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Geraldine Ogwe: When Being Too Nice Is Not Nice

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From our formative years, we were taught to be nice. Our teachers taught us to be nice to our contemporaries. Our parents taught us to be nice to strangers. In the religious settings, we were taught that “blessed are the nice people…”.
As we grow older, society teaches us that sometimes, being too nice is not nice. Society indirectly and directly fights this ideal instilled in us.

Being too nice is not always nice. I once met a guy on a very sunny day. I was walking along the road. He offered to give me a ride. I didn’t ask him to. According to him, he had already zoomed past me. A look from his rear view mirror convinced him to help this tall, pretty girl. The way and manner he offered the ride was impressive, so I entered his posh car. That day, there was fuel scarcity. Taxis were very difficult to catch. I was grateful that this tall, dark and chubby dude offered to take me out of my geographical predicament.

The ride was very chatty. In thirty minutes, we were not feeling like strangers any more. I decided to alight three bus stops before my house. He insisted he would take me home and claimed he meant no harm. In a swift instance, he saw a petrol station selling products.
He drove in.
Dude: This is a miracle. Please do you have loose change so I can add to what I have? I need to fill my tank.
Me: I have only two thousand naira.
Dude: Give to me.
In a manner that Anne Hathaway would have behaved in Ella Enchanted, I gave him the whole money. He didn’t thank me after filling his tank. He only showed me the pointer, so I could see that his tank was full.
As a young girl then, what came to my mind was that if I had seen a cab, it wouldn’t cost me more than five hundred naira to get home. This guy meant no physical harm but he meant financial harm.

When I got to my destination, we exchanged numbers. He kept in touch. Two weeks after, he told me one of those stories that touch the heart. He had not been paid for two months. I felt touched and I gave him four thousand naira.
Seven weeks after we met, he took me out for a drink. I asked him why he was driving his car when obviously the tyres were bad. I should have kept quiet. He said he was still not paid and asked me for a soft loan of a hundred thousand naira. He needed to fix his car, renew his DSTV subscription and also take care of me. He wanted to take care of me with my own money!

In the following days, he persisted I gave him the loan. Out of the goodness of my heart, I decided to buy two brand new tyres for him. When I told him, he was not grateful. He told me it was either all four or nothing. He realized he goofed, and then he said, I should just give him the loan.
I sent him a text message.
“I don’t like guys asking me for money, especially when they have not done anything tangible for me. The more persistent the person is, the more suspicious I become. However, I will give you a sacrificial amount. You may choose to leave after receiving it. If you have to be with me, please never ask for money again. I like a guy who can handle his own affairs privately”.
He replied, “What are you feeling like? Fuck off. Bullshit to you girl. I feel very insulted. Must I do something before I ask for a favour? This is not my style. Remain your best”.
Just like Ella, I fucked off.

My girlfriend, a very nice lady, once overheard her boo telling his friend that, “Jane is nice. Women pretend to be nice, just to trick a guy into marriage”. He claimed that nobody could be too nice for no reason. Like seriously?

Another girlfriend’s boo complained that she loved him too much for comfort. He wanted such love from a wife and not from a girlfriend. Both were single as at press report. The guy kept telling her to show her real self. Why aren’t people satisfied with the angel they see? Why do they want to bring out the beast in you?
How about guys who go the extra mile to provide for ladies, only for them to be called mugu or ATM by the same girls they were nice to?
What of the person who is always the first to greet? The day you don’t greet first, you may be termed snobbish or people just assume you woke up on the wrong side of your bed.

I have heard stories of men who had nothing and literally lived off their women, who later became wealthy and swore to stick to those women who were there for them. I have also heard stories of men who abused all the help and kindness given to them by their partners. My aunt invested her hard-earned money on the business of her fiancé who re-invested the money on another lady’s business. My pastor friend also told me of how he helped train a lady in the university, only for the lady to tell him that she didn’t want to be a pastor’s wife. He reminded her that he was not extending the Charity Arm of his church on her. He actually sponsored her education because he wanted to make her happy and fulfill her only demand before she could get married. The lady told him that he didn’t do it at gun-point and so had no case.

