Classic Nice Girl Mistakes I Used To Make Before I Got Smart & Toughened Up

In the past, I was guilty of being way too nice to guys who didn’t deserve it at all. I was constantly bending over backwards and going out of my way to accommodate them, only to have my kindness taken advantage of and my heart broken. I’ve since toughened up and learned my lesson, but I spent too long making these classic nice girl mistakes:

  1. Being nice was my knee-jerk reaction. I gave too much, too quickly. Nice was my first line of defense in dating. I would try to give so much of myself, which made me an open book about my feelings and primed me for being taken advantage of.
  2. I expected niceness in return. Just because I was nice, it didn’t mean that the guys I dated returned the same courtesies. I was so naive to think that what I gave out would be what I got back, but that didn’t stop me from trying for way too long.
  3. I thought I had to earn love. It’s sad, but subconsciously I thought I had to basically kill myself to earn a guy’s love. How could I do that? By being super nice to please them. How could they then not love me? Really easily — no one can respect a pushover. Lesson learned.
  4. I gave the benefit of the doubt. Being nice means I’d try to look for the good in people but what use was that when the guys weren’t good at all? They were jerks and users, and I ended up screwed over by turning a blind eye to their faults. What BS.
  5. I focused on the bigger picture. Because I wanted something real with these guys, I’d put my attention on the bigger picture: the happier, healthier relationship. The only catch was that I’d ignore everything that showed the relationship would never be in a good space. Being so nice meant I was often in denial.
  6. I was fighting for something. Alone. I was quick to make lots of effort in my relationships, but this was often a solo mission because my partners weren’t doing any work. And of course it was convenient for them because I was doing everything. I’m sure behind my back they said, “Oh she doesn’t mind doing that. She’s so nice.” Ugh.
  7. I compromised until I lost myself. I’d say ‘yes’ so many times and compromise myself, from how I spent my days to neglecting the life I had before the relationship came along. What’s the point in trying to sell myself out to impress someone? Any relationship that requires that is not worth it.
  8. I didn’t demand support. I was always trying to ensure smooth sailing for the guys I dated, such as by compromising but also by helping them sort out their dramas. The bad thing is that I never got this in return. They were so focused on their own issues that they didn’t notice my stress or help me out of dark oceans.
  9. I desperately needed boundaries. Just because I felt so much more for those guys than they did for me, and I didn’t have the sense to stick to some boundaries to protect myself, it didn’t mean that they were at fault. I was. I allowed them to treat me badly when I should have walked away.
  10. I fell for all the lies. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was so nice I tried to believe all their lies, like when the toxic narcissist said, “I need you. You’re the only one I have.” Often, these lies made me work harder to keep the guy happy. My niceness led to my being manipulated.
  11. Instead of pulling away when hurt, I tried harder. WTF? I thought I had to put in more effort to be nice even when I was hurt because I believed that if I had been doing enough then I would have had a happier relationship and partner. I lacked the self-confidence to know my worth.
  12. I felt guilty when I wasn’t nice. From a young age, I was told (as many women are) that I had to be nice all the time. So the thought of changing and not being nice to those jerks was scary, like I was becoming a negative version of myself. I thought I had to be nice no matter what, but I should have been nicer to myself and told them to GTFO of my life!
  13. I should have stopped being Miss Fix It. I really should have wasted less time trying to fix guys who were messed up because it was a waste of my energy. My niceness was never supposed to be martyrdom or hard labor, and like hell will it ever be again. Yes, I’m nice but that no longer means I’m weak.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.