How to Be Nice

A study published in the Journal of Personality found that people who are nice report feeling happier and more satisfied with life than those who don’t. This is true whether their acts of kindness were directed toward friends, strangers, or even themselves. But how exactly is being nice defined? What does it mean to be nice, and how can you be more of a good person?

Being nice is about showing empathy towards others. This includes listening to them and focusing on their feelings rather than getting caught up in your own. It is also about being helpful to them, which can include small things like holding the door for someone or helping them with a problem. It can also involve bigger acts, such as donating money or your time to help those in need.

Another important aspect of being nice is treating people with respect. This means being polite and listening to them, but it also means speaking up when they are being rude or aggressive. Being a good person requires you to respect other people’s boundaries, and that means not letting them push you around or take advantage of your nice nature.

People who are nice often struggle with balancing the needs of others with their own. They want to please everybody, but this is not always possible or even beneficial. For example, if you are helping someone out but they are not paying their share, it is not nice to keep them on the hook for the rest of the time. In this case, it is best to say something and let them know you can’t continue doing them favors.

If you are trying to be nice, it is important to clarify expectations and standards of performance. Ambiguity feeds toxic niceness, so make sure your team members understand what kind of behavior you expect and how it will be evaluated. Be explicit about what you expect in meetings, such as intellectual honesty and candid feedback, and follow up immediately on any violations.

Many nice people are so focused on being liked that they don’t have any firm boundaries. This can lead them to compromise their values or allow others to walk all over them. A good person is willing to stand up for their beliefs, even if that makes them unpopular.

In relationships, a good person is honest about how they feel and won’t stay in a relationship that is making them miserable. This can be hard, but being a good person is worth it in the long run. Ultimately, you cannot be nice to yourself if you are not happy in your own life. So start by evaluating your own happiness and making changes as needed. You will be glad you did.