Is it truly possible to be nice all the time? Psychologists think not, and the reasons relate to mental health and wellbeing. Image Credit: Pexels/Daria Shevtsova

Kindness and being nice is always in fashion. But is there a limit?

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where you can find both the words “nice” and “mean”.

The nicest people are sensitive to the feelings of those around them, easy to socialise with, and rarely ever argue. But it isn’t truly possible to be nice all the time. According to US-based psychology news website Psychology Today, those who are nice 24/7 often behave in this way on autopilot, unaware that there are several psychological dangers lurking just under the surface.

For one, without clear boundaries, people can view nice folks as doormats, and take advantage of them. According to an April 2014 report in US-based business management website Harvard Business Review, leaders who let others take advantage of them are harmful for companies, because their actions create a fertile atmosphere for contempt to spread.

Imagine a ‘nice’ leader overlooking issues created by his lacklustre employees over and over again. It impacts those who are more talented and motivated in the office; anger and resentment take root, morale plummets and problems become more difficult to solve as they pile up. All because the employer was too nice!

Another thing overly nice people do is internalise – they hold in negative emotions that naturally rise up during the course of their life, so as not to stir up trouble. The by-product of all that pent-up emotion can include depression, anxiety and even addiction, according to a July 2018 Psychology Today report.

Other issues they face include a build-up of resentment, self-criticism, periodic acting out, passive aggressiveness, and burnout.

Overall, it’s tough being the good guy. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a rewarding, value-driven experience. The key is to take care of yourself as well as others, by being assertive and honest. Here are some ways nice people can take a step back and redirect their energies to self-care:

1. Slow down and become aware

When you get the urge to do the nice thing, resist the impulse to volunteer immediately, as you would normally do. Slow down, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself if it’s something you truly want.

2. Practice saying no

It’s not about jumping to the other end of the spectrum and becoming mean; it’s about setting boundaries. If saying no is too difficult in the beginning, it’s often helpful to be proactive and let others know where you stand before they come to you.

3. Use anger as information

When you feel anger, irritation or resentment rising, pause and assess how you feel and what made you feel that way. Once you have it figured out, speak up rather than bottle it in.

Have you ever felt trapped because you were trying to be nice? Play today’s Spell It and let us know at