Men are taught to be right. Women are taught to be nice.
Fortunately, a lot more women are also being raised with enough of an education to be right too. But the need to be nice can still be a downfall.
Contrary to Linda Kaplan Thaler’s book, The Power of Nice, there is a limit to the results being nice will get you. Fundamentally, it is better to be nice than rude and we like people who are fair better than those who are selfish. But too much congeniality is counterproductive.
I recently read a number of articles that say people who are too nice repel others. Either they make us feel badly for not being as nice as they are or we judge excessively nice behavior as manipulative.
In the November edition of Scientific Mind, an article titled That’s Nice, Now Get Out by Valerie Ross cited a study where people could kick members off their team for behaviors they didn’t like. The results showed that being overly generous was just as annoying as cheating.
I wonder if this is the reason for the belief that men like bitches more than nice girls. It might not be that they want to be mistreated. They just don’t like being showered with niceness. And maybe they actually respect a woman who sets strong boundaries and shows a tough demeanor when dealing with difficulties.
The answer seems to be to match your “niceness” to the people you are playing with. If they are nice, you can be nice back. If they are not so nice, don’t try to change who they are by being nicer than they are. It won’t work. Take care of yourself instead.
What do you think of this research?