People who are nice are empathetic and compassionate, putting themselves in others’ shoes and caring about their feelings. They are generous and willing to help without being asked, and they take responsibility for their actions. They tend to have a wide pool of friends and are considered great influencers.
Psychologists describe personality in terms of five broad dimensions, and niceness is associated with the trait known as agreeableness. In addition to kindness and empathy, niceness is also characterized by openness to experience, fairness, and conscientiousness.
To be nice, you should be honest and straightforward. You should tell the truth at all times, even if it hurts someone’s feelings. You should also be able to assess your own behavior honestly, admitting your shortcomings and taking steps to improve them.
Being nice means having a positive outlook on life and believing that everyone has something to offer. Nice people are optimistic, cheerful, and confident without being arrogant. They believe they have a lot to contribute and are always seeking ways to improve themselves.
If you’re not a naturally nice person, it can be difficult to develop these traits. However, you can train yourself to be more empathetic and supportive. Practicing self-care, being mindful of your own and others’ feelings, and spending time with people you enjoy are all good ways to become more nice.
A toxic kind of niceness exists when you show excessive deference to the chain of command or avoid conflict. This is common in fear-based organizations where it’s believed that if you don’t anger superiors, you have a measure of job security. However, this form of niceness can backfire by stifling innovation and creating a toxic work culture.
The word nice comes from the Latin adjective nisce, meaning simple and foolish, from ne (“not”) and scire (“to know”). It is also related to the Germanic words nisch and nizza, meaning “stupid” or “ignorant.” Listen to this week’s episode of That’s What They Say! to learn more about the history of the word nice.