The Insidious Side of the Nice Girl

SHE'S SUCH A NICE GIRL, HOW SWEEEEET

The nice girl who is unassuming, self-effacing,obedient, and puts herself last has been seen as the iIDEAL WOMAN by society and religions since time immemorial.
The nice girl who is unassuming, self-effacing,obedient, and puts herself last has been seen as the iIDEAL WOMAN by society and religions since time immemorial.
The nice girl has been idealized as the perfect type for girls and women to aspire to.Women have been inculcated to be nice girls from early childhood.
The nice girl has been idealized as the perfect type for girls and women to aspire to.Women have been inculcated to be nice girls from early childhood.
Nice girls are nonthreatening everywomen who do as they are told.They don't believe in being assertive or obtrusive, often being anonymous.They are also long suffering and put upon.
Nice girls are nonthreatening everywomen who do as they are told.They don't believe in being assertive or obtrusive, often being anonymous.They are also long suffering and put upon.
Betty Suarez is the prototype of the nice girl who refuses to make waves.She never complains and does what she is told although others oftentimes take advantage of her good nature.She frequently puts others' needs before her own.
Betty Suarez is the prototype of the nice girl who refuses to make waves.She never complains and does what she is told although others oftentimes take advantage of her good nature.She frequently puts others' needs before her own.
Nice girls are passive.They don't know how to establish reasonable boundaries.Because of this,they tend to be taken advantageof&otherwise abused.They also are not considered to be leaders but followers.They can be classified as beta girls.
Nice girls are passive.They don't know how to establish reasonable boundaries.Because of this,they tend to be taken advantageof&otherwise abused.They also are not considered to be leaders but followers.They can be classified as beta girls.

THE DARK SIDE OF THE NICE GIRL

Because nice girls suppress things if they don't fit into their image, they oftentimes exhibit and manifest passive-aggressive behavior.
Because nice girls suppress things if they don't fit into their image, they oftentimes exhibit and manifest passive-aggressive behavior.
Many nice girls use innuendo to have others do her bidding.They are also adept at using guilt, manipulation,and other forms of passive aggressive behavior to get what they want or to express their anger/needs.
Many nice girls use innuendo to have others do her bidding.They are also adept at using guilt, manipulation,and other forms of passive aggressive behavior to get what they want or to express their anger/needs.

BEING THE NICE GIRL-WAS IT GOOD?

Nice girls are overworked and underappreciated.Although they possess excellent skills and credentials, they are often bypassed for promotions because of their less assertive natures.As a result of this, they are seen as workers, never as bosses.
Nice girls are overworked and underappreciated.Although they possess excellent skills and credentials, they are often bypassed for promotions because of their less assertive natures.As a result of this, they are seen as workers, never as bosses.
Nice girls because of their kind, unassuming, and helpful nature tend to be taken advantage of by their family, friends, and/or associates.They cannot say no and/or establish boundaries because "nice girls" do not do that for that would be selfish.
Nice girls because of their kind, unassuming, and helpful nature tend to be taken advantage of by their family, friends, and/or associates.They cannot say no and/or establish boundaries because "nice girls" do not do that for that would be selfish.
Many nice girls suffer from psychological& physical stress because they are unable to establish reasonable boundaries with others.They are also dissatisfied &unhappy in other words as they are loathe to pursue their wants,setting for second best.
Many nice girls suffer from psychological& physical stress because they are unable to establish reasonable boundaries with others.They are also dissatisfied &unhappy in other words as they are loathe to pursue their wants,setting for second best.

NEXT CHAPTER, THE NICE GIRL IN LATER LIFE

Nice girls when they become mothers expect that their children, especially daughters, be complaint and cooperative as they are.They are often nonplussed if their daughters exhibit more assertive and independent characteristics.
Nice girls when they become mothers expect that their children, especially daughters, be complaint and cooperative as they are.They are often nonplussed if their daughters exhibit more assertive and independent characteristics.
Many nice girls as they reach old age develop a needy persona.They believe that they should be rewarded after all what THEY have done for others.They can become martyrs to get others  to cave in to their wishes.
Many nice girls as they reach old age develop a needy persona.They believe that they should be rewarded after all what THEY have done for others.They can become martyrs to get others to cave in to their wishes.

All Is Not Alright, Virginia!

There was an old nursery rhyme about a little girl with a curl in the center of her head. The saying goes that when she was good, she was extremely good but when she was bad, she was horrid. Yes, Virginia, there is an underlying negative subconscious to the nice or good girl but they do not "know" it.

