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GTSS = Goody Two-Shoes Syndrome

Part 2 of the Here We Are series, Live Your Life Out Loud

Ruby slipper shoes
Are you the "good girl" who always follows the rules? Do you try to keep things moving along without confrontation? Many women in our society suffer from a chronic case of GTSS, also known as Goody Two-Shoes Syndrome. It may be tough to overcome this deeply ingrained plague on your personality, but it's not impossible.

The Live Your Life Out Loud series is here to help. This article is all about identifying the elements of being a Goody Two-Shoes. To find out if you have it, answer "yes" or "no" to the HWA non-scientific GTSS quiz. Be honest and note your answers - remember, no one is watching!

Take the Goody Two-Shoes Syndrome Quiz:

➊ Do you worry about what others think?

➋ Are you afraid to piss people off because they may not like you?

➌ Do you find yourself agreeing to things that you don't want to do?

➍ Do you find yourself agreeing to attend events you are not interested in?

➎ Do you always go "above and beyond" the call of duty?

➏ Do you avoid face to face confrontation at all cost? (This is different from #2)

➐ Do you always try to follow the rules?

➑ Do you find yourself wanting to change the discussion, but refrain from speaking up?

➒ Are you worried about your "permanent" record?

➓ Is the word "should" weighing you down with obligations?

Diagnosis A: If you answered "no" to all: Wow! You go girl! You are Living Your Life Out Loud with pure "caution be damned" gusto!

  • Prescription A: Keep it up and share with other women who need a little help overcoming GTSS.

Diagnosis B: If you answered "yes" to three or fewer questions: you have a mild case of GTSS. Not too shabby girlfriend!

  • Prescription B: Focus on each of the scenarios to which you responded "yes." Make a decision to answer with a firm "no" or take the active position the next time the situation arises, i.e., speaking up when there is a verbal bully at a dinner table.

Diagnosis C: If you answered "yes" to five or fewer: you have a compounding case of GTSS.

  • Prescription C: Time to analyze why, and most importantly, recognize the situations as they are occurring. Then you can say "no" at the time the circumstance presents itself. Curing GTSS requires immediate attention and practice, practice, practice. Pick the one that happens most frequently and change your response. You are halfway there, stay the course. NOTE: Others may not like your new response, but tough nuts on them. It's time to think about yourself for a change.

Diagnosis D: If you answered "yes" to six or more: Ouch! You have a severe case of GTSS.

  • Prescription D: Don't worry, this is a process and you already took the first step by taking the quiz, answering honestly, and evaluating yourself. Start today by implementing the prescriptions for B & C (above). Pick one scenario that repeatedly plagues you and attack it until you are in control. For instance, the next time someone expects your time at an event or gathering that you do not want to attend, say no immediately and be done with it. This sounds easy, but some people find it hard to say "no" to anything. The biggest challenge to a severe case of GTSS is feeling overwhelmed. That is why the "one symptom of GTSS at a time" approach will yield noticeable improvement. This work takes commitment and time, but will be well worth the effort. When you are cured of GTSS, you'll be on your way to Living Your Life Out Loud and loving every minute of it!

As we continue the HWA Live Your Life Out Loud series, we will be addressing many of the issues that contribute to GTSS. Hang in there, and remember to take care of yourself, use the word "no" when you really want to...and if you miss the chance, another scenario will show up shortly for you to practice on.

After you take the quiz and determine your level of GTSS, please comment and tell us the hardest symptoms of GTSS for you to overcome. If you've overcome one or more, tell us how you did it. Sharing makes it easy for the next person because it helps them to know they are not alone. 

We hope you enjoyed this content brought to you by Better Brighter Easier - Creator of ROOMIGATOR™ The Natural Neutralizer.

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Luci Weston

@Ching Ya: I agree, all of these questions offer a chance to learn about ourselves and what works for us. Plus, it is a fun way to take a look at life.

Thanks to all for the great comments, being brave and sharing! This is what HWA is all about!

Ching Ya

Guess I'm at the middle but how I hope I could be more towards living out loud! ha.. yeah, I do still go to certain occasions that I don't quite feel like it. Sometimes it's just easier to say 'yes' than a multi-reasons 'no'. There's a limitation of how far a 'yes' can go though, a lesson I'm gradually learning for a more productive life. :) Thanks so much for this delightful quiz. I'm going to share this out one for sure - self development sake. Yes?

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Luci Weston

@Sharon: That is good news, and great to know it can be done! Sharing your success will inspire others, thank you.

