Susan, and I totally understand what you mean. I do feel that M tends to leave some things up to me to make me happy, but I also don’t think that by him doing that means he is UNhappy. I just don’t want that ever to happen, for him to choose a decision based on my wishes only. He IS a giver and it’s in his nature to want to make me happy. I can’t thank him enough for that, but I don’t ever want him to feel shortchanged.

  20. I do think it’s possible to be “too nice”.

    I’m a pretty opinionated, stubborn woman, and I know I’m not easy to handle… which is why I tend to go for the strong, confident, bold, opinionated, alpha-male sorts. I like guys who will give it to me straight (that’s what she said?) and not be afraid to say what they want. I know myself well enough to know that I *need* that, or I would walk all over him. Not intentionally, but I can’t spend my life cencoring myself because I’m afraid to step on someone’s toes. I need someone who can beat me at my own game.

    That said, I’m pretty sure you’re not as crazy (word choice?) as me so I don’t see this as being as big of an issue for you. However, it’s worth working on if it bothers you.

    1. For the record, you are *not* crazy. But I know what you mean. I don’t think M would be ‘for you’ in that capacity (which is good, cuz he’s MINE! ;-P) but for me, we are both pleasers, he just is beating me at that game, and very well, for that matter πŸ˜‰ I do think it warrants us continuing to talk about it because I want him to be happy too, it’s a two way street.

  21. A few thoughts … does M go along with you at home because he’s simply exhausted his energy at work? Could he just be happy to let someone else make the decisions? If so – this is not a good situation … you’ll end up with a dependent rather than a partner.

    I would be concerned that if M continues to be all giver he will lose himself. Could he be scared that you won’t love him as much if he speaks his mind to you?

    1. No, I don’t think it’s an exhaustion thing. I know (at least from what he tells me when I ask him), it’s because he wants to and because he wants to make me happy too. And he said he will never do anything he doesn’t want to do. I believe him on that. I just want to continue to be aware of it so it doesn’t become a resentment issue in the long run, where he eventually feels shortchanged. It could be my own paranoia on that part, but I just want to lay the groundwork for a strong, open, communicative relationship, and I think we’re heading in that direction, but maintaining balance and happiness on both of our parts is important.

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