How Being Too Nice Can Sabotage A Woman's Love Life
All That Good Advice May be Wrong
From the playroom to the boardroom, it's often implied (or stated outright) that nice girls win the boys - or win the boys over.
This is a myth.
Smart girls win. They are savvy enough to get whatever they need while remaining calm, rational and pleasant. What they are not is too nice. Smart girls also grow up to be confident, happy women who enjoy relationships, on their own terms, while making their partners happy in the process.
How to tell if you're on the fast track toward being someone's dream or headed toward life as a doormat? I don't have a crystal ball, but there are a few clues that might predict your future:
Signs You're Too Nice
You may be headed toward a doormat-like existence if you recognize yourself in any of the following:
- You're immediately available to the men you date - no matter when they call
- You invite men over for an elaborate, home-cooked meal on a first date
- You build your plans around his
- You pay close attention to what a date says he wants, then you try to give it to him
- You call him often and "drop by" places he goes, even though you've just met
The above are just a few indicators that you could use a little tune-up. If you do all of these things and have exactly the relationships you want, stop reading. But, if you can't explain why men keep ending things, "just when they were going so well", or why your relationship makes you feel bad about yourself, maybe you can use a few tips.
No One Respects You More Than You Respect Yourself
Even if some of the above hits uncomfortably close to home, you may still see yourself as a warm, caring woman who is just going after and nurturing the men she's attracted to. However, they could view you as lacking self respect - and treat you accordingly.
If you need more convincing, here are some reasons to consider revising your point of view:
- What you chase runs away - It's important to know when to make a move and when to let things take their course. Chasing rainbows or men won't get you the treasure you want.
- People (men) See you the way you see yourself - If you look in the mirror and see a quivering mass of dependency who needs a man to "fix" you, so will he. Stop this minute.
- Your dignity is more important than being in a relationship . - When you give men the best you've got, before they've earned it, you lose their respect and damage your self image. Better to be happily single than to let toxic behavior harm you.
- What you smother tries to escape - Remember when you were very young and tried to dress that puppy in doll clothes and cover it lovingly with a blanket? Same principle applies to men - he'll wriggle away from your swaddling blanket every time, no matter how warm and fuzzy you think it is.
- It's a Mistake to Compete With Other Women In Order to "Win" Him - Just don't. It's demeaning and you don't have to.
This is by no means a complete list, just some highlights. However, if you're beginning to like the idea of building and flexing your relationship muscles, you might enjoy reading books by authors such as Sherry Argov (Why Men Love Bitches ) and *Helen Gurley Brown (Sex and The Single Girl ),
*Note: Ms. Brown wrote from the perspective of an earlier time and some of her ideas may seem to contradict feminist ideals. However, I believe she provided valuable insights. She's also really fun to read.
Does This Mean You Can't Be Nice and Be Happy?
If you're thinking that you need to become tough, demanding, or shrill in order to attract and keep men, you can relax. Heaven forbid you should be anything except serene, rational, pleasant, and fun to be with. But, how do you do that and still get what you want?
The primary key to maintaining a great attitude is living life on your terms. You may be surprised to find that when you refuse to accept less than you deserve, you are automatically in a better mood and much better company. As a bonus, you also tend to gain other peoples' respect when you respect yourself.
There are a few other points which can help you maintain the kind of attitude that attracts anybody:
a) Being your own person is attractive, but it's not enough to act independent:
You actually have to be independent, especially financially. When men sense you are desperate, they will either run from your neediness, or take advantage of it. Better to live happily on your own in a cozy efficiency and take the bus than to pursue men as meal tickets.
b) Crying and "emoting" makes everyone miserable:
Try to control your tears and tongue. Sure it's OK to cry if you're going through a sad time in your life, but not because he had to cancel a date. And, P.S. - men are not girls. They really and truly do not enjoy discussing every emotion you feel the moment you feel it. See if you can keep most of that stuff for your girlfriends. Actually nobody is comfortable seeing you collapse because he didn't buy you the birthday gift you wanted.
c) Bad behavior is, well, bad:
He's (inexplicably) very late for a dinner date a third time in a month. Do you
- Tell him it's no big deal and go out anyway?
- Go out but sulk all night?
- Answer the door in your P.J.'s, with a book in your hand and tell him - sweetly - you're exhausted and are going to bed?
I sincerely hope you all answered "3". Do not ever reward poor behaviour. Also, actions speak louder than words.
d) The minute a potential partner makes you feel "less" in any way - run:
Run fast and run far and do not look back. No matter how many times you are told you are hallucinating, are jealous, or are insecure, trust your instincts.
These are just a few things to help you maintain a calm, assured, attractive attitude. Of course there are lots of other things you can do and that's where homework comes in. Take advantage of all the hard work other people have done and read a few books and articles on the subject. If you don't want to go it alone, a psychologist can be a great sounding board.
Your Way is the Best Way - For You
"...I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way" ("My Way", Frank Sinatra)
Not to take anything away from an older generation's advice, but living, dating, and being in relationships on your terms is far more important than living to please people. This is not a suggestion that you stop caring for or wanting to give to those you love.
When you establish your value, you don't have to twist yourself into a pretzel in a sad attempt to be loved. The minute you begin doing that you're identified as too nice and desperate to please. It's smarter to let your calm, confident actions speak for themselves.
The point is to value yourself and be discriminating in who you pour yourself out for. You have a unique contribution to make and your job is to ensure that everyone, including friends, employers, dates, and mates, are aware that you know this. You will never be treated better by anyone than you treat yourself.