I told my niece that we were on earth to help others. She asked me what on earth the others were here for.
How do you differentiate between someone who genuinely needs help and another who is a smart con artist?
Have you ever regretted being too nice to a person?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Roxana González

33 Comments

  1. Dr.N

    February 19, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Nne, u have money O! You mean u bought all those things? Are u his mother? While single, that was my clue O. I only give money to a man who has a life and death situation. Eg, I’ve not eaten for 3 days. I buy 1 meal and pray for u. Student meal not 5 star.
    It was a male friend who taught me that if u give an inch ppl take a mile. I am not big enough to keep a full grown man dependent on me. Let him go to his mother.
    Rule of thumb. Every one is trying to take advantage of you. Rescue those in dire need once. The 2nd time, refer them to someone else. For instance, in d fuel situation, u could have said No. That would have ended d relationship earlier n saved u more expense

  2. Scared homosapien

    February 19, 2015 at 9:13 am

    That first story you told doesn’t depict a ‘nice’ person, but an ‘idiotic’ person (forgive me for this. How can someone give you a lift and you end up buying fuel for the person and so many other stuffs you did?
    Where you charmed (pun intended) ?
    I can’t deal abeg!

    • Geraldine Ogwe

      February 19, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      I forgive you.

    • iyke

      February 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Geraldine,
      I feel you! Being too nice for your own good can take a toll on you no doubt. I saw myself bending over backwards for people who wouldn’t dream of returning the favor. Sure, I was always surrounded by people, but it eventually became difficult to be around them, because I felt like I had to constantly live up to my ‘nice’ label. I had to learn when to curtail kindness.
      Now they are calling me ‘weird’ which is not great, but not terrible. But, I find that it’s still better than being nice. lol
      But the truth is that being your real self at any moment in time is best. Others can define you as nice, mean, weird or whatever – what does it really matter? Just know that you’re uniquely You!
      Be smart next time and know when to curtail kindness to avoid people taking advantage of you.

  3. dame

    February 19, 2015 at 9:13 am

    i have been nice and too nice in a lot of situations right from my boarding house days where i would give my provisions to a supposedly starving friend only to be laughed at and accused of being generous becauses i wanted to win “MOST GENEROUS STUDENT” …lols
    In my youth service, one senior colleague made a news round that i used to cook for him in-short that’s why he likes me meanwhile this daft biy the only time i broke my rules of not cooking for a guy is when i went to his house and cooked indomie, fried plantain for both of us…when the idiot said i even cooked banga soup…lols…so i would go through the stress of cooking banga for a mere colleague..
    anyways i quickly re adjusted after silly episodes and i wouldn’t be a victim again

  4. jefka

    February 19, 2015 at 9:27 am

    my experience was with my cab guy, this is a guy i pay and even tip for taking me round during office hours, i even inisited that my office use only him so that he can make money, i was just being nice.
    two months later, he calls me on a sunday to say he is broke and needed money urgently, the time was 9pm, i live in a small estate in ajah and they usually close the gates by 11pm. i informed the ogbono of a cab guy about this, he said he should be there latest 10pm.
    11pm i woke up to my phone ringing, i answer it and he says i am outside ur gate o!!!!!
    i go outsyd give him the money and say gdnyt, 11.30pm he calls again saying he will have to come sleep in my house becuz the gate has bn locked………whaaaaaattttttttttt
    mind you all, this house, my house is a self contain and this guy expects me to sleep with him in my room!!!!!!!! chaiiiiiii uwa eme bigo!!!!!
    i just quietly turned off my phone and deleted his number, i dont have time to spend on nonsense and ingredient sombori…….
    been nice should always have boudaries, girls think they have scored when they indiscriminately collect money from guys and shameless guys think its nice to turn women to magas.
    i personally think people should be strict while being nice, and pray that the person you are helping doesnt take it for granted.

