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Culture & Religion

Why Being Too Nice is the Same as Being Too Selfish

Chronically nice people run the risk of burning themselves out and isolating the group of people they seek to help in the first place. Learning to say “no” is an important skill, say sociologists. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Research in the social sciences is revealing that being nice has its definite limits, both in terms of personal satisfaction and societal acceptance. People who continually say “yes” to offers despite their true feelings inevitably find themselves burnt out and resentful toward those to whom they have said “yes”. Furthermore, a study conducted at Washington State University revealed that extreme generosity is treated similarly to extreme selfishness in social situations. Participants in the experiment said that the most generous players had the effect of making everyone else look bad. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Ronald Riggio, a social psychologist at Claremont McKenna College, says: “Nice people have to develop strategies to stand up for themselves. It’s about being assertive but not losing your niceness in the process.” Constantly trying to do nice things for others can be a real pitfall when it comes to realizing your own dreams. Always helping friends to achieve their goals will attract more people to like you, increasing the temptation to defer your own ideas. Social psychologists say that chronically nice people typically imagine the consequence to saying “no” as being far worse than it really is. 

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Read it at the Chicago Tribune


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