When we think of a “good girl,” the idea of a calm, well-mannered, loyal, and obedient girl who does everything to make others happy comes to mind. These are the characteristics of someone who suffers from “good girl syndrome.” It may seem harmless, but it can affect a woman’s self-esteem and confidence level over time. Read on to learn the signs of good girl syndrome and how it can affect your mental health.
gGood girl syndrome is not a recognized disorder or diagnosis. But it refers to a woman who internalizes stereotypical social and cultural behaviors regarding how she “should” act, says Ritika Aggarwal, Consultant Psychologist, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai. That is, the woman may believe that if she does not behave in the expected way, she will not be loved.
Signs of good girl syndrome
Women with good girl syndrome are always kind and go out of their way to avoid conflict. Here are some signs:
1. People-pleasing behavior
This type of woman generally tends to please, seek external validation, or try to be perfect at all times, the expert explains. They tend to put the needs of others first.
They constantly go out of their way to make others happy while neglecting or subverting their own self-care, desires, or goals in life.
3. Difficulty saying no
They have trouble saying no even if they don’t like something or feel uncomfortable, and they are too compliant for fear of rejection.
4. Difficulty expressing opinions
They have difficulty expressing their own opinions or emotions for fear of judgment or criticism from others. Sometimes they have difficulty expressing themselves for fear of hurting someone else, Aggarwal said.
Select the topics that interest you and let us personalize your feed.
5. Fear of disappointing others
They not only fear receiving disapproval from people around them, but they are also afraid of disappointing others.
6. Feel responsible for everything
Whether positive or negative, taking responsibility for your own actions is a good thing. But feeling responsible for everything and taking on other people’s burdens in order to please them just isn’t right.
7. No boundaries
Women with “good girl syndrome” have difficulty setting and enforcing their limits, explains the expert.
8. Need to excel
They always feel the need to be the best and perfect in everything they do. So they are more likely to obey the rules.
How Good Girl Syndrome Affects Mental Health
When taken to an extreme, this behavior can impact a person’s physical and mental health as well as their personal, social, and professional relationships. This affects a woman’s self-esteem and confidence level, which can make her lose confidence and appear indecisive, the expert says. A constant need to be perfect can lead to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. In relationships, they may tend to become a passive follower rather than a leader for fear of being criticized or called aggressive. This could lead to frustration, unhappiness, burnout, and feelings of dissatisfaction and resentment. It could also affect their chances of promotion or how they are perceived in the workplace.
Tips to Stop Being a “Good Girl” All the Time
Everyone has a different opinion, so you don’t always have to agree with the person in front of you to be considered a “good” person. Besides learning to have your own voice, here’s what you can do:
• Start by learning that it’s okay to put yourself first and that you need to learn to love yourself first.
• Initiate a journey of self-discovery
• Identify your strengths, passions, values and goals, and let them guide you
• Start trusting your instincts
• Embrace imperfections and celebrate your uniqueness.
• Practice positive self-talk and compassion.
• Don’t let yourself be limited by what society expects of you
• Set clear boundaries and stick to them for yourself.
If you need professional help, don’t be ashamed. All you need to do is contact a psychologist who will be able to guide you well.