  5. patsychy

    February 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Being too nice especially to men always brings no good result bcos I have been victim many times.he only showed her de fuel tank!,dat guy get mind o! Anyways wateva u don’t want,reject it outrightly de first time than telling stories that touch the heart.men will always take u for granted once u start doing their work ie being de man.its always in their nature to be de provider so once de reverse is de case,they take advantage of u.So wisdom is profitable to direct! Sharpen and smarten up babes!

  6. G

    February 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Dr N,, you spoke my mind. Being too nice is not good. The day you stand your ground, people begin to wonder, I like doing things for people but sometimes I put myself in check. That is because people have taken me for a ride too many times. In the office, everyone feels they can ride you because you are too nice. Well, i won’t change myself for anyone but I have learnt to not open up too much too! And I have alsoe learnt to say No and stand firmly on my No too!

  7. Rosie

    February 19, 2015 at 9:59 am

    yes, i have regretted been too nice to someone, in this case not financially but moral support, being the listening ear, i became someone he can always run to in times of trouble, someone to give advice, encourage and lift him, even help him seek help if it is beyond me and this same person called me a “disturbance” . It hurts like hell because i have never asked him or demanded anything from him . its usually better to cut off needy people from your life

  8. Simsi

    February 19, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I agree with dr.N. You have money o. Is it me that’s struggling to get by that’ll give someone 2k, then 4k then buy new tires. I can manage and buy drink for you but I can’t give someone my hard earned money. Nowadays, I only lend people money that I can leave with them. Cos some people will insult you ontop your own money. I just feel, do your own part and wait for God to reward you

  9. Letter to my naija babe

    February 19, 2015 at 10:05 am

    1.. You all should please agree with me that at one point in our lives, we all may be victims and may need assistance -financially, employment wise, health wise, car fault, or be stranded and need assistance.

    2. Rendering assistance to anyone shouldn’t be by compulsion. If it comes from your heart, please do it, and vice versa. If an individual is in need and you are able/capable of assisting, why not? please go ahead.

    3. Assistance shouldn’t be tied to anything. If you wanna assist, assist because the person genuinely needs assistance and because you can, not because you want something from the person
    a. Shouldn’t be tied to the fact that i am expecting some favour in return
    b. shouldnt be tied to the fact that this may be a potential husband, let me be good to him so he can marry me

    Gelradine, except you want to tell the story to the gods, you were already charmed by the guy and that is why you gave him the 2k for fuel. You said up there that in 3ominutes, you people felt no longer like strangers and your description of the guy showed that you were already in for him. The question is did the guy need it at that moment or not?
    a. You said there was fuel scarcity
    b. You were stranded yourself and he helped you
    c. Found a filling station and had to buy
    d. Bought in your presence and didnt keep the money or use for something else

    4 Guys assist a lady a 1001 times and you hear it from no one. They give lifts, assist in clothing, phones, jewelries, bills, house rents, jobs e.t.c and you dont find them lamenting over it. The ones that want to sleep with you for that assistance they are rendering will tell you straight up and the ones who are doing from their heart will do without asking for nada. I assist in different forms, give lifts once in a while to a stranded lady (and guys) and no matter how pretty she is, will not even exchange numbers, not to even talk of maybe i need something from her.

    5. Ladies need to stop feeling bad for giving a guy something/assisting him and because nothing good came out of the expected relationship. Many years ago, witnessed a lady that helped a guy in university days and when it was obvious the guy wasnt going to date her, she asked openly that the guy return all she had given him from day one.(they were just friends, in the same group and not dating mind you. Lady was in the early 30s then)

    6. It is no news that many ladies have vowed to never allow their money get to any guy. No matter how much the guy is in dire need, many would never do.Even to buy him a gift, no matter how small, never. They would never do except the guy has proposed to them or married them. If a man can assist you without dating you or being married to you, why is it difficult to assist a guy in dire need who isnt dating you or married to you?

