Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is being nice a bad thing?

Hey everyone- this is not a makeup-related blog- so if you're not interested, I won't be offended if you take this opportunity to check out! That being said- this pertains to a situation that was brought up at work today... which really caused me to think about my life as a whole and the way I'm perceived. During a meeting at work, the act of calling people out on their mistakes was brought up. Someone mentioned- *if Emily were to call someone out, people would really take note because she's so nice* (laughter). I'd first like to note that many who seemed to show agreement with this comment don't really work side by side with me on a regular basis to even know exactly how I respond to certain situations... but regardless... it seems they feel they've got me figured out- and I've been pegged as a "nice person". Are there worse things to be called? Absolutely! But in some instances- being known as "the nice one" can also be code for "the one without a backbone". At least for me, that's what it meant back in grade school, high school, and college (according to those who didn't really KNOW me as a person). So naturally- I had that negative flashback when the phrase came up in today's meeting.


Here's a little history lesson... from kindergarten through 8th grade, my dad was my principal. I couldn't get away with being a "Diva"... everyone would say I thought I had some sort of right to do that since I was the principal's daughter. The alternative for me was to be nice. It still didn't earn me a lot of friends, but at least people didn't think I thought I had some sort of license to rule the school. Then came high school. A point came when we were practically coachless for cheerleading and once some of the older girls left, it was mentioned that I "wasn't enough of a bitch" to make the squad successful. In other words- I was too nice. I flashback to this moment quite often. In my opinion- once again I couldn't get away with being a Diva because I was the girl on the top of the stunts- I was incredibly self-conscious of people assuming I felt the need to be the center of attention- and also needed to command the rest of the team! I went out of my way to be nice- and if I had to be "mean" I did so with much caution. We remained a tight-knit team with great abilities and respect for one another. A similar assumption was made about me in college- (cheerleading squad was once again coachless) and I had to take charge. I still managed to keep my cool, be nice, and found that it got me far.

Here's the bottom line: you don't have to be a bitch to be a leader. There's a difference between having high standards and holding others accountable... and being mean and disrespectful. Sometimes it's a fine line- but it's a line I feel like I've walked all my life. Now I'm a news anchor. Once again, a role where I could easily become the dreaded "diva". I've seen it happen to others, and just knew I didn't want to be the mean, unapproachable lady on the anchor desk who thought all should cater to her and do as she commands. I've always tried to be the anti-diva... probably because I've seen lots of divas in action- setting an example for what I didn't want to be. Kind of ironic that I got that diva magnet (shown above) as part of some sort of grab-bag present. I glance at it on my refrigerator from time to time... my little reminder to keep both feet on the ground. And that in my opinion- it's ok to be nice. It doensn't mean you're weak or opinionless. A person can still be assertive, while maintining others' respect. Some people may see your niceness as a negative thing- but if you believe you're doing what's right... don't stray from your course. Be nice, state your feelings, but have tact and compassion.
Thanks for taking the time to read!
Emily

39 comments:

  1. I can definitely relate to you here, I'm often pegged 'the nice twin' because I'll try and help everyone with their dilemmas or just generally be the go to person when people are having a bad time.
    It is nice to be thought of in that way, but people take it too far and think that I'm a pushover. I've stood up for myself on several occasions to people who thought of me as 'nice' and they now think of me as a 'bitch', just because I didn't let them walk all over me.... I cannot win!
    -Becky xoxo

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  2. It's a shame the word "diva" has taken on such a negative connotation. It was originally meant to simply designate, according to Webster, "a distinguished female singer". Someone who was the very best at what she did.

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  3. Yeah Jen- maybe that will be the topic of a future blog! haha :)

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  4. yeahhh,is it bad to be nice?hehe
    eeek as for me,im sick of being nice person.well maybe im nice and weak so ppl always take advantage.thats why i decided to be mean instead
    :P

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  5. I totally agree with all this. I've always been a nice person, but I'm not a push over. If I get burned, I learn my lesson and get on with my life. I don't feel the need to burn back.
    My whole life I've always felt like the better person is the one who stays level-headed and as such is respectable.

