Remember the era of the ‘Nice guy’? You know the kind I’m talking about.
The self-proclaimed ‘Gentleman’ of the Internet. The knight in metaphorical armor. The guy who believed that because he was nice to women, they owed him sex. They owed it to him to leave their ‘bad-boy’ boyfriends and be with him.
Remember how infuriating that guy was?
I bet you do.
But buckle up. Because ladies, we’ve formed an equally frustrating persona.
The ‘Nice Girl’ is everywhere these days. And OH BOY does she ever think she’s owed things.
Now, let me clear up something simple: There’s nothing wrong with being a nice person. We’re all more or less raised to show kindness. It’s in our basic human nature to have empathy. People who are outwardly cruel are the exception, not the rule.
But there’s a difference between someone who is nice, and someone who believes that their niceness means they ‘deserve’ an absolutely perfect partner who’s going to come along and anticipate their every need and want.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the ‘Nice Girl.’
The nice girl is never in the wrong. Because she’s too nice to be. She concedes to her partner’s every request, says ‘Yes’ when she really means ‘No,’ refuses to set the boundaries that she needs to keep herself healthy, and then blames the subsequent failure of her relationship on the other party.
Because they should have anticipated her needs. They should have known she meant ‘No’ when she said ‘Sure.’ They should have sensed her growing resentment. They should have set and maintained her boundaries for her.
The nice girl is always a victim. She is the first to claim that all of her exes are assholes. She prides herself on always loving more.
But she isn’t willing to change anything about the way that she loves. She isn’t willing to entertain the idea that real love – the strong, healthy, enduring kind of love – often requires some discomfort.
She doesn’t understand that sometimes, love means letting someone know they’ve crossed a line. She doesn’t understand that sometimes, love means setting and maintaining personal boundaries. She doesn’t understand that love means communicating her wants and needs honestly and consistently, so that someone else is given the fair chance to meet them.
She thinks that always putting others’ needs ahead of her own is love. But in reality, she doesn’t put others’ needs first at all. What she puts first is her fear of confrontation.
She’s willing to sacrifice anything except the vision she has of herself in her mind as morally flawless. She’s willing to do almost anything but be honest in the moments when it’s hardest to be. And unfortunately, those are the moments that matter the most when it comes to making a relationship work.
The truth about the ‘nice’ girl is that she will never love you more than she loves her own ego. She thinks of herself as a delicate flower, whose heart is always getting taken advantage of by vicious, toxic others. She genuinely can’t figure out why it keeps happening. After all, it can’t be her fault. She’s nice.
But the truth is, her definition of ‘niceness’ relates only to the kind of niceness that she’s comfortable with.
Because a crucial component of real niceness is honesty. Even if that honesty’s uncomfortable.
Saying things are fine when they’re not isn’t nice. Secretly resenting your partner for something but not discussing it with them isn’t nice. Being unhappy or unfulfilled in a relationship but keeping those feelings to yourself, letting your partner think that everything is well and good between you, is downright unkind.
Because that’s basing your relationship on dishonesty. That’s setting your partner up for a failure. That is deliberately creating a condition that takes your needs off of the table, and then internally blaming your partner when those needs go unmet.
There is nothing nice about being a doormat. There is nothing nice about lying about what you need or want. There is nothing nice about giving only because you expect to receive.
These are not traits of ‘niceness,’ but of low self-esteem.
The truth about the ‘nice’ girl is that she doesn’t stand up for herself in a relationship because she hinges her entire sense of self-worth on being loved by her partner.
And if she stands up for herself, she may lose them.
So she pushes her own needs down, places her entire sense of self-worth on her partner’s shoulders, and calls it niceness.
But that’s not niceness at all. That’s projection. That’s the absolution of her responsibility to foster self-love. And that’s exactly what the nice girl needs to do.
Instead of looking towards her partners to provide her with affirmation, the nice girl needs to learn to affirm herself. To love herself. To be nice to herself.
Nice enough to stand up for what she actually needs.
Because unless and until she does so, the ‘nice girl’ will continue to create a string of toxic relationships, in which she pushes down her needs, communicates dishonestly with her partner and yet genuinely believes that she is never at fault.
And honestly? At the end of the day, that’s just not very nice.