“Too” Nice : Not Naive, Not Weak, Only Decent

Photo by Joao Silas via Unsplash

It occurs to me that, quite often, people tell me that I am “too nice.” I am really confused about what people mean by “too nice”. Not only because I really never thought about being nice as a quality you could abuse, but also because I have never had the feeling I was being very nice in the first place.

I have heard this too many times for several years now, and perhaps unsurprisingly, mostly from men.

The most recent culprit was a guy I was working with in my last job in Cambridge. He seemed like a nice guy, and was quite funny at times. We went for a couple of beers once, and a couple of beers were enough to reveal the dirty intentions he had in the back of his mind. I made myself clear at this point, I knew I had to make him understand that I was never looking for more than a beer, as I was clearly engaged. And besides, I was clearly too young for him.

But, the guy turned out to be a prick, and undoubtedly too drunk to realise it, so he continued his little ridiculous flirty game that would not even work with a goat until I decided to go home. The next morning at work, he apologised for being a jerk, and said that he was not that “kind of guy”. The man was in the middle of a divorce, and was obviously having a hard time. He drank a bit too much to forget. Fair enough. Everybody deserves a second chance after all.

We continued meeting for beers sometimes, and everything went well. I thought we had an understanding. One day, though, I got a ton of drunken messages from him. One thing was for sure: I was far from nice that night. He called me his girlfriend, so I called him a cunt and told him to leave me the fuck alone.

A few weeks later, I heard from one of my colleague that apparently he and I were having an affair, and the gossip was coming none other than himself. HAHA. I mean, really? After talking about this incident with people, the consensus was that the rumor started because I was being “too” nice.

Oh, ok. So I am now responsible for the whole deal? The guy created a whole relationship in his head, talked about it to people like it was real, but it is my fault. I should have guessed. I should have read his mind. So I take the blame.

This isn’t  the only example I have. A guy I had a one night stand with started going wild after I told him I was not looking for anything serious. He was passing in front of the bar I was working during the day three times an hour and coming in the pub I was working in at night to sit at the bar and look at me with the filthy eyes of a serial killer. He found me on Facebook and sent me messages EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. He decided one night to wait for me coming back from work in front of the door of my apartment.

A bit scared, I didn’t go home that night. I received a message at nine the next morning saying, “I am leaving now since you didn’t come back.” It was a winter night, snowing outside. It must not have been up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Reason? I was “too” nice.

Another guy I stayed with for a month decided to write to me everyday for three months after I decided to break up with him. I couldn’t block him because I wanted to know what he had in his mind all the time and therefore, if I was safe or not. However, I stopped replying after the second day. He was going through all the emotional stages hoping he was going to get a word out of me. Reason again? I was being too nice.

So, I am actually wondering, what the hell is this deal? And when does “too” nice start? Should I have avoided speaking to these guys in the first place as if I have a radar sensor for desperate men?

Given that they all turned mad when I pushed them away – so definitely not at my nicest moments – how should I have acted to be even less nice and make them not expect marriage from my seemingly so sweet, agreeable and thoughtful objection? Is me saying “No, I don’t want that” with a calm voice that is to be criticized or the guy who wrongly hears “Yes, try again in the most pathetic ways and you’ll get me”?

Are people actually blaming me because those guys were wicked? Do I have to, besides trying to ignore the humiliation, the embarrassment and sometimes the fright, take the blame because these situations happen in the first place?

Every time I came to my friends with a new story like these ones, they told me the guys were maniacal. And I thought so as well. They finally started to call me the “magnet for psychopaths.” I was even wondering if I wasn’t responsible somehow. What did I do to have a reaction so disproportionate from them? Did I do something wrong and didn’t realise it? Is it my behaviour? Should they expect something from me because I’m actually acting like I’m interested? Am I looking for attention?

Fortunately, I understood it wasn’t my fault. And that they were not psychopaths. They were misogynistic. These situations didn’t happen because I wasn’t behaving well, but because these guys were expecting to have power over me. They thought that by pushing harder on me, I would finish falling. They thought that, with time, I will eventually submit to their superiority.

The problem wasn’t that I was too nice. The problem was that I said “no”. The problem was them, trying to convince me, manipulate me and almost force me to say yes. The problem was their fear of rejection and their incapacity of lowering their egos. If they let me go, they lose and look at me leaving with their pride in hand.

The problem, behind all that, is millennia of “if you wanna win a girl’s heart, you’ve got to fight for it, boy.” The problem is that some guys still think that they have to convince us because we don’t really know how to think by ourselves. And that most of the time we play hard to get.

I should not have to get angry or mean to make people understand what I want and what I feel. I should not have to repeat myself dozens of time to make them realise that I am not interested.

I might have been nice with them, but for me, I was only being correct. And is it not what we should do?

Being nice is not being naïve. Being nice is not being wrong. And being nice is certainly not being weak. Being too nice, though, is just an excuse.

Because yes, sometimes I am nice. And no, it isn’t an error, or an imperfection. I refuse to change my behaviour and lose my faith in humanity for the sole reason that the person I am talking to is potentially a maniac.

Instead of reproaching me for being “too” nice, why not try to actually disapprove of the guilty in the first place?  Why not turn the norm upside down to make niceness acceptable and this kind of nice-blaming unacceptable? Why, after I have already had a hard time with several deranged sexist morons, should I sit there and receive a lesson of shitty behavioural psychology?

So, I won’t stop being “too” nice, whatever that means. I won’t change my attitude for the survival of the meanest, and if being nice means being dull, please make me queen cause I want to be the dullest.

Agathe Rochet : Feminist. Sexuality and relationship writer. Punk & Football addict. Forensic psychology enthusiast. Singer (even if nobody likes it except me).