Two weeks ago, I wrote the first piece in a series entitled: A Nice Girl’s Guide. That piece dealt with how to end toxic friendships, specifically speaking to all the “nice girls” out there. Similarly, this week’s piece is all about not allowing yourself to be walked all over while still managing to exude kindness.
I don’t like conflict. I don’t like upsetting people. I don’t like causing drama. Because of all these personality traits, I often let people walk all over me, and now I have a reputation of being swayed easily, of backing down, of not speaking up (at the moment). This leads to people taking advantage of my kindness and my (at times) naivety.
This doesn’t just happen between my peers or people I don’t know very well. This happens between me and my friends. I don’t blame my friends because I don’t think they realize that it’s happening. It’s just become a fact of our relationship, a fact that I typically won’t disagree with ideas or suggestions.
Being nice does not mean that you aren’t smart, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable of having your own opinion, and it is definitely not an excuse to be walked all over. But how you can end this cycle?
The first thing you can do is to start to put your foot down. If you’re the one who always is driving everywhere, if you’re the one who seems to always be hosting things, etc., just say you’re not going to. Your friends should understand, and one of them should take the helm instead.
Most of the time, your fear of upsetting people is only in your head. You won’t upset someone if you say you’re too busy to plan a party or you don’t really want to go to something because you don’t like the people that will be there. They’ll probably understand.
Another thing you can do is talk to someone about it. If you feel that one of your friends, in particular, is treating you like a doormat, tell them. They might not even realize that they’re doing it. Instead of exploding at them and saying lots of things you’ll probably regret, just be honest.
There’s a difference between being kind and being a pushover. Someone who is kind genuinely cares for others but cares for themselves first. A pushover is so paranoid about pleasing everyone (which is a feat that is practically impossible, by the way) that they sacrifice their own happiness for others. That is not to say that sometimes you do need to make sacrifices, however, it shouldn’t be something that only you are doing.
And finally, the most important step is to remember that it’s okay to say no. I definitely struggle with this and then end up stressing myself out, unnecessarily. You can say no, the person won’t be upset (or shouldn’t be). It’s awesome that you want help people, but you can only do so much at a time.
A reminder: none of this is going to happen overnight. Chipping away at the doormat complex, as I like to call it, is going to take a bit. And that’s okay. Even as I write this, I still do some of these things. However, I am a lot better than I used to be, and that’s all that matters.