    Finally,
    Do i need to say this again? Never expect too much from a guy you just met. Men come into our lives for different reasons. Seems to me ladies assume too much (he may be the one i have been waiting for) If he hasn’t asked you out officially, you people are “just friends, nothing more”

    Anything you do for him, you are doing for a friend who needs assistance and it is solely because it came from your heart and you are in a position to help

    If you want to be nice, do it from your heart and dont expect anything in return. If you dont want to, simply decline and say no. To come back and do kiss and tell or start crying cos you helped someone, i tell you (In biblical words) You have already received your reward

    Lets stop the pity party, please!

    • Geraldine Ogwe

      February 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      I was not charmed by the guy. I like to appreciate those who are nice to me. If you buy me “chewing gum”, the next time I see you, I will buy you “sweet”. I thought I was being nice to someone who was nice to me. I have already forgotten this issue but Jane my friend’s ordeal made me wonder if it is a crime to be nice. Hers happened recently. Again, what if I didn’t join the guy or what if I didn’t have money? He would still have bought the fuel, right?

  10. bbg

    February 19, 2015 at 10:10 am

    This is the question I always ask myself when someone I have done something for or been nice too throws it in my face, “baby girl are you being nice because that’s you or because you want to be paid back?” We’ve all heard horror stories of this one doing this or that for one person or the other and being taken for a ride.
    Don’t let stupid con artists stop you from being you and receiving the blessing that are made for you. Don’t let them stop you from blessing the people you are meant to bless because you have “learnt your lesson”. if you’re a giver, give (but not to your detriment) and if you’re a helper continue to help(but be wise to know when they have started to take advantage of you)
    I’ll leave it here because if I start on the topic of men and women and their ingratitude to their partners who have sacrificed for them, hmmmm i no go finish oh

  11. lovin moi

    February 19, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Nne!!! Hmmm,hold your ears while we advise u,pls remember all Dr N said and pls go and read why men love bitches,u’ll be so glad u did,if you start being so nice to MEN,U’ll end up a doormat even with your husband,u need to get street smart and stop giving out your hard earned cash like that abi u no wan get property for this your life?(pls start reading Arese’s write up) and have a budget for your money,dont ever start what u cannot finish else when u get married your wealthy husband will be so glad to dump all the household expenses on u!!(speaking from experience).

  12. Mz Socially Awkward...

    February 19, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Geraldine, nwa nne m! E were ego, oh!! See how you are “shiarin” 4K and 100K, dem dem…. 🙂 I never nice reach, my sister but good for you for doing it from a heart of compassion for the undeserving sponger.

    (…as an aside, please ladies, what’s this “Why Men Love Bitches” book that seems to be trending? Need to improve on my Amazon game)

    And honestly, ehn, those spongers… during my postgraduate year, I had a platonic male friend (actually, it was platonic on my end because he clearly liked me but I kept things honest from the jump by letting him know there would be no romantic going-ons between us) and out of the goodness of my heart, my love of cooking and my empathy at the evident sufferings of a man who couldn’t find his way around a kitchen, I would always ask him over for lunch or dinner or even put some food in a bowl to meet him at the library with.

    And then one day, long after we both graduated and started working, he harassed me for “shirking my duties” lately because I haven’t been inviting him over to eat anymore. Nne, that’s when I took a long hard look at my generosity and reviewed it. This boy, in our (then) over 1 year of acquaintance had NEVER even offered to reciprocate my cooking of different soups and stews with anything as basic as a trip to Burger King and yet, he believed he had unfettered rights to my kitchen? I said to myself, “Don’t blame him, nne, maybe he thought you were cooking your way into his heart” and that was the end of that aspect of our friendship. To show there weren’t any hard feelings, I actually cooked for his wife (he evidently moved on) when she was pregnant, just because I have enough compassion for my sisters who may struggle during that season of their lives but I learnt a valuable lesson from him about how some men perceive female generosity. And his case was not the only one I’ve experienced.