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  6. What a very insightful post Emily! I get that a lot too, I've always been super nice to people, even those who don't deserve it! I agree with you that people may see it as a negative, because they "think" they can walk all over you if you're too nice. I think I'm too "nice," because I'm just very considerate of other people's feelings, and always try to respect others, just the way I'd like to be treated. Only time I speak up is when I feel strongly about something, especially when people are trying to disrespect me or my loved ones... otherwise, I'm just nice and polite, and go about my day.. :)

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  7. I think that a good leader is someone who is nice to their colleagues. This shows them much more respect than being rude to them and they appreciate it, and above all there is generally a better atmosphere all around.
    I see from all your videos, (and many others do as well as I notice from the comments they post) that you are a lovely person, inside and out. You have a great personality, and your smile is infectious! Obviously I don't know you, I only watch your videos but they are fantastic and your vivacity shines through. Don't let others tell you what to be.
    You chose the right path! My mother always used to tell me the motto "Do as you would be done by" which means don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to you, and also if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

    You deserve your success,

    Bella :)

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  8. Totally agree. Be as nice as you can be but don't ever allow anyone to walk over you! That's what I go by now. I used to get walked on by so many people... ugh.

    But now, I totally know my worth. ^_^v

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  9. I totally agree! While growing up, every time I voiced any resistance or opposition to my dad, I was called a diva or "over dramatic," which means as a 37 year old I still shy away from confrontation and use niceness and humour to get what I need out of people. I have found that being a leader has more to do with listening to people and making them feel heard and validated than it has to do with bossing people around. Anyone can be a boss, but not everyone can be a leader.

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  10. Interesting post! My dad was my principal, but it was just for one year (6th grade). I can't imagine putting up with it for longer than that -- you deserve a medal!
    I think you have the right idea -- you just have to be yourself no matter how others label you. I work at a huge bureaucracy and one co-worker is always telling me I'm "too nice" to people who call in for help or guidance. Hmmph. Little does she know how people roll their eyes at the way she constantly chews people out on the phone -- it's aggravating and counter-productive!
    best wishes!

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  11. What a beautiful post, you are such a kind-hearted person.

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  12. First visit to your blog...gotta say. Being nice is a good thing. I was raised to be nice. I try to constantly remind my boys to 'play nice'. It's just a good way to be. So as simple as that sounds, I'll sum it up in the immortal words of Patrick Swayze as Dalton in the classic film 'Roadhouse'...

    "Be Nice."

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  13. Your story feels so different to mine - well not really that different. I don't like it when people assume stuff about me and I'm thinking "Hey buddy, I'm not that 2 dimensional. I'm more complex than that."
    With me, sometimes I don't feel I'm nice enough - like I am inside but first impression type thing. There are people out there who has that vibe of warmth and welcome that attracts everyone. I feel like I want more of that.
    So I agree, you don't have to be mean to take charge. I believe you have to be intelligent and people will listen to you and respect you :) At least I respect those who are smart - and in smart, I'm talking about how they behave and treat others and such too.

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  14. In fact, being nice takes more courage than being a bitch. More effort, more self-control, more strenght, in other words. When I watch movies with bitchy cheerleaders and popular girls I am grateful that in my area things are different in school. They might seem popular, but they are certainly not loved or appreciated. The inconvenience of being nice is that people take advantage of you sometimes. But it's worth the risk :)

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  15. I totally agree with you Emily. Not only some people think that being nice is having a weak character; they also think they are within their right of say or do whatever they want to you.
    Sometimes I wish I were less nice to some kind of people.

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  16. Wow.... This post was super cool. Keep up the good work!!!! Luv ya.

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  17. I am glad I have not skipped this non-makeup related post ;)

    Well, I have always been very thoughtful person which some people confused with conceited. And almost all my school days they used to all me the ice queen. I consider myself a nice person but again lots of people around me think that nice = stupid. I have learnt the hard way that sometimes the best thing you can do is leave such people behind and move on.

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  18. I know exactly what you mean. People think that just because you treat people with respect you are a pushover. People need to learn not to mistake kindness for weakness. I think it takes a bigger person to keep your cool and not get caught up in drama.

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  19. Hi! I know EXACTLY what you mean... I go through the same feelings a lot because people who don't really know me just see me being nice, so that is how I'm assumed and yes... also assumed that I cannot stand up for myself, etc. I just sort of accepted this and went on with my life... until we had a speaker come in for work to discuss personalities. We all took something called the "True Colors Test" and it was amazing! It showed that myself and most of my friends who are co-workers are 'blue' and most of the leadership was a 'gold' etc. Anyhow, I found it comforting to learn more about my 'nice' personality type... there is so much to it! Here is a quick online sample test that is not as in-depth as the semindar, but still very interesting and helpful :)
    http://www.truecolorstest.com/

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  20. Very nice post! =)Not in a bad way if you know what I mean lol

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  21. omg Emily ! i admire you even more now, you're awesome !

