Pitfalls of a Nice Girl

Most women who consider themselves to be sensitive or empathic have one trait in common: they have been labeled as “nice girls.” I was no exception. I wanted to keep everyone happy. I said “yes” to things I didn’t want to do, even though inside my head I was screaming “no!” Would I take on this project? Sure! Will I watch your 3 kids on my first day off in weeks? No problem! I wanted people to like me. I didn’t want to make waves. But inside, I seethed. In essence, I didn’t have boundaries.

When there aren’t clear boundaries, people can and will walk all over you. It’s not always malicious either.

In essence, we have trained them how to treat us. So how do we re-train them? How do we create boundaries that feel aligned with our Higher Selves?

Let’s start with examining the word “nice.” What if we substitute the word “nice” for the word “kind?” There’s a whole different vibration to the word “kind.” Kind always feels good because it comes from a heart-centered place. Nice often feels like we’re selling ourselves out because we’re doing something for others from a place of fear (i.e., “If I say ‘no,’ they’ll be mad at me). I’m not saying we should put a bubble around ourselves, impervious to the wants and needs of others. What I am saying is that when doing for others, it should feel good, inspired, and come from the heart—not from the scared voice inside our head.

The next time someone asks you for something, check-in with yourself. Do you feel energized by it? Or do you feel instantly drained at the mere suggestion? Are you coming from a heart-centered place or a place of fear? Make the decision that feels good. This will take practice because, most likely, you’ve been on “nice girl automated pilot” for years or even decades. Each time you honor yourself, it gets easier and you strengthen your boundaries.

Sure, it’s going to be uncomfortable at first. When that first “no” or “sorry, I can’t” tumbles out of your mouth, people won’t expect it. There may be raised eyebrows, incredulous stares. Pay no mind and don’t make apologies or excuses! The more we try to explain our reasons for saying “no” the closer we slip back to saying yes to something we don’t want to do. It’s going to be scary at first. Your inner voice will do its best to get you riled up.

Shedding your “nice girl” persona won’t be easy, but the pay-off is worth it. You will feel your self-respect soar and you will notice that those around you respect you more as well. Now when saying “yes” to a request or invitation, it will feel great because it’s what you truly want to do, with no reservations or second-guessing. When this happens, you are not only honoring yourself but giving others the genuine gift of your time and presence.


Carol Campos
Carol Campos
Like many, I struggled for years wondering what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I had been working in the corporate world for over 20 years, most recently in a leadership role with a Fortune 5 company. Although I was consistently recognized and promoted throughout my career, I somehow knew that I was meant to do something different. I felt stuck in a life that didn’t fit, yet I had created it. What was my purpose? I had no idea. Finally, I left my corporate job and made the leap into the unknown. After doing months of self-discovery work (actually, play!), reconnecting to my higher wisdom, and re-remembering who I was at my core, I realized I didn’t have to fix myself. I also realized that I didn’t have to worry about “finding my purpose.” What I found was that I’m multi-passionate and didn’t want to be boxed into one thing. I didn’t HAVE to be boxed into one thing. I started a podcast and a blog where I explored the human experience—including my own beautiful, messy, but perfect road. This blog later became my column on BizCatalyst 360°. I became a mentor and a wayshower for others. I became a consultant to help improve company culture and improve client relationships. These are things I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. But as often is the case, the Universe had an even bigger plan for me than I had for myself. My Soul knew what I would be doing long before I did, and I’m grateful that I followed the Divine map that was laid out before me! I love traveling, exploring new cultures, being in nature, and helping people on their own paths. I hold a B.A. in Communications from Hofstra University. I live in Massachusetts with my rambunctious and hilarious cats, Petey, and Emmett.

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  1. Hello Carol,

    Such a revealing and thought provoking essay. So strange that the word ‘nice’ is not considered appropriate in written English. I never knew why, but indeed never use the word.

    Kind is as you describe closer to genuine feelings rather than capitulating to please someone. ‘Honoring yourself and giving others the gift of your time and presence. Such a meaningful sentence.

    I have always described you as a ‘giver’ and that is a perfect description of who you are. Generous, possible not wishing to say ‘no’ to any request.

    Giving way to other people’s expectations, so being ‘nice’ is similar to putting on a face to please others, but projecting a false character.

    Truly super, Carol.

    • Thanks so much for the thoughtful response, Simon! So true, I never wanted to say no to anyone. But I’m glad I was able to establish healthy boundaries as I got older.

  2. Carol, great words! It’s all about that place where you feel, when being kind becomes an obligation, you no longer feel “kind”
    As you excellent
    Y state it state it right here…
    “ when doing for others, it should feel good, inspired, and come from the heart—not from the scared voice inside our head.

    Your tips are spot on!
    We teach others how to treat us” when we set and honour boundaries you are being both nice and kind to yourself. Obligations become work; doing from your heart, and for your heart is the value to stick o
    Be your own best friend and others will either honour you as well, or not. It’s ok to walk away from that which doesn’t pay you the value you deserve. But always honour yourself first.
    I’m often described as “ nice” and there’s a fine line between being genuine and being used. Inside and out. Thanks for this one.

    • Thanks so much for your feedback, Paula. I agree 100% with everything you’ve said here. It’s funny, because I’m often described as “nice” too, and I find myself cringing. 😉

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