The nice or good girl has been praised by society and traditional religions since time immemorial. Girls were inundated to be good and not to threatening to their parents, teachers, and other authority figures. Girls are, in fact, rewarded for being nice. Society considered the nice/good/virtuous girl is being approximate to being godlike and spiritual. These girls are seen as giving no trouble and are placid.

The typical societal estimation of the nice and good girl is being unassuming, fitting into the background, and being the everygirl. The nice girl is also unselfish, placing herself last and everyone first. The nice girl often does not believe in voicing her needs and asserting her individuality. She does what she is told and is not as what my grandaunt used to say hardheaded and stubborn.

Everyone loves the nice/good girl as she is a good daughter, friend, associate, and wife. She is the perfect societal and religious ideal. Many religious leaders exalt the image of the nice/good girl as being pure and the ideal woman that every female should aspire to be The nice/good girl is also long suffering but she never complains. The prototype of the nice/good girl is Betty Suarez, the character in UGLY BETTY.

However, being a nice/good girl does have its negative repercussions. Nice/good girls are considered the beta girls. They often are followers and not leaders. Nice/good girls are people pleasers who do not establish sufficient boundaries to say no. They are often subjected to bullying and abuse. They are also known to be passive and victims of life.

Many nice/good girls also adapt a passive aggressive personality. They become excellent at using innuendo to get people to do their bidding. Many nice/good girls use guilt to express their anger and their needs to people instead of being upfront in expressing their needs.

There is a woman that I knew. She was smart and a highly placed professional. Although she was smarter than her superiors, she was hesitant in applying for promotions. Her superiors also had her perform their work for her which she willingly did. She relayed to me that one of the top executives of the firm approached her with a promotional opportunity as that particular superior was judged to be inept and about to be demoted or terminated. This woman replied that she could not possibly take the position because where would that superior go. She did not take the promotion but continued to plod along in a subordinate position although she was extremely qualified to be in higher positions.

In her familial situation, she gave monies to her siblings although they were extremely capable of taking care of and supporting themselves. When friends reproached her for this, she replied that her siblings "did not" have the "opportunities" that she had. She added that it would be "selfish" not to help her siblings. However, her siblings did not appreciate this and they came to expect her to bail them out and help them live a more affluent lifestyle.

One day, she broke down and complained that no one appreciated her and people always viewed her as a target to be taken advantage off. Even her neighbors see her as someone to be taken advantage off i.e. they assign her to be the secretary at meetings and often leave the major decisions to her. This woman is a prototypical nice/good girl who is afraid to say no for fear of "hurting people's feelings." This woman wants to be liked. However, she is paying a high, horrific price for this.

Many nice/good girls assume the role of martyr. They have a sadomasochistic pleasure in being needed by people and being the everyperson although it uses their energy. These are the types of people who stay in less than satisfying jobs, marriages, and in life situations. They elect to not better their situation, citing that "there is nothing that they can do". However, inwardly, they are screaming and become very bitter in time. Even though people publicly praise martyrs, subconsciously they have little respect for them as people. Martyrs always want praise and appreciation for their long suffering antics and become highly incensed when the favor is not returned.

Many nice/good girls suffer physical and emotional stress as a result of doing everything for people and being people pleasers. My friend also physical stress because she was always doing things for everyone but neglecting herself. She developed a rash on her entire body and had to be hospitalized for two weeks until the rash subsided. Even though she was released from the hospital, her health and well being was never the same again. She has now learned to establish her boundaries and limits with people.

Many nice/good girls, especially if they are mothers, become highly critical of their children, especially daughters, to disguise their own shortcomings. Mothers who were nice/good girls become very nonplussed and threatened if their daughters are highly assertive and individualistic. These mothers believe that these daughters are "disobedient" and "disorderly", needing to be punished and put in their place. Nice/good girls who are mothers place being obedient high on their priority. These mothers do not value independent thinking and individualism. These mothers view these concepts as an anathema to the nice/good girl image. These mothers stress blind obedience and acceptance of conventions and the status quo.

These mothers are also very perfectionistic, becoming very risk aversive. They inundate their children, especially daughters, to be the same way. My friend, for example, is very perfectionistic and is extremely self-critical when she makes a mistake. She is also critical of her daughter when she makes a mistake. She also does not let her daughter forget the "mistakes" she makes and continuously harp on it. Her daughter has subsequently become more rebellious and estranged from her. My friend has no contact with her daughter and "wonders" why as she was such a "good" mother.