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  22. I put this in my facebook quote...


    I got this from a blog, and this is how I try to live my life by. :)

    "Here's the bottom line: you don't have to be a bitch to be a leader. There's a difference between having high standards and holding others accountable... and being mean and disrespectful. And that in my opinion- it's ok to be nice. It doesn't mean you're weak or opinion less. A person can still be assertive, while maintaining others' respect. Be nice, state your feelings, but have tact and compassion."-Emily (not my cousin).

    Thank you. I get so irritated and frustrated when people who can make such a big impact on someone else, they use it in a negative light. Thanks for being classy.

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  23. Just my two cents here..but there are times when being nice can turn you into a doormat. Just be careful and make sure people don't take advantage of your kindness. I've also seen that nice people are sometimes afraid to be assertive .. and miss out on oppotunities for fear of hurting someones feelings.

    Just remember to look out for yourself -- and that sometimes being assertive can be mistaken for bitchiness but it's still necessary on occasion. Personally, I feel if you just be yourself you can't go wrong.

    Great topic btw!

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  24. my co-workers see me as nice but I don't think I really am...I mean sure at times but I can sure be a meanie when needed...lol.

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  25. I relate to you here in soo many ways. My high school was very clique-y, and I was in the most popular group... I was often assumed to be a "bitch" like some of the other girls, but I had never (to my knowledge) given anybody a reason to think this. I would always go out of my way to include other students and be nice to them..however, who you associate with and your looks can still lead people into thinking you're a diva too, although you may be the nicest person of everyone. My point is, don't stop being nice even if people do not treat you in the same way :)

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  26. As i was reading this post i started to see myself through your words. I'm preparing to became a journalist but everybody tells me that i'm too nice for this job, that i should be mean and tough. I don't want to be mean and despite all i'm tough only that people usually don't get to know me as I am.

    I do belive that in life is important to be nice and have good manners in order to succeede. I stand up for my belives and as a female, beeing nice ,polite and why not charming could open so many doors without having some kind of "to give and take".

    Like you i do not wish to became some sort of "diva" in my career with people tagging me "diva,mothers bitch" :))

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  27. Good for you, choosing to be an approachable, kind person. Your personality is a huge draw for me on your YouTube channel, and I applaud you for being a great person as well as a successful woman. You're proof that you DON'T have to be a bitch to command respect and be a leader.

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  28. funny. i'm a compassionate, respectful and loyal person but i'm also brutally honest and not afraid to speak my mind. i.e., i'm a bitch. or so i'm told. jokingly maybe, but told nonetheless. for crying out loud, my nieces and nephews call me "mean aunt dina". haha. i actually wear that one with pride. :-) but the bitchy thing always seems to outweigh everything else.

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  29. So true!!! Great post, Emily!

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  30. Many people in my life have mistaken my kindness as being weak. Admittedly after being walked over and used for the millionth time it had to end. It makes me scared to be kind and generous in a way. It seems like whenever I show my generosity to someone they take what they can get and disappear.
    Never been thought of as a diva. Many have called me a Princess and thought...I will take that title and ran with it! The only person who spoils me is myself so if someone has a problem with that they should work a little harder to earn the money to do it too!

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  31. Many people in my life have mistaken my kindness as being weak. Admittedly after being walked over and used for the millionth time it had to end. It makes me scared to be kind and generous in a way. It seems like whenever I show my generosity to someone they take what they can get and disappear.
    Never been thought of as a diva. Many have called me a Princess and thought...I will take that title and ran with it! The only person who spoils me is myself so if someone has a problem with that they should work a little harder to earn the money to do it too!

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  32. There is always the flipside - being known as a bitch because you are confident, knowledgeable and stand up for what you believe in. If you can master being a little of both, kudos! If not, I'd rather be the bitch no one stomps all over. *snaps fingers* LOL

    -J

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  33. Omygosh! I totally relate and I'm so glad you addressed this! Unfortunately, I finally hit my breaking point a couple of years back when a guy I was seeing decided to trash my reputation. I still tried to be nice and be the bigger person, but he just saw it as a sign that he must've had me eating out of the palm of his hand. Boy, did he have another thing coming! I don't regret standing up for myself, but after falling further into the dark side, I have learned that being a bitch only hurts you in the end. It's better to be the kind of person you want to be and be happy with yourself than to make a point. As long as you aren't really giving into or doing things you're not comfortable with, who cares what other people think? :)

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  34. I've often been labeled as too 'nice',because I'm the one who wants to lend a helping hand etc.

