Most of us have heard of the age-old phrase 'nice guys finish last'. It is a popular statement that is typically used to imply that being ‘too good’ can rob you of opportunities.
We have seen it play out in popular movies, like the Hollywood production, Mean Girls.
In the 2004 teenage comedy, it is clear from the start of the story that the ‘mean girls’, humorously called ‘the plastics’ on the film get away with whatever they want.
They flirt their way out of paying bills and control their entire high school using their good looks, charm and strategic meanness.
Led by actress Rachel McAdams, who spectacularly played the role of queen bee Regina George, the girls rule their school and are considered elite; basically untouchable.
Perhaps you have worked hard for years without a promotion, or been so good to the guys you date yet been left in the dust eventually.
It can be brutal, scarring and traumatising, turning the once good girls, bad - just like the reference on the title of pop superstar Rihanna’s 2007 album, Good Girl Gone Bad.
Entertainment website, Udiscover reviewed the Grammy-winning album as delivery of some of Rihanna’s truest RnB moments, one that marked her evolution to the edgy, trendsetting star we know today.
“The night before the album’s cover shoot, the singer defiantly chopped off her hair, and later debuted her new rebellious look in the music video for Umbrella. It matched the attitude of the song, which was dosed in arena-rock guitars and bass, as well as the undeniable “ella, ella, ay, ay” hook,” the website noted.
But do the good, gentle girls have to swap their 'niceness' for a little sterner look in order to get ahead in life?
Elite Magazine suggests that good girls lose out in the dating game. The publication writes that indeed, they need to employ the tough mean girl measures in order to eventually get the guys and the love lives they want.
“Nice girls finish last because they are not upfront with what they want. Women often do not get what they want and deserve because they do not ask for it. In the dating world, this means that we are not putting our desires out there,” the magazine writes, referencing research from the Harvard Business Review.
It is not just in matters of love only - nice girls tend to face more obstacles, finishing last in the office as well, another sign that it is time to get tough and bold.
A 2018 study by the Sydney Morning Herald insists on this.
“This can have serious consequences for women. If they are disproportionately saddled with work that has little visibility or impact, it will take them much longer to advance in their careers. Partly, it is our ‘nice-girl’ socialisation. We have been raised to be compliant, people-pleasing and self-sacrificing,” says the study.
American lifestyle blog Calm Moment advises the way to ditch the good girl persona and become more assertive starts with being mindful about where you give your time, attention and effort.
“If you are saying yes because you genuinely want to help, then that is great – go for it. But if it is about being liked by a certain person, or to be seen in a certain way, think beyond the immediate gratification of saying yes and consider what the true consequences are – and whether they are worth it in the long run,” the blog writes