How Good Must Nice Be?
What does nice mean to you? Do you want to be nice to others? Are you nice to yourself? Read this article to get some ideas about what being nice means, what it is not and how to develop a nice personality.
We hear the word “nice” all the time in public places like restaurants, movie theaters, etc., but do we really know what it means? The definition of nice used to be a description of someone who was very polite and pleasant and who was in good standing with the rest of society. An example of nice would be a description of an elderly person who is elderly and who everybody loves. Another example would be a nice elderly person at your church who gladly answers all of the altar calls and gives an earful of prayers every week. Nowadays, however, the definition of nice has evolved to include some of the negative qualities that people are trying to describe in order to be nicer.
In the first recorded use of the term, the verb “to be” was used in order to indicate something that was done. Meaning, the first recorded use of the verb “to be” was to indicate something nice. “To be nice” is a synonym for “begging” or “pleading.” This suggests that “being nice” was something that people did in order to get things done.
In our second example, the verb “to be” now implies that the person is doing something in order to gain something, most likely money or status. “Being nice” is now a way to describe someone who seems to be doing nothing to gain status or money. “Being nice” is not actually a verb; it comes from the past tense of “to be.” For example, it would translate as “respected.” From the first evidence, the word “being” did not refer to something nice, but was an action that was done in order to gain something.
In our third example, the verb “to be” now implies that the act of being nice was a result of being appreciated. When you say, “I am so nice today,” what do you mean by “is?” Is the result that the person did something nice? Or does “I am nice because I was appreciated?” This would seem to imply that the person (the nice guy or gal) was appreciated simply because they said “you are nice.”
So just where did nice become a negative thing? Well, with the growth of the verb “to be.” From the first evidence, it appears that the use of the word “being” was only associated with something nice. As the verb “to be” became associated with doing something nice, it became a way to describe the negative behavior and traits of the “being” involved. Therefore, instead of saying, “You are being a nice person,” we now say, “You are a nice person because I was nice to you.”