The curse of being the ‘nice girl’

I’m sorry if this article upsets you, I really truly didn’t mean to


I’ve spent my whole life being described as “nice” – it’s a curse that I just can’t manage to shake.

But according to author Marcia Baczynski, becoming a “good girl” is a trap: when you’re told often enough that you’re “nice” or “lovely” or “very sweet”, you begin to play a role and it almost becomes like a full-time job.

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You’re the one who is expected to always be smiley, always willing to help and never, ever stubborn or angry: think Miss Honey from Matilda or Charlotte from Sex and the City and you’ve got the picture.

Of course, all sorts of people can be “nice”, but those that fall solely into the nice category cannot be edgy, or cool, or sassy. It just doesn’t work.

Nice people are walking, talking, well-behaved clichés and it’s exhausting. But you know, I can’t complain, really. Nice people don’t complain.

Instead, allow me to share my experiences of what nice girls go through. You’re welcome to read them but only if you’d like, of course. Sorry for being a nuisance. Thank you in advance.

Not being able to say no

Saying no is painful. You just can’t bring yourself to do it and even when you do, you know you’re malleable enough to be convinced otherwise.

As a result, you spend your school years doing other people’s homework, volunteering to things you really don’t time for, and perpetually running late because you were helping someone do something that had nothing to do with you.

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You end up talking to everyone on public transport 

It’s a hard life. All you want to do is read or listen to some music in peace but no, someone wants a chat. Some of us are just cursed with one of those “talk-to-me-I’m-approachable” faces.

Before you know it, your commute has been filled with 70-year-old Margaret telling you all about how her granddaughter (her name is Sophie, by the way) recently got one of her horse riding badges and how she’s had chutney rolls for her lunch.

For the duration of the chat you find yourself nodding, smiling and “ooing” in the right places because Margaret is obviously lovely and you don’t want to be rude. In fact, as boring as it might be, you relish the fact that you’ve probably made her day.

I wonder how Margaret is doing now.

You’re always the best friend 

This needs very little explaining. The good girl spends her life giving relationship advice to other people and comforting guys on their relationship woes. Alas, the nice girl is transformed into the Taylor Swift circa 2008 listening best friend. The good girl lives in the friend zone and she knows there is no way out.

This works for guys too. You know you’re meant to fancy the good guy and you know you plan on one day marrying the good guy and yet, he’s single through his twenties because the bad boy has the appeal. Being nice pays off in the end though, right?

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People cringe when you swear

Sunday school teachers are nice. Now imagine a Sunday school teacher swearing. It just isn’t right, is it?

Grandparents love you 

Much like with Margaret on the train, the curse of being nice means that families, particularly grandparents, are just your forte. They love you and there’s no denying it. “Oh, you’re not like the youth of today,” they’ll utter as they spoon some more pudding on your plate.

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You’re an expert pushover

Yes, it’s true. The curse of being nice means you are a bona fide pushover.

You don’t kick up a fuss when people wind up, you agree to work late on a Saturday, you sort your mum’s birthday present out E V E R Y year, and you promise to help tutor your aunty Kath’s best friend’s neighbour’s niece for free when you’re home from uni.

You can’t wear certain things 

Once you’re tarred by the nice brush, you almost have to conform to the aesthetic that comes with it. It’s an unwritten rule but when you’re nice, you can’t have a teenage goth phase or suddenly start wearing floor length leather trench coats. It just doesn’t work.

Back in the day I purchased a purple and lime green checked Vans rucksack for school. It was the sort of pattern Avril Lavigne would have worn to a Teen Choice Awards red carpet in 2006 and I loved it.

My friends, on the other hand, thought it was hysterical that my 12-year-old self had ventured away from the paisley print in Boden and found the Vans shop. They thought I was a wannabe cool kid. I just liked the pattern of the bag.

You get the picture.

Spot the bag

Spot the bag

You overthink everything

Oh goodness, what if I upset the man in Costa when I told him he’d made me the wrong coffee? Maybe I should have just drunk it and not made a fuss.

I do hope the bus driver wasn’t annoyed when I asked him to stop for me to get off. I probably could have walked the extra 5 minutes.

I better not bother my personal tutor and ask for help. She’s probably very busy.

Being nice means that when you actually do something wrong, you feel like the worst person on planet earth. Suddenly, because you forgot to text back or forgot to pick up some milk on your way home, you convince yourself that you’re bad to the bone.

You have to live up to expectations 

What I’ve realised is that when you’re coined as being “the nice one”, people think they know you.

They expect you’re going to get married to a nice person and make the family a Sunday roast every week. They expect you’re a diligent student with good grades and a clean, sensible, and equally nice group of friends.

I think they think that “nice” people spend their weekends baking cupcakes, learning to embroider, and catching up on the Archers. They think you’re old before your time.

In turn, when you tell them you know all the words to “Ghetto Gospel” or that you’re thinking of being a life model, they tend to choke a little. Being “nice” and not wearing Laura Ashley tea dresses unnerves people.

So, there you have it – an insight into the curse of being nice. I do hope I didn’t offend.