Nice/good girls as mothers often have contentious relationships with their daughters, especially if their daughters have a more assertive and independent personality than they have. The period of adolescence and young adulthood is a particularly perilous time for the nice/good girl/mother. She figured that she was a nice/good girl and cannot fathom why her daughter cannot be the same. A good case in point was the contentious relationships between the late Princess Grace of Monaco and her two daughters, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie.

In biographical books, it was stated that Princess Grace was a nice/good girl who dutifully obeyed her parents; however, her daughters elected to assert their strong independent and individualistic personalities. Princess Grace often remarked that she did not understand the personalities of her daughters and wondered why they acted that way. Princess Grace further remarked that she should have beaten Stephanie with a gong in order to make her "more obedient". Many nice/good girl/mothers refuse to view their children, especially daughters, as independent persons in their own right but as extensions of them. The nice/good girl/mother is often a girl emotionally and views her daugher's burgeoning adolescence and womanhood as an affront to her.

Many nice/good girls in late adulthood and old age develop a needy personality. They believe that people should reciprocate them for the things they have done. They maintained in that way they feel loved and wanted. Nice/good girls in late adulthood and old age are often afraid to create a new life for themselves and continue to play the old nice/good girl role much to their and everyone's detriment. They prefer to live vicariously through people and become alarmed if people wish to live their own separate lives.

In summation, the nice/good girl is deified and glorified in this society. She is viewed as being an everygirl and as nonthreatening. She is exhorted as an ideal feminine example for all to follow. However, being a nice/good girl comes with a horrific price. Because nice/good girls sublimate their more assertive, aggressive, and independent side, she develops often negative coping survival mechanisms.

Many nice/good girls became critical and carping in addition to using guilt and innuendo to get people to do their bidding. Others became perfectionistic, believing that nothing and no one is ever good enough for them. Many more have their health and well being impaired because of their inability to say no and establish boundaries.

Many nice/good girls especially as mothers view their daughters as an extension of them and become threatened and angered if their daughter dare to have a more assertive and independent personality. These are the types of mothers who view such daughters as "disobedient" and to be "put in their place." Many nice/good girl mothers view their daughters' burgeoning adolescence and young adulthood as a very difficult and perilous time regarding the mother-daughter relationship.

Inwardly, the nice/good girl is not a happy and authentic person. She has not learned the art of asking for what she wants and outwardly and truthfully expressing her anger. She, in turn, expressed her anger in a covert way, making the people around them miserable and anxious. Nice/good girls become more needy as they become older, often wishing to be reciprocated for the work they have done and to live vicariously through their loved ones. They believe that since they were "unselfish", people would love to be around them. However, they become highly indignant and incensed when the "favor" is not returned.

Girls/women who are independent and assertive are highly respected. They are considered to be authentic people who know their boundaries and are unafraid to let people know this. The nice/good girl/women sadly do not know their boundaries and are paying quite a heavy price for this both physically, psychologically, and emotionally.


© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 15 comments

LADYGIRL profile image

LADYGIRL 5 years ago

That is all so true. Normally nice/good girl/women stem from there mother's. If you don't act a certain way, you are consider the bottom of the barrel. You have to be prissy and proper in order to pass the test of decorum. I do what I have do, be who I'm. Very good Hub, you make a good point.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I appreciate where you are coming from but what you wrote is far from the reality I have experienced. Both of my grandmothers and several of my aunties were the epitome of nice girls, as in absolutely wonderful saintly women. Yes they thought of others before themselves. Yes they were virtuous, modest, and humble. But they were still leaders—leaders by example. None of them were subject to abuse; they were adored far and wide. They were not sadomasochists; they loved the Lord and thus were not selfish narcissistic nihilists. They were not perfectionists, highly stressed, or critical of others. They were as genuine and as authentic as any person in the world. They had no contentious relationships with anyone. I am sorry that you have never known such saintly women.


