Like any expecting mother, the Duchess of Sussex is presumably getting tips from her friends about pregnancy and raising children. Unlike your average mum-to-be, she’s getting advice from the likes of tennis superstar Serena Williams.

The two apparently met in 2010 at a Super Bowl party and have been friends ever since, with Williams attending the royal wedding and Meghan showing up for her Wimbledon matches.

Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian at Meghan's wedding earlier this year (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian at Meghan’s wedding earlier this year (Gareth Fuller/PA)

When asked about Meghan – at an Art Basel event in Miami for her clothing line – Williams told People: "I’m like, ‘How are you?’ and she’s like, ‘No, how are you?’ and I’m like, ‘You’re so sweet, but I’m really asking – how are YOU?’ I’m like, ‘Meghan, stop being so nice… you’re the pregnant one, aren’t you supposed to have hormones, why are you so sweet?’ But that’s always been her."

It’s rare you hear advice to "stop being so nice", but it’s not like Williams is telling Meghan to become a stone cold meanie. Instead, as a successful sportswoman in the public eye, Williams knows the benefits of knowing when to be pleasant and when to hold back – and here’s why Meghan might want to take note…

1. You assert yourself more

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Being overly nice can unfortunately lead to being a bit of a pushover, as you could end up letting everyone else get their own way in an effort to be a ‘good’ person.

Every so often it’s worth asserting yourself a bit more and not bother yourself too much with being a people-pleaser. It will likely give you the opportunity to be more of a leader, and less of a follower.

2. You won’t be taken for granted

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Being nice is definitely not a sign of weakness – if anything, it shows strength. However, there’s a fine line between being a kind person and being too sweet – if you fall into the latter category, people might see it as weakness and then capitalise on this.

It sounds harsh, but it’s true – if you’re nice to everyone, you’re far more likely to be taken for granted, or worse, taken advantage of.

3. You don’t lose yourself or your integrity

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If you’re constantly people-pleasing, when are you actually being yourself? You should always treat people with respect, but don’t let politeness mean you squash down your personality, or silence your own opinion.

There will be people who don’t deserve your goodwill, you can be civil, without wasting your energy on making nice.

4. You have some time to treat yourself

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If you’re saying "yes" to everyone and are constantly doing the most for people around you, when will you have time to do anything for yourself? Being a little less nice and saying "no" a bit more will free up some much needed me-time, which will prevent you from burning out.

In fact, if you take care of yourself properly, you’ll be better equipped to help out other people.

5. People will trust you more

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Moderation is recommended in most areas of life, from eating chocolate to drinking wine. And yes, we’d apply "being nice" to this piece of conventional wisdom.

Knowing when to be nice and when to be a little bit more cut-throat will show people that you are discerning, particularly when it comes to making choices and drawing conclusions.