Are you really entering your ‘villain era’, or are you just setting healthy boundaries?

A new trend on TikTok sees women reject the pressure to be ‘nice’ 24/7 and set healthy boundaries. But why is this shift being referred to as a ‘villain era’?

While we all want to take care of our friends and family, there’s such a thing as being ‘too nice’. 

It’s OK to put other people’s needs before your own every once in a while, but doing so repeatedly – and going so far as to sacrifice your own needs and desires as a result – can really take its toll on your mental health and wellbeing.

If you’re a self-confessed ‘people pleaser’, you’ll know what we’re talking about. There’s a difference between being a good friend and wanting to be seen as ‘nice’ 24/7, and the effort that goes into satisfying the needs of others can leave you feeling emotionally drained.  

However, as conversation about the importance of setting boundaries and taking care of ourselves continues, more and more people pleasers are beginning to try and unpick this damaging impulse – and that’s where TikTok’s ‘villain era’ trend comes in.

The trend, which has emerged on the platform over the last couple of weeks, sees women celebrate the rejection of ‘niceness’ in favour of setting boundaries, expressing your needs and generally looking out for yourself.

As the one of the trend’s most viral videos, from TikTok user @padzdey, puts it: “You’re probably unknowingly entering your ‘villain era’ right now; I think for a lot of us chronic people pleasers our villain era is literally just us asserting our boundaries – you know, expressing and really communicating our needs and prioritising ourselves, often for the first time.”

The video continues: “And I think what unfortunately happens is that when you’re a people pleaser, that isn’t often well received by the people around you because it is such a drastic change in your behaviour. And folks around you might start to feel like they aren’t getting the same you that they used to get out of the relationship and as though their needs aren’t being met.

“I think some people will understand and really be happy for you that you’re doing this for yourself. But sometimes it’s – and I don’t think it’s rooted in maliciousness – I do think that sometimes a lot of fallouts can happen because of this, because suddenly now there’s like a disconnect, right. What someone may be used to, they’re not receiving anymore, and then comes in being perceived as a villain.”

However, while the trend is giving women space to celebrate this shift in approach, the way it’s being framed highlights the pressure women face to behave in a certain way. 

Indeed, as @padzdey explains in her video, rejecting the idea that you need to please people all the time doesn’t make you a villain – in fact, it’s essential for your wellbeing.  

In this way, it’s important to acknowledge that, while the term ‘villain era’ may be apt when you take into account other people’s reactions to this shift in behaviour, it’s nothing to do with the behaviour of the women embracing this change.

You have every right to look out for yourself and set boundaries in your relationships – and doing so doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ or ‘villainous’ person in any shape or form.

Image: Getty

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