What can you do if you find that you’re being too nice? Here are a few suggestions.
Say what you mean. Agreeable people often speak indirectly when they want to criticize or to disagree. If you and your friends are deciding on a plan, and someone suggests something that you don’t enjoy doing, don’t say something vague like, “That isn’t my favorite thing,” or “I guess that is ok.” Be more direct. It is ok to say, “I don’t enjoy that.” You may not always get your way, but at least your opinion will be known.
Write what you can’t say. One problem with not expressing yourself directly is that you may end up resenting people who always get their way. Rather than putting yourself in a position where you may resent others, try to find some way to communicate with them. Writing can help. When you write a note or email to someone else, you distance yourself from their direct reaction. That can be helpful for starting a difficult conversation. While it is always better to speak to someone directly than to write to them, it is better to write than to say nothing at all.
Engage your friends. Often, when you have to say something that you are afraid might offend someone, you assume the worst. You begin to believe that someone else will take what you have to say in the worst possible way. In the end, it is easy to talk yourself out of communicating at all, because you fear a negative reaction.
In those cases, find a neutral friend and explain the situation. Tell them what you plan to say and get their reaction. Sometimes, your friend may suggest other ways of approaching the interaction. But, often, your friends will help you to realize that your complaint is not going to cause a huge rift. That can give you the confidence to say what you need to say.
In the end, the key is to make sure that you communicate with people as directly as possible. When you are a nice person, that communication can be difficult. But, in the end, it will make your relationships stronger.
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