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Should I change my behavior in order to stop being too nice at work?

Karen R Koenig
Psychology

A word here about consequences of changing behavior at work versus with friends or family. Because you’re paid for what you do, you do have to be a wee bit cautious about how you approach de-nicing yourself. Your employers are not like your friends or family - if your brother doesn’t speak to you for a year, so what; if you lose a friend, you’ll find another. But the consequences of changing behavior at work are generally more serious. I don’t want you to lose your job. If you decide on your own that it’s too stressful or doesn’t bring out your best qualities, well, good for you. Move on. But until you make the decision that you’re out of there, take change slowly.

Try on new behavior gradually; talk to a friendly boss or supervisor about how best to go about standing up for yourself. Let people know that you’re trying to be more up front and solicit feedback from people you trust. Go slowly and take baby steps. Find someone outside your job to use as a support, a person who doesn’t have a stake in how things go at work or in you acting one way over another. Give yourself time to change and notice how you feel about you: If you’re feeling better and better about yourself and have more pride and confidence, you’re moving in the right direction, no matter what anyone else says.

Sometimes when you assert yourself at work, people will start to treat you differently. You’ll notice some being cold and standoffish and others showing you more respect, including not violating your personal boundaries. It may take them a while if they have a stake in you being Ms. Nice, but give them time to get used to the new you and see how the dust settles.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.