    Generally speaking, I agree that there is a certain jadedness in our society which makes us suspect people who are “too nice” of having an agenda. I work with a very, very, very nice oyibo chick girl. Elaine is the sunniest human being that I have ever met, hands down. Even if you enter a room and pointedly ignore her, she’ll still call out a cheery hello from her little corner. She used to work in ASDA when she was in Uni and told us that the supermarket did everything possible to get her to stay back after she graduated because all the customers loved her. Elaine is a real sweetheart but when she joined the company at first, some other babes confessed to me that they were sure she was going to be a secret bitch. She was so nice that they couldn’t believe it was genuine but we’ve subsequently found out that it’s all very real and, yes, people have taken advantage of her (plenty mean people dey this office, sha). However, I love Elaine because all of those negative experiences don’t cloud her happiness and they haven’t changed who she is and she’s now become my yardstick for the days at work when I want to bring out the bitch in me.

    Can’t promise I’ll ever evolve into the bright, chirpy ray of sunshine that Elaine represents to us all but it’s refreshing to know that such an outlook on life is possible. 🙂 AND, she’s single and searching! Pretty, lovely, booby-licious (truly, her double DDs are impressive), fun babe and we can’t wrap our heads around why bobo no dey show… in fact ehn, na true wey that commenter on top me talk – men must really love bitches.

    • Geraldine Ogwe

      February 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Ms SA, I saw Susan Peters holding the book in her bath tub pic. It looks like an interesting book. I have a feeling it will be similar to Think Like a Man….
      In Uni days, my classmate(a man), told me he hated his female neighbor who was not nice. I asked him if she played loud music, refused to pay bills etc. He said no. He hated her because she never shared her meals with the male neighbours who obviously couldn’t cook. I laughed and checked his body temperature to confirm if he was having celebral malaria. His previous neighbor was the come and eat type. I asked him if he at least gave her money once in a while for the meals. He said no, that the babe was an aristo babe and so didn’t need the money. Why not savour the niceness? Why tell me the aristo nature of the babe? Did the aristo give his babe money to cook for the neighbours?

    • TA

      February 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      * In madam Kofo’s voice* ‘Babey, you mean to tell me say you never read the book ‘Why men love bitches?Nne maka why? Bae you dey slack o. I don’t necessarily agree with all the points in the book but a hilarious and nice read. Abeg run go find am biko.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      February 19, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      Sisters Geraldine and TA, my first awareness of it was when I also spotted our Sister Susan attempting to shield her modesty with it, in that other post… ahem.

      However, one thing has been a constant revelation for women from time immemorial – if you like, you can choose to be as warm as Elaine in my story or you can be as bitchy and disagreeable as (fill in the blanks)… at the end of the day, it’s pointless to focus on that as your “selling point” for attracting male attention because the rules don’t fit every man’s choice. We need to stop making authors like Steve Harvey richer from these how-to-keep-a-man books aimed at women…

      @ Geraldine, *deep sigh* at your ex-classmate’s sense of entitlement to the gains of Aristo “night work”.

    • Sisi

      February 19, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Girl just download the free pdf copy online, I just did 🙂

  13. Pamela

    February 19, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Have you ever regretted being too nice to a person? It has always been a problem i will like to get a solution for. I have that issue every time with people and i feel bad I’m too nice.

  14. Alem

    February 19, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Like most have observed, what you did Geraldine pass being nice totally. However, I do agree that it doesn’t pay to be nice. I used to be very nice. So many people took advantage of me based on that. Infact an ex actually told me he broke up with me because ‘I am too nice’ huh??? That was very new to me mehn. So I decided to be the opposite and guess what it worked better for me. ‘Sign!’ we humans sha know how to take people for granted.

    • puzzles

      February 19, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      alem, I feel u o. a friend who I felt was interested in me told me he couldn’t ask me out because of the same reason. as if we are supposed to be nasty people to get a man these days.

  15. o

    February 19, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    There’s a thin line between being too nice and being stupid o, in some cases sha…. And yes, i have regretted being too nice that i even felt stupid and was angry at myself.

