What Does It Mean to Be Nice?

Nice is a positive word, but many people use it without really knowing what it means. The etymology of the word suggests that it’s about being pleasing and agreeable, but personality psychology offers a different definition. A nice person is someone who demonstrates prosocial behaviors—those that are concerned with the well-being and safety of others. These include kindness, empathy, and generosity. They also take responsibility for their actions. Nice people often put the needs of others before their own and are generous with their time and resources.

But being a nice person isn’t the same as being a good person. In fact, the difference is much larger than people realize. People who are merely nice may display some of the same prosocial behaviors as good people, but they lack other important qualities. The true mark of a good person is that they’re willing to stand up for their values, even when it doesn’t benefit them in the long run.

The most common misconception is that being nice is synonymous with being a doormat. Nice people are generous with their time, money, and knowledge but they’re not willing to be taken advantage of by those who treat them like a doormat. They recognize the importance of reciprocity—one of Cialdini’s Principles of Influence—and they give back to those who help them in return.

A kind person isn’t a perfect one, but they do their best to own when they make a mistake and work to fix it. They also strive to avoid making the same mistake multiple times. They’re also a good listener. They care about other people’s feelings and are able to put themselves in their shoes, which helps them understand how other people feel and what they might need from them.

Being a nice person means being tolerant of people with different opinions, beliefs, and values. It’s about being accepting of everyone and wanting to help them feel at home. Nice people are friendly to their loved ones and extend this same kindness to those they meet.

Nice is a city in and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department on the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. Known for its sunny climate and deep-blue sea, the Baie des Anges, it has been a popular destination for tourists since the 19th century. Its clear air and soft light have inspired many notable painters, including Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, and Niki de Saint Phalle, as well as writers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra there in the winter of 1883–84. It is considered the leading resort of the French Riviera. It is also a center for the arts and culture, with numerous museums, including the Musée Masséna. The city is the most important cultural and economic center of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. It is a major transportation hub and has the largest airport in southern France. It is also a major sports center, with a strong reputation for tennis and other sporting events.