Taylor 5 years ago

This is too real. Excellent article. I wish you had included suggestions about how to break out of this hideous role. I hate playing this role and have struggled with it quite a bit, making some progress but slipping into it again from time to time, usually in response to social stress. At one point I realized that it's not the end of the world if everyone doesn't like me, in fact it can be a benefit because some kinds of people you definitely don't want to like you. I heard somewhere that "most stress is social stress," and that helped me a lot to realize that because women in general are a little more sensitive to social stress and have more of a problem resisting it than men do. Now, when I get stressed (and 95% of the time it's social stress) I remind myself "most stress is social stress," and it helps me to not take it so seriously, since there's a label to put on it. However, I still occasionally fall into the "nice girl" role and would appreciate any insight on how to be my own person more and become more confident in my own skin. Any ideas would be helpful. Have a great day:)


Askme profile image

Askme 3 years ago

Another well thought out Hub GM. I have to say, I have never been accused of being a "nice" girl. I learned early in life to speak my mind. That never gets you any "you're such a nice girl" comments. Even today with the progress we have made, if you speak your mind you will be labled as giving "push-back" or "not being a team player". I cannot tell you how many times in work situations I took the lead to speak for the "majority" and it turned out to be to my detriment.

I worked with some really incompetent people/women but if they were the "nice" girls, they were promoted and considered "oh so knowledgeable" when in reality, they just kept their opinions to themselves and said "yes" to every stupid waste of time idea management came up with.

My mother in law is the epitome of "nice girl" or so some think. But like you said "Many nice/good girls also adapt a passive aggressive personality. " That describes my Mother in Law. I never realized it until my Best Friend, another woman who many think is a "nice" girl pointed out to me how passive/aggressive (and manipulative) my mother in law is. Ironic because my BFF tends to be passive and like I said "the nice girl" however, she sees this in herself and with age is becoming her own person.

Love this hub...someone had to write (and say) what you have.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you for your wonderful response. It is always great to hear from you. I, too got in trouble at work because I did not go along, I was a maverick. In civil service, those who get promoted quickly were the ones who did not "cause any trouble."


Jairo Alvarez 3 years ago

'Nice Girl' is artifical construct like 'slut' and 'player' and 'bad boy'. All peoples have characteristics of everything, all people play different rolles at times depends on social situation. Nobody is pure bad, good, deceptive. All women are 'nice girls' and very complex with seemingly contracting impulses. To be sure, men also fit this description of 'nice girl' and men are as complex as women. I believe humans are all essentially the same deep down with same motivations in life. Please forgive my English, it is not my native language.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

So true and totally agree with your great points here the nice sweet girl has different characteristics. You have accomplished an informative hub and so much one can learn from this title.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 3 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting hub. Society pushes women to be 'nice', often to the detriment of their own health and happiness, and then wonders why they eventually snap back. I used to own an amusing, but insightful, book called 'Get In Touch With Your Inner Bitch' which talked about girls being programmed with 'toxic niceness', which could lead many girls into potentially dangerous situations or behaviours because they were to 'nice' to say no


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

This is so true. Many "nice" girls do become quite horrid because they are inundated not to even speak up and to express their needs and wants lest they be considered to be selfish. So they covertly attack and manipulate others becoming "martyrs" using guilt on others because they could not say the word "no".


AMFredenburg profile image

AMFredenburg 3 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

I valuable piece of observation. I see this in my own family with both my sisters and to some extent with their daughters, and it can be a source of entrapment and cause an inability to makes decisions about one's life. It took me years to learn not to be so "nice" myself; I think I've finally come to a bit of balance in being assertive without being aggressive.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you so much for your eloquent response, it is greatly appreciated.


Express10 profile image

Express10 3 years ago from East Coast

This is a very truthful hub. I was a people pleaser and am now happily in remission :) I was taught verbally and non verbally that I must be nice and quiet, nonconfrontational even when others were verbally abusive. All being overly nice ever created for me was stress and misunderstandings and more often than not, people never reciprocated. No one owes me anything particularly if I can't or refuse to voice my needs or boundaries. When more people pleasers and nice girls realize this and act accordingly, they will find things changing for the better. I will not end up like other "nice" women. Voted up and useful.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you for responding. A thunderous applause in becoming an assertive woman who knows what she wants! Nice girls are only harming themselves by their behavior. People don't respect and take advantage of them. Nice girls do not know how to establish boundaries and many end up highly passive-aggressive in their dealings with others.


limpet profile image

limpet 2 years ago from London England

I've known some absolutely fabulous girls in my tyme. We have a saying 'She is a proper Lady' but a situation happened recently which perturbed me. Some thing like up to a half dozen mature women decided to end their rapport with me in the space of one year. I've figured at least three separate reasons for them doing so. Fortunatly (fingers crossed) the ones who still like me do so.


limpet profile image

limpet 2 years ago from London England

In these instances the 'nice girl' may have been traumatised by some emotional event and is actually crying out for help. In a press interview the glamorous English actress Honor Blackman when asked 'what is it Women really want?' and the reply 'We want to be loved'.

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