Doing conflict and being nice are not mutually exclusive. Instead of “either/or,” think “both/and.” It is possible, in other words, to confront disagreements, speak your mind effectively, and still be a reasonable, pleasant person.
One of the most frequently voiced concerns I hear from my women coaching clients and seminar participants is that speaking up will make you seem “not nice.” Now, I know that many women have been taught, from earliest years, that it’s more important to be nice than be heard, understood and assertive. While I have some real quibbles with the notion that women are expected to be “nice girls,” in this post I’m more interested in the confounding belief that you can’t be nice and raise your concerns at the same time.
Of course you can. You can be pleasant and agreeable without being agreeing. The keys are confronting conflict with a little grace, using assertiveness effectively, and engaging in real dialogue about the problem. All of these are not only learnable skills, but consider this: In some ways, truly engaging the important conflicts in your life is the ultimate act of being nice.