Do Nice Guys Truly Finish Last?

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As children, the notion had been implanted into our heads that positive emotions are superior to negative emotions. In fact, it is believed that negative emotions such as anger and stress should be inexistent and that we should only possess a positive outlook on nice. However, being too nice can take a toll on our mental health and sociability in different ways. Here are a few:

Niceness Obscures Our View of Others: According to psychologist and reporter Kyan Patten, “More often than not, when we are nice to someone, we naturally expect them to do the same”. However, the other person will not always return the kindness and, if they don’t, it will foil the person’s self-esteem. This is an example of the “nice guy syndrome” which, according to Patten, is “the thought that kindness deserves an award”. We must not believe that all people will have the same nature of kindness.

We Become More Critical of Ourselves: If we are nice to others, it naturally leads to harsh self-talk where we criticize ourselves. According to Psychology Today, “we put ourselves down for certain events turning out the way they did and force ourselves to be nicer to others”. This constant self-appraisal can be harsh and also contributes to lowering our self-esteem. Harsh self-talk also raises deficits to our mental health and we may be better off depressed than too critical of ourselves.

Peers View Kindness as a Sign of Weakness: Sure, being nice may raise trust in a person, but it also leads to being taken advantage of. Many people use friendly faces as a method of getting homework done or swindling them out of their money. Kindness is a positive trait, but must also be aware of the decisions we make and the consequences they may have.

Increased Stress Levels: Putting people’s needs above others requires persistence and effort. Now, putting multiple people’s needs before our own can easily lead to high levels of anxiety and well as harsher self-talk of our own. In short, kindness can lead to depression no matter how hard we try.

While kindness is a great quality in any person, we should never let it dominate our lives. There are numerous deficits on our self esteem and the way other people view us that can severely outweigh the benefits. Life is stressful, so let’s settle for being good, not being nice.

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