Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram

What's New:

  • My Moving Beyond Challenge starts June 25th. Look out for an email next week for you to register for this FREE challenge.

  • The 2018 Conquer Conference: Be Brave, Grow Strong tickets are here. This event happening October 2018, will be amazing. You can click here for more information.

Are You Guilty of Being Too Nice?

By Leslie Vernick

Do you ever find yourself saying “Yes” when you want to (or should) say “No”? Recently someone asked me to do a favor for her. I didn’t want to but I was too uncomfortable saying no. But it took much more time than I had and as a result, I wasn’t prepared for other responsibilities I had committed to.

Several years back, a graduate student asked me if I thought she would make a good counselor. I knew her gifts weren’t strongest that area, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She left our conversation believing I thought she was capable.

We all do it. We want to be nice so we accommodate another person’s wants, needs, desires or wishes. Or we aren’t really honest with how we feel because we don’t want to upset anyone.

But let’s take a look at the cost of being too nice.

We Hurt People
It amazes me how unaware we are of how we injure people by being too nice. Isn’t that why we’re nice to begin with? We don’t want to hurt people? When I wasn’t completely honest with my intern, I unintentionally hurt her. She spent time, energy, and money pursuing a career that didn’t reflect her true calling.

In another example, Lydia worked hard to be a Proverbs 31 wife and mother. But the more she gave, the more her husband and children took, with little concern or even awareness of Lydia’s needs.

Lydia became exhausted caring for everyone with no one giving back to her. Over time, Lydia’s niceness enabled her family to become more and more self-centered, self-absorbed, and selfish. Lydia didn’t mean to, but she weakened her husband and children by not inviting them into a more reciprocal relationship.

Here’s another way we wound people by being too nice. Debbie was a new believer who attended Nancy’s bible study at church. Debbie began phoning Nancy at home, asking a question or wanting to talk something through.

Debbie always took Nancy’s calls, but soon grew weary. She didn’t want to discourage her new friend, but found her neediness overwhelming. Instead of being more honest with Debbie and setting a better schedule for phone calls, Nancy started using her caller ID to screen her calls.

Eventually Debbie caught on and felt hurt and abandoned. Nancy’s niceness gave Debbie the impression that she was always available any time night or day.

When we are too nice and fail to set appropriate boundaries, we may not mean to, but we hurt people. The only person who can be always available without getting crabby or tired is God. Don’t try to do his job. You will fail every time and the other person will get hurt.

We Hurt Ourselves
There is nothing unbiblical about being wise with who you give yourself to. While in college Sharon agreed to walk in a park with a young man she wasn’t attracted to nor was she very comfortable with. She said yes because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings by saying “no thanks”. During their walk, he sexually assaulted her. Every day she deeply regrets that she was too nice.

It doesn’t have to be a dangerous or suspicious situation for us to learn to simply say, “No thank you. I can’t. Or, I don’t’ want to.” We all have limited resources of time, energy, and money. When we allow others to take from our resources without limits, it’s like giving them unrestricted access to our checking account and then feeling angry when we’re constantly overdrawn. If giving to someone hurts you, count the cost.

Sometimes it’s appropriate to sacrifice yourself for another, and other times it’s foolish. Jesus tells a story about five women who refused to share their lamp oil with five others who did not bring enough for themselves. Instead of rebuking these women for being stingy, Jesus called them wise (Matthew 25:1-13).

We Miss God’s Best
Each day there are endless things and people that clamor for our attention. Oswald Chambers reminds us that “the great enemy of the life of faith is the good that is not good enough.” Don’t allow other people to set your values, your schedule, or your priorities.

Many people asked Jesus to do things for them, but Jesus always looked for what God wanted first―even if it meant disappointing people. (See Mark 1:29-38 or John 11:1-6.) When we are too nice and passively accommodate others, we could very well miss God’s best. Finally, here are some steps to help you stop being too nice.

1. Understand nice isn’t one of the fruit of the Spirit. Being kind doesn’t mean you always say “yes,” it means that you learn to say “no” kindly.

2. Before you say “yes,” stop and say, “Let me think about that. I’ll get back to you.” This will give you time to think through whether you’re being too nice, or if you really feel led to do it.

3. Let go of guilt. You can’t be all things to all people or do everything people want. Jesus was perfect, and he still disappointed people.

My Moving Beyond People Pleasing Class will be starting at the end of this month. If you’re interested in learning more about it click here.


The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What Jesus Prayed and How It Can Change Your Life Today

This unique, comprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus provides background, context, and a detailed look at each one of the prayers of Jesus along with reflection questions and Scripture-based prayers.

As we follow his example and take our problems to him, we will, like him, grow closer to the Father and find strength for our everyday challenges.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter.

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of The 6 Month Membership to our Conquer Support Group are Nancy C. and Angie G.


Upcoming Events

September 28th and 29th
Conference Dallas, TX

October 12th and 13th
Conquer Conference

October 26th and 27th
1st Baptist Church
Houna, LA

Want to have Leslie speak at your event? Click here to find out more information.

If I Leave it Will Only Get Worse

Question: I love that you are helping women who are abused… and I loved your recent newsletter article about suffering for Jesus, while doing the right thing, not just by remaining abused… I sent it to my Pastor.

I guess my only fear is, what about the women who feel that putting up boundaries or leaving a severely abusive and suicidal spouse is even more dangerous than staying?

My husband was an ex-boxer so I’m pretty sure he has a head injury… he also self-medicates a lot… we’ve been married 35 years, and I do have some boundaries, but I’ve also done a lot of enabling… how can someone like me get free when he’s not all there?

Answer: Great question. Studies do show that some women face more danger when trying to leave an abusive marriage either through separation or divorce. An abusive spouse is possessive. He often believes he owns you. If he’s also suicidal and/or homicidal it makes your safety even more perilous. That does not mean you should not leave or continue to allow yourself to be abused, but it means that you must have a well thought out and executed exit and permanent safety plan.

As I’ve said before, God cares about your safety. He does not value the sanctity of marriage more than your safety and sanity.

The Bible supports this when it says in Proverbs “The prudent see danger and take refuge.” We see God warning Joseph in a dream that baby Jesus was in danger from King Herod, and told him to flee to Nazareth. He didn’t tell Joseph to submit to Herod, even though Herod was the King.

I’ve developed an acronym for victims of abuse to be more aware of their own level of danger in an abusive relationship. The presence of any of these nine factors represents a danger. If multiple factors are present, your danger levels increase.

Here’s What People are Saying About Last Conquer Conference

I left the Conquer conference hopeful with some new tools and ideas to help me stay in my marriage, [as] well. I took the workshop about image and wardrobe and I bought a DVD on scarves and gave it to my mom for Christmas last year and she loved it. I also took the workshop on processing anger and learned a lot. But the friendships and support and knowing that you are not alone are priceless.

– Christy Milnark Shoen


Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.


Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States