    I've realized that there are some opprotunistic people who'll try use your kindness for their personal agenda.Sad but true.

    Sometimes you to simply observe a person before you decide to help them.Because there are some people who want you to do everything for them.

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  35. Dear Emily, I recently "discovered" your channel and am hooked (I've told anyone and everyone about you!). Am learning lots from you - great tricks, tips and reviews. I especially enjoy watching your show because of your intelligence, wit, poise, and joie. I'm glad you're a "nice" person. It's a foolish person that confuses nice with dumb or spineless. I send you positive vibes and hope the best for you, Tyler and Cupcake (they crack me up, too!) -Erica J.R.

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  36. Your kindness and enthusiasm are what draws me to your channel time and again, Emily.

    I love your honesty and obvious sincerity. In a world where so many people feel a sense of entitlement...humility and kindness are incredibly refreshing.

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  37. some people just aren't good with figuring others out. I just felt like sharing a little story about another very nice woman. we are taught about what is bad and what is wrong... i think you can pretty much "figure" out anyone if you think within these simple criteria. The difference comes from when you actually experience it yourself and what I mean is when you meet that kind of nice, bright person who makes your day shine. A couple years ago I was completing my flights, part of my training for being a flight attendant. You know, during actual classes we were told all the time that not everyone can actually do this job. It sounds easy, but let's just say u need a damn strong character ; to be nice, informed and respectful towards any kind of passenger while also having that leadership skill that allows you to deal with difficul situations and make your voice be heard when needed. I was a little puzzled back than because I was younger, i was coming from different education environment, hence I wasn't really used of looking at things from this point of view. I was accasionally rude myself, I had, like anyone, trouble keeping my calm sometimes and to top it i was kinda shy too.
    So back to the topic... during my first flights, I was very impressed and intimidated by the cabin crew members themselves. I was supposed to work with them for a while and I was, as you can maybe imagine, very curious to observe their behaviour and the way they dealt with things. But the truth is, reality hardly ever is the way your etachers tell you... I met a lot of people that were far from that perfect "nice" portrait i was building up in my mind. And I was disappointed to see them act so casual and lacking diplomacy while around me, bitching about passengers... i thought itw as really shameful to be honest. And it wasn't just this "behind courtains".During my first flights, every cabin screw team basically just sat in the kitchens while I was sent to do a great deal of their job. Things got to be a bit sad when I was scolded about how I was doing because I couldn't just ignore the fact that I really didn't have any better examples around; after all, i was there to learn the job from them not to be scolded for not knowing already. The purser in my first flight i remember called me "useless", I was hurt a bit because I wanted to do things better but I was not getting any sugegstions whatsoever, just pointings at what was not good.

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  38. However. During my exactly last training flight, I met a different purser. I was already lacking a lot of confidence and had dark thoughts because the things, as i was seeing them, were not going very well, i thought maybe I'm just not the right person to do it, not enough atention or not enough backbone, i had no idea what was actually the problem with me. The fact that iw as feeling like that was in itself a bad thing. But from the start this woman did the things completely as they should have been done. She didn't justs end me there to do her job, she took me with her, made me just help her at the beginning and then after i observed her we switched
    "roles" and everything went perfect. I could feel it was going good because of the feedbak i got from the passengers and that made me so happy. I sat near her the whole time and I knew she was doing her job with passion and that she trully liked it. Everytime she was speaking to someone it was as if she really cared and reallyw as paying attention to all the details, problems and little things. And she was so nice and i couldn't help feeling so damn comfortable around her that i was just amazed at the amount of positive feelings that that woman was sending around her. Whenever we were at our stations, she was talking to me about different things related that she thought (and she knew) were not highlighted during our classes, and she had very good, logical and clear explanations that I remember even now word by word. But besides being very well informed, she just was that unbelievably nice person. At the end she told me that when she first saw me she thought i looked very out of place and she told some words of encouragement that to me emant a lot considering how many things i had learnt from her during just a few hours. It just felt like i myself was a different person. I was most impressed that even though she saw my lack of confidence, she didn't assume like others that I was just afraid of my own lack of knowledge and felt like pushing me around. It was the first time that i met a person to have such a great impact of me. I followed her advices regarding things afterwards and it was because I had the confidence that she was the kind of person i wanted to be.

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