Kindness vs. Niceness

Kindness vs. Niceness

I spend a lotta time talking about kindness vs. niceness. There’s a massive difference between the two, and society seems bent on promoting “niceness”, when being kind is what’s beneficial all around.

Being “nice” is performative. It’s a positive action based on how others perceive us, what others will think of us, and how it benefits us. Being nice is all about social conditioning. It’s about doing “nice” things in order to be perceived (by others and by ourselves) as a “nice person”. What am I supposed to do in this situation? If I do this, what will they think of me? How can I make my life as comfortable as possible? I’m so sick of nice. Nice is the spineless friend who won’t tell your mutual friend to stop making racist jokes. Nice is the husband who hides behind being “non-confrontational” instead of learning healthy conflict resolution techniques. Nice is all gOoD ViBes OnLy!

Being “kind” is focussed on others. It’s generosity borne from a place of self-respect, love, and genuine care for others. How can I make their life easier? How can I make a positive impact for others?

Let’s say you’re hanging out with friends, and someone drops that racist joke. What do you do? Niceness would be laughing along with the others, or saying nothing at all. After all, like Thumper’s mama taught him, “If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Look at you, being polite, right? You’d make an amazing doormat.

Kindness would be speaking up, explaining why it’s offensive, and making sure that anyone on the sharp end of the joke can tell you’re an ally, a protector. (Kindness is speaking up even when nobody on that sharp end is even in the room.) Kindness isn’t harsh, or rude, or abrasive, but it can be difficult, uncomfortable, and lacking in personal reward.

If you speak up in front of your friends, you know that that “kindness” may not be well received. You know they might find it aggressive, or find you oversensitive, or feel hurt that you called them out on their ignorance. You know they’ll feel defensive, and the whole idea of being in that awkward position keeps your lips glued shut in the name of niceness.

We just love ourselves some politeness, don’t we? Hush up and let the bad “jokes” fly. Don’t tell anyone about the way your boss treats your coworker. Don’t tell people all the cruel things I did to you, that’s not nice!

We let the racism, sexism, homophobia, harassment, and more go in the name of niceness.

Fuck your politeness. Fuck nice.

Nice is cowardly. Nice is simping. Nice is enabling. Niceness is serving only YOU. You don’t want to feel uncomfortable. You don’t want to rock the boat. You don’t want to “get involved”. You aren’t kind.

Kind is doing what’s right. Kind is strong. Kind is standing up and speaking out. Kind is holding firm in your beliefs and maintaining boundaries. Sure, it’s not the easy route, but it’s what’s best for everyone.

Nice people are the reason the narcissists run wild. Those sneaky narcs love exploiting nice people, taking advantage of their classic conflict avoidance, their people-pleasing, their utter lack of boundaries and fear of rejection. They bully them into submission, and it’s not much of a challenge.

Kind people are a real challenge for narcissists, though. Armed with real empathy and firm personal boundaries, kind people have a healthy sense of self-respect, can manage clear and honest communication, and they’re emotionally intelligent, allowing them to recognize and stand up against manipulative tactics like guilt-tripping and gaslighting.

Niceness might make you the life of the party, the easygoing friend, the polite lap dog, but kindness is what makes you a good human being.

If you wanted to be spoken about kindly, ya shoulda been kind.

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Alex