Sharon Gnatt Epel

I can certainly relate to GTSS. It took getting into my early 50's to finally change all this for me once and for all!

Luci Weston

@suzyblujeanz: Aha, the #1 of all the symptoms, not that they are in particular order, but I do think this is the hardest one to cure.

Next time you realize you care what someone else thinks, try these quotes on for size, "What other people think about me is none of my business," and "You wouldn't worry about what people think of you, if you knew how little time they spent doing it." You can do it Suzy!


I was disappointed to find out I'm a Diagnosis C. UGH! Guess I have some work to do. The hardest one for me is that I care too much about what other people think...of everything; from my opinions to my clothes.

Luci Weston

@Bose: Oh that word, "Should," is a doozy! You are right, it is ugly. So many people use it and/or feel pressure from hearing it. Every time I have a conversation with someone who is on the fence about a decision, they say, "I should do ___, but I want to do ___." Why does this word yield such power to make women doubt themselves? I am preparing a radio show about it for March, I hope you will call in.

@Ruth: So happy to see you on HWA! Welcome.

Good point about #4, I will attend anything my nephew or niece are involved in. So I amend my original comment.

It does seem that #5 is a chronic condition for women. Bose mentioned this one, too. This is a case where we can learn from most men. No matter what we ask them about in terms of completing a task, there is always a part that is obvious to us, but they don't do. When asked about the incomplete next step or part of the task, their response is surprised, "You didn't ask me to do that." They hear the "call" but don't go above and beyond it. Plus, they don't seem bothered by the fact that they didn't do the entire task! So as women, we have to get to a point where we do what is asked, and know when to stop. Most times, those who suffer from GTSS know that the "above and beyond" part goes unappreciated and the doer is left feeling over-extended and under-valued.

#6 is a toughy. Why do so many women avoid confrontation?
Growing up a shy kid, I, too, had to overcome this one. Once you get the hang of it, it gets easier. It's about standing your ground and backing up your argument. Most importantly, learning not to apologize for your position. Plus, the trick is picking the right battles. There are some people with whom a confrontation is never worth the words or energy.

Ruth Seitelman

The issues I have to overcome are items #5 with a touch of #6.

Number 5, going above and beyond the call of duty, has its origins in parenting. Yes, I was one of those mothers who 'helped' a bit too much for many good reasons. The behavior was also rewarded at work where dealing with clients (internal or external) going the extra step was expected. I have found that on a personal level it may come across as overbearing. I admit to an extrovert tendency and have to think hard and stop myself. I am still learning.

Number 6, avoid face-to-face confrontations. I do not like confrontation in general. Discussions and differences of opinions are fine but confrontation is just foreign to me. And yes, I need to deal with it.

Number 4, I only do this for the children and grandchildren. I go to events that I am not necessarily thrilled with because it is important to them that I am there and I do want to support them. So to me this one doesn't count.

Thanks Luci for a great article. I love the way you make me think about things that are basic.


I honestly think "should" is often one of the ugliest (and overused) words in the English language. People telling you what you "should" do, feeling like you "should have" done something, etc. Now whenever I hear myself say 'the word', I catch myself and redirect. As for #5, I sometimes feel like that is actually part of my DNA (LOL). And I actually did #4 a few times over the holidays and was "punished" for it by my family. Oh well, I made a choice. Thanks for a really good article. Keep them coming!

Luci Weston

I wrote this quiz because I suffered for a long time with GTSS. My most difficult issue to overcome was #4, with #9 a close second. At first, I had a lot of guilt for turning down invitations to big and small events alike. I used to accept even if it didn't fit my schedule, I wasn't interested in attending, I hardly knew the person, etc. This sapped my energy and I was continuously overbooked.

One day, at a party for a distant relative, two things became obvious: 1. I was invited out of obligation, 2. she was looking to fill the gift table. Not only did I waste my day, pass on a luncheon with a friend, I also spent additional time shopping for a gift, then I got sick on the food! Message heard loud and clear...time to do what was right for me. Now, I check my calendar and my gut to see if I want to attend before accepting. If I do, I go; if I don't (for any reason), I say no...No muss, no fuss, no excuses, no guilt. Everyone is busy, being selective with your time is a necessary part of taking care of oneself.

As for #9, "What permanent record, where?" LOL! Just get out there and live, say what you want, be who you want to be, and do what you want to do. There is no "good or bad girl" policeman on duty to check your behavior. Have a blast and enjoy the ride doing whatever makes you happy (and I don't mean robbing a bank -- then you will end up in the back seat of a patrol car!).

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