Nice vs. Kind

Ladies, let’s talk. It’s time to stop being nice.

Yes, stop. Just quit. Don’t be nice ever again. Being nice is for suckers.

Women are nice. We look out for others. We worry about people’s feelings. We take everything on our shoulders just to make sure that no one else is troubled. We couch our criticism. We are nice.

But, what about when a man looks out for others, or worries about people’s feelings, or takes troubles off of anyone else’s shoulders? What about when a man couches criticism? He is considered kind.

Think about the difference between these two words. Nice doesn’t disturb anyone. Nice won’t upset the apple cart. Nice is expected. Nice is a doormat.

But, kind? Kind is what you bestow upon another. Kindness is something you can give. Being kind holds power.

She is nice. He is kind. Which one gets the call returned first? Which one gets the respect? Which one gets the promotion? Which one do you really hear? Yup, that’s what I’m saying.

So, ladies, I beg of you. Stop being so nice, and start bestowing your kindness as if it is a rare commodity, one that you choose to give only those who have earned it or value it. The kinder you are, the less nice you’ll have to be. And, for that, we newly elevated women of the world will all be grateful.

But, how do you stop being nice when, after all, it’s our fall back, it’s the modus operandi, it’s muscle memory?

First, remember that it’s not your job to make everyone feel welcome, comfortable, and safe.  You don’t have to always be giving a compliment.  You don’t have to lump praise upon the undeserving.  And, you don’t have to fill the silences.  That’s when the other person is thinking over the brilliance you just laid upon them; let them catch up.

Then, stop apologizing for existing.  You may apologize too often, and there are plenty of studies to make me confident that you do, but even if the words coming out of your mouth aren’t exactly, “I’m sorry,” the odds are that you start too many statements with “It’s just my opinion, but…” and “I could be wrong, but…” and “This might be a bad time, but…”  I’m here to tell you to get your head out of your “but” and have the courage of your convictions.  You can be kind without being mean, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be nice.

Finally, think about what it is that you do better than most others around you.  Find someone who could use a little of that magic.  And, spend a little time helping them find it within themselves.  Go out of your way to be a champion, not just a mentor.  Teaching skills, building up others, opening doors are currency, and bestowing kindness is just that.  It’s not nice because it’s expected.  It’s kind because it’s intentional.