Being nice can bring a lot of benefits. It can make you feel good, help others to feel good, and even help you achieve success in your endeavors. But it’s important to remember that being nice can also have its downsides if you’re not careful. In this week’s episode of That’s What They Say, University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan and host Rina Miller explore the meaning of the word “nice.” 1. pleasing to the senses or emotions: a nice lunch 2. refined in manners and speech; pleasant 3. pleasant in appearance or surroundings: the hotel is really nice
4. having a good reputation; suitable: a nice school
5. having fine distinctions; minute: a nice difference
While many people naturally have a knack for kindness, compassion and empathy, it is possible for others to work on being more nice. Being nice isn’t just about being polite, but it’s about having an overall attitude of caring and thoughtfulness towards everyone you encounter. It is about putting others before yourself, whether that’s holding the door for someone else or offering to help a colleague with an assignment. It’s about sharing your time, resources and wisdom with those around you. It’s about being a positive influence in the world and helping to create a more kind and loving society.
There are some things that are never nice, such as talking about others behind their backs. Talking negatively about a coworker, classmate or friend is not nice because it can cause them to doubt your integrity. It also shows that you are unable to see their perspective and therefore cannot respect them as a person.
Being nice also involves being able to communicate your feelings in an appropriate way. Keeping your feelings bottled up will not serve you or anyone else in the long run. Eventually, those negative feelings will come out in an unexpected and unfavorable way. Rather than being a nice person, you might become an unpleasant, angry or jealous individual.
So, if you want to be a more nice person, start by focusing on the qualities listed above. Keep in mind, however, that being nice is not about being fake or manipulative. Being nice is about being true to yourself, allowing others to be themselves and recognizing the value of every person. So, don’t try to be nice for the sake of getting something in return; do it because it makes you happy and it will make a difference in the lives of those around you.