How to Deal with Fake Nice People

When she smiles at you, but her eyes tell a different story.
When she walks by and says hey, but her body language is frosty.
When she makes that teeny, tiny dig at you with her sweet as pie tone.

I’m talking about fake nice people.

Within the last week alone, I have had several women in my life reach out about tough situations they have encountered with others.

It’s like a new wave of mean girls have emerged, but worse in a way, because they are masked in their nice girl exterior.

I think most people who have been the target of some fake-nicery, would agree that these people are not bad people. Many of these women are typically great to be around. So, what gives? What is up with the fake-niceness? 

For starters, I think we all struggle with confrontation from time to time (myself included). But when efforts to avoid it and positive intentions to brush it under the rug backfire, true feelings buried away start to burst at the seams. Maybe deep down, there are hurt feelings somewhere, or feelings of frustration and fear. Either way, there IS something brewing inside and for some people, it shows up in the form of fake niceness.

So, how do you deal when you are the target?

I always like to think about my choices (because, yes, we certainly have them!) What choices do you have in the situation? The most transparent choice that pops up in my mind when dealing with fake nice behavior is simply to ignore it. While I think this option can be the most effective in certain situations, it all depends on the relationship. If we are talking about someone you have very limited contact with, then this seems like a viable option. However, if you work closely with the person, or if the person is a friend or family member who you interact with frequently, then I think you may need to consider option 2, which is to care to confront.

When I think of caring to confront, it means getting in touch with the part of you that really wants to problem solve and make the situation better. When you deal with fake niceness, you might feel trapped in a way because if others are present, it might seem to them like everything is just fine—and this is certainly the message someone who is being fake nice wants to portray. But you feel the tension, or the sting of their body language or undertones telling you how they really feel. It is frustrating because you care about this relationship. You can’t get it out of your mind because you know you do not want to continue feeling the disconnect or discomfort. Do not go to option 2 if you are in the heat of the moment. (Learn how to create some pause by checking out a post I wrote previously here). After you digest what has happened and how you are feeling, you can address the situation later.

When you are ready to address the situation, I recommend using DEAR MAN[1]. It is an acronym in DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, that goes a little something like this:

Describe: Describe the situation to the person, while sticking to facts only
Express: Express your feelings and opinions about the situation
Assert: Assert what you want or are saying no to
Reinforce: Reinforce the positive effects of getting what you want or need

(Stay) Mindful: Keep your focus, do not get lost in the other person’s comments
Appear Confident: Stand your ground, keep your voice steady, and make eye contact
Negotiate: Work with the other person to meet at common ground; be willing to give some

The idea here is to state the facts, share your feelings, assert what you want, and be willing to completely hear the other person out. Here is a quick example:

“Hey Corinne, can we chat? [DESCRIBE] You know when we were having lunch the other day? I was talking about taking a trip with my husband this winter and when I glanced at you, I saw that you made a look over at Tina. [EXPRESS] I am worried that maybe I said something that might have rubbed you the wrong way. [ASSERT] I want to be sure that we are all good [REINFORCE] so our friendship can keep feeling awesome.”

Sometimes other people, even the fake nice ones, need us to show them how their words or actions are impacting us. Let’s not be afraid to confront the people we care about. I think the key thing to remember is that we have choices. When someone hurts us with their words or behavior towards us, we can look at it and go, “what is really bothering me here?” and “how can I help myself in this situation?” Sometimes the best option is to keep the peace through letting it go, and sometimes the best option is to keep the peace by caring to confront.  Notice the similarity in both scenarios? Both are rooted in keeping the peace. You can’t go wrong either way with an intention like that. 


[1] From DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan

My Top 10 Activities to Combine with Rest

Dance and laughter. Laughter and dance.

There were 6 of us. The party was technically over. And yet, the most incredible dance party ensued. 

All the woes, all the worries, all the life stuff, gone in those few moments. It is amazing how laughter and dance work together to mend what needs mending within us.

What I'm learning is that my body needs breaks. It needs to rest and recharge. But it also needs moments to let go and unravel by having fun. The combination of down-time and activities that energize create the perfect recipe for feeling renewed and refreshed. 

This week, I challenge you to find your winning combo.  What activities bring out your spirited self and help you let go of what weighs heavily on you? Give yourself a break, even if you would rather not.

Combine rest with something you know will bring out the laughs. And just because, here are some ideas that might help you get started.

1. Check out a comedy show- either in person, or online, like this incredibly hilarious comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
2. Drop in to free salsa night.
3. Get together with a friend who doesn't take herself too seriously.
4. If you have a toddler in your life, spend some time with him or her today. 
5. Play with a cat or puppy.
6. Watch a movie from the 80s or 90s. Some of my favorites: Drop Dead Fred, Groundhog Day, Curly Sue.
7. Ask an older relative to share stories from her past with you.
8. Go through childhood photos.
9. Watch videos of babies laughing. This one is my all-time favorite.
10. Turn on some your favorite old-school jams while making dinner tonight. Bonus points for turning up the volume, and extra bonus points if you sing loudly and unapologetically. [Cue that sexy 90's R&B.]