  16. Rynyx

    February 19, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Have I regretted being nice to people? several times. even as I type this, my house keeper had to travel to take her sick sister back home so her family members could look after her while she concentrated on her job in my house. she was due back on Tuesday but is yet to show up. my sister calls her and she says its harvesting season for cassava. no courtesy to even call me till now. does that mean I will be wicked to the next one? no way. I cannot change who I am for a bunch of ungrateful people, karma will take its full course.
    I have had countless bad experiences but hey, its their loss not mine. is it at work? u help someone out with something and tomorrow you see it on your desk like its part of my job description. the inherent nature of man to feel smart when they use someone is why nice people become wicked. somebody does something nice for you and in your mind, you have found a mugu, simply because you are not capable of any nice thing in your life, really sad.

  17. O'tunshe

    February 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    am nice but i always check so i wont be taken for granted.And please stop giving people more than they deserve.cos mostly the people we would gladly die for are poeple who in actual sense cannot fast for our sake.

    • Alem

      February 19, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      LOL @the people we would gladly die for are people who in actual sense cannot fast for our sake. Very true though

  18. Miss Stupidly nice

    February 19, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I can totally relate with the writer. I am filled with shame everytime I remember my own stupidly nice experience. Less than a month after I began seeing one opportunist, he said he needed a loan of N500k to complete payment for his car. I decided to ‘dash’ him 100k instead, and offered to pay for the car insurance, which was another 90k.(I dunno if I was jazzed). He never even took me in a ride in the car before we broke up about 6 months into the relationship. He concluded I was too good for him.
    My conclusion: I have learnt my lessons and moved on. I’m supposed to be a helper and not the provider. I am not materialistic but my man should be able to hold his own financially. And whether it is the opposite sex or otherwise, I will be nice ‘with sense’, but I cant let bad people change who I am. If you are nice, you’re nice. You just need to wisdom to go with the ‘niceness’.

  19. Enn!

    February 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    No offense o but the girl in the first case was not wise at all at all(putting it mildly)….being nice without wisdom can get u into a lot of serious trouble.

  20. o mase o

    February 19, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Na so we see am bt av learnt ooo,i try to balance btw my niceness nd ma strictness,na so o,in skul,my mom brot food for me nd dts wen ma roomate knew she was hungry,i told her dt,dts shop dere,buy wat u want,wen I told ma mom,she was like i dnt like d fact dt u diint help her nd I said”if u turn urslf to sugar,pple will lick u finish”….roomate askd for rice on friday,i dint give her,on saturday,i invited her myself to eat indomie,dts aw it goes ooo…make God help us

  21. sisi l

    February 19, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Lool
    My ex boyfriend made me pay for everything he ever gave me
    There was this time, he traveled 75km to see me with 2 crates of eggs.
    How can a boyfriend bring suchX_X
    Of cos I paid for the eggs by buying him lunch nd giving him money to fuel his car back
    Stupid undergraduate I call d woman of my early twenties

    • Sisi

      February 19, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      I’m so sorry I just had to LOL at your comment, the 2 crates of eggs bit just got me

  22. imose

    February 20, 2015 at 4:01 am

    [email protected] must really love bi***es!!
    Men men men…still can’t tell why they do the things they do. As for being nice…as long as it makes you happy do it! Sometimes the ones we don’t expect nothing from show us soo much gratitude.
    Whereas the ones you’re doing all for care less!
    @Geralldine the nicest girl ever doh!! 😀

  23. Tee

    February 20, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    How to know if you’re being too nice (unnecessarily so)? When you consider how your good deed affects you and you are always more inconvenienced than you’re comfortable with…in which case you need to politely speak up or stand up or stand out but don’t wallow in the emotional quandry that your oversabi kindness has gotten you into. Trust me, I would know plus the Bible especially in the Book of Ecclesiastics preaches against adopting character extremes. All that flourishes in life has and maintains a healthy balance.

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