To The "Nice Guys" - Say "Yes, Less"

You always the call to be the driver and helper, but do your calls get answered in return?

You always the call to be the driver and helper, but do your calls get answered in return?

We’ve all heard the saying, haven’t we? Who pops into your head when you read the saying “nice guys finish last”? Is it your spouse? Your friend? Your family member? Or maybe it’s you?

If you’re a nice guy, you’re a giver. You often put others before yourself, offer to do favours, pick up and drop off your friends, pay for people’s stuff, being generous with your time. You’re a doer, you show your love through acts of service and people know you for this. They will say “you’re such a nice guy, you don’t have to do that” and that’s just nice and dandy isn’t it? 

But at the same time, you are placing yourself last in those areas because while you say yes to something, you are saying no to something simultaneously.

Are you someone's unpaid taxi driver?

Are you someone's unpaid taxi driver?

We really need to examine if our friendships are mutualistic. Maybe it’s because you haven’t asked them for a favour yourself, or they are too busy and being a nice guy you understand that. But you always find the time and find a way to help others, don’t you? What this does is leaves you deprived and eventually emotionally bankrupt. 

It leaves you somedays feeling like you have given everything to the world and it leaves you wondering if its worth it or not? (Being nice)

If you are a nice guy who finishes last, these descriptions should confirm it:

  • You place others expectations over your own
  • You often cancel pre-planned things you’ve made for yourself if people ask you (this could mean saying no to your health, routine and progress)
  • You struggle to say no even if you don’t want to do something for someone else
  • You think that saying “no” means rejecting the person and you fear not being that person
  • People’s feelings matter more than your own

Nice guys finish last because they put themselves last.

I would encourage you to watch my video on “weak boundaries” 

Being a nice guy doesn’t mean you have to finish last. Being a nice guy sometimes means you have to say yes, less. Because a nice guy without wisdom is a pushover. Wisdom would say that responding with “yes” all the time is not always the nicest thing to say. You don’t give people what they want just because they want it. Those who live an unexamined life will live a miserable life. 


Use your reason, ask yourself some questions:

-Why are they asking me to do this?
-Is this something they ought to do and not me?
-How can I be helpful without taking on their responsibility?
-Is this my responsibility or theirs? 
-Will this mean cancelling something in my commitments that I just cannot do?

If you struggle to say no, there are many ways to rephrase that so that you don’t make them feel like you're intentionally rejecting them. Remember, you cannot be in all places at once and we have to chose our order of importance. If you say yes to someone’s request, what and who are you saying no to? Is it to your kids? Is it to your wellbeing and family? Is it to your “me” time? 

Some phrases that may help you with saying “no” to people are:

  • That sounds really great and I’d really like to help but I can’t because I have prior promises to keep today
  • Thanks for asking me it sounds amazing. Maybe another time, I’m flat out today
  • I’d really like to help but I’ve been saying yes to too many things lately and It’s left me very overwhelmed. So as a general rule I’m saying no to things that are out of my routine until I get back on my feet
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About Matt:
Matt is a life coach, businessman and Matt Purcell is one Australia’s leading life coaches, presenters, a successful businessman and an accomplished musician and song-writer. His reaches close to 100,000 people annually through his seminars, business and events and has appeared on national television, regularly speaking at conferences and performing at concerts. He has been nominated as Australian Of The Year.