Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

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How does someone stop being "too nice?" I am constantly told I'm not just nice, I'm "too" nice. Perhaps this is true; I, however, think I can be a real bitch sometimes but maybe it's "not enough" for people to be convinced.

I am just getting sick of people telling me this and things like, "you set yourself up," "you make it too easy for people to poke fun at you" and that I "look innocent." People even are surprised when I drop an f-bomb. Look, I don't have a lofty, sweet, songbird-like voice (it's actually rather deep-pitched and raspy) and naiive looking doe eyes (they're usually donned with dark circles) and I sure as hell don't say "well golly josh" so why do people have this kind of immediate impression of me? Am I smiling to the wrong people? Should I say "fuck off" if some person tries to strike up a conversation just to instill a sense of "I am not someone you can fuck with"?

Why is it that I have the problem and need to be less of how I am than others to stop being assholes? It's like telling a person to stop driving their car because there are aggressive drivers out there and you could get into an accident--you're not addressing the issue of the aggressive drivers who are making it unsafe for everyone else. Am I coming across a life lesson here? Ugh.

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    Dear Miss Too Nice,

    A weakness is just a strength that has been "over done". All you need to do is tone down that strength. For instance, someone who is flexible and adaptable can appear spinless if they are too flexible/adaptable. They appear to stand for nothing with no backbone. Yet flexibility is a marvelous strength to possess.

    People feel safe when there are clear boundaries in relationships. So being the flexible, open, easy going, helpful, empathetic and intelligent young Woman you are, you need to balance out your personality with different strengths that do not come natually for you.

    Try being assertive, say "No" more often and do NOT justify why. Decide that 25% of the time you will not be flexible.

    Setting boundaries with others as to what you will and will not accept combined with toning down your over-done strengths will absolutely change the way that you show up in this world.

    reply to Brenda
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    I really hate people who use a supposed compliment as really a wayt to criticize someone. There should be alot more people like you in this world. And who are these people criticizing this characteristic: friends, family, colleagues? You simply cut them off. When they start with the you're too nice comment, a simple "thank you for the compliment" should suffice. If they continue perhaps a "I am who I am so stop criticizing me, or should I start listing your faults?" You don't have a problem so stop giving any weight to their suggestions. And no, using curse words doesn't make you appear less nice. It makes you appear unladylike, brings you down to their level, and shows that you can't communicate better. Sure we all do occasionally, but don't make it a signature item to appear like them. Besides, men in general fin it a turn off.

    As for setting yourself up, someone who wants to take advantage or hurt you will find a way to do it regardless. That's not your burden. You stay "too nice" whatever that means. Again, the world needs more people who behave that way. Good for you. Don't' change for anyone.

    reply to DCL
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