Hello dear readers,
I was raised to be a nice girl, often to my own detriment. Nice girls don’t argue. They never talk back. They don’t have controversial opinions that could upset others. And they never, ever rock the boat. God forbid!
When I left my hometown, I was desperate for friends. I’d grown up in a close-knit pack, and life felt empty without that camaraderie. Unfortunately, as most of us know, “desperate” is not a good way to enter any relationship. As a result, some of my friends made enemies seem more appealing. Whenever I told my mother I intended to discuss my grievances with these “frenemies”, her response was always the same: “Do you really have to say anything? Can’t you just let it go? What if they get upset?” Never mind that I was upset. It was all part and parcel of being The Nice Girl. The same went for abusive boyfriends. Best not to rock the boat; best to stay with them forever rather than risk change. Um, no.
It didn’t take long for me to see that my Nice Girl ways were turning me into a doormat. I started demanding more of my friendships. Yes, I lost a few friends, but none that mattered. I dropped the abusive jerks and stopped giving all of myself to people who never reciprocated. Nice Girls who don’t learn these lessons are one step away from turning into Bitter Girls.
Still, I can’t always avoid the Nice Girl trap. It’s ingrained in me. Example: I met a group of writers recently. Most of them were fabulous people, and I’d like to think I made some new friends. However, there was one person who did his best to humiliate me whenever possible. He was patronizing and rude. He interrupted people and brought every conversation back to himself. As much as I miss the other writers, I was very happy to get away from this guy.
The Nice Girl side of me feels sorry for him. He was desperately trying to fit in, any way he could. He never meant to offend me–he was attempting to joke with me and be my friend. He didn’t mean to fail miserably; he just doesn’t know how to interact with people. He’s a beginning writer and he’s asked for my help. He wants to keep in touch.
It is difficult for me to turn my back on anyone who asks for help. I forgive and forget all too easily. But every encounter with this guy made me unhappy in some way. Why would I willingly sign up for more of that?
My upbringing is urging me to be nice. My guilt complex is rearing its ugly head. I feel the need to write to the person who introduced us and apologize for the fact that I don’t feel I can sustain a friendship with this person. A person I found to be a highly negative influence.
Do any of you struggle with this kind of thing? Do you ever feel guilty for cutting someone out of your life, even if that person is clearly no good for you?
I’d love to stand strong and say, “No More Ms. Nice Girl”, but I know she will always be there, somewhere, waiting to jump out and turn me into a doormat.