My Favorite Journaling Exercise to Push Past Fear

A few weeks back, I started a collection of thoughts called the SheSeries. My intention behind it is to inspire and lift, push and encourage, and nudge you to go after the life you envision.
 
Fear can hold us back if we let it. Doubts of how to make what we want work, whether we are good enough, or the idea that we might fall can and will zap the light out of any dream.
 
The SheSeries is my reminder to you, and to myself, to get out there and not let fear get in the way. We have one chance at all this. That very thought lights the fire in me to jump, to fly, and to go after what I want. It is my hope that my words might do the same for you.
 
So my challenge to you today is stop what you are doing after reading this post.

Grab a coffee if you do not already have one. (Fuel!)
 
Take 5 minutes and write your answers to the following questions. Go on and grab a pretty pen and notebook.

Let your thoughts free-flow and just write. Then, go back to what you were doing prior and let it sink in as you do your day.
 
Some added food for thought: If you decided to live your life less out of fear, and more from a place of self-love, worthiness, and faith in yourself that you’ve got this, what would your SheSeries look like?

The Real Reason You Need a Morning Routine

It’s easy to go through the motions. I get it. I used to go through them quite rapidly myself, zombie-like (literally, from waking up at 5am daily) and moving from task to task, only to end the day completely tired and wiped out.

Shifting from this place of constant movement meant one thing—slowing down.

It was not easy at first. Initially, I would have told you that I had zero moments of time that were purely mine at work. I was a 5th grade teacher, and any educator can tell you that time solo is not really part of our vocabulary! However, when I sat back and really thought about how I was spending my time, I realized that I could free up some moments just for myself. 

I started small. I looked for the little pockets of time that were purely mine and I decided to use them intentionally. My plan? When I got to work, I made sure I closed my door, and set aside 5-10 minutes of quiet time by myself, uninterrupted, so that I could take a few mindful moments to appreciate my life, set some intentions for the day, and get in the right headspace not only for me, but for my students and colleagues too. For a while, I felt anti-social during those 5 minutes with my door closed. But you know what? After getting in the habit of practicing my new morning routine, I started to notice how much more at peace I felt despite the constant moving parts of my day. 

This is where the real power of a morning routine lays. It creates a space of calm. It brings our internal state to neutral, and allows our energy to shift to positive. 

There is a reason for creating the routine in the morning, too. We want to make sure we are starting our day with a habit that sets us up for success. When we do that thing, it reminds us of how we want to take care of our minds and bodies. We set ourselves up to make choices that align with self-care since we started our day lovingly and peacefully. 

Think about what happens when you stop tending to something. If you stop cleaning your house, dust will collect over time. If you stop adding wood to a campfire, it will eventually stop burning. The same is true when we are creating new habits and routines for ourselves—in order to keep them going, we have to be in a constant state of tending, otherwise they will fall apart. Choosing a regular time in the morning that you can commit to each day to get in the right headspace will help you remain in a constant state of tending. This is how all routines are built, and specifically, why morning routines are so critical.

You want to be a self-tending machine. You have to constantly work at it, and working at it means prioritizing it, no matter the hot mess, lack of time, or constant shuffle that is your life.

How to Start a Mindfulness Practice Now

Last weekend I was with my husband traveling to Portland. As the airplane was about to take off, I felt a moment of panic. I took a deep breath and grabbed my husband’s hand. I noticed the way it felt in mine, I noticed my feet on the floor and I noticed the sensation of the airplane’s wheels beneath us as they rolled and sped up. I looked out the window and noticed the buildings, the road, and the sky. I had a moment of pure noticing exactly what is, and realized that I was safe.

Mindfulness. 

I remember when I was first learning the tools and techniques for a more peaceful me, it felt foreign trying to explain to others what exactly it was—this thing called Mindfulness. Now, google the word and see how many articles and blogs pop up on it! 

This past week a client asked about it. “What’s that thing everyone is talking about? It’s like meditating. Do you think that will help me?” Oh, how mindfulness can and will help you, love.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation, and it’s my preferred way to get into the right headspace. Whether I’m feeling happy, sad, fearful, anxious, or simply going about my day doing ordinary, mundane things, it is the daily practice of presence that grounds me in my life. I know people who happily plop themselves pillows and meditate the good old way most of us probably envision, but the good news is that mindfulness can become a daily practice that is engrained in you as you go about your day, no pillow needed.

It all starts with noticing, with neutral awareness, what you are doing and when you are doing it as you hone in on your senses.

When you are walking outside on a crisp, fall day, you can notice the colorful leaves as they sway and veer slowly to the ground.

The next time you are putting lotion on your hands, notice how it gradually goes from cool to warm as you gently massage it into your skin.

When you are talking to a friend, be truly present in the conversation, noticing and hearing all that she is telling you.

As you are enjoying your morning coffee, pay attention to the warmth of the mug as you hold it in your hands and the way the coffee tastes as you drink it, sip by sip.

These moments are all just tiny examples of mindfulness meditation—a daily practice of intentional presence in your life.

The bonus for living a mindful life? Inner calm and peace, girlfriend. When you get in the habit of noticing, you are really flexing your mind muscle and staying in a place of constant gratitude for exactly what is in your life.