When Nice is not so Nice


We are taught from young to be nice but it is not always appropriate to be nice.  For instance, your parents do not always appear to be nice when they want you to do something that is perceived to be for your own good or, when your teacher lectures you for not doing your homework and, the list goes on.  They are practicing nice by being not so nice.

However, when we start making friends, we very often refrain from saying things that may upset them for fear of losing their friendship.  We are always trying to be nice. Well, if we are genuine friends we would have to learn to confront difficult situations without resorting to be being nice and burying the less than welcome truth.

Speaking the truth need not be such a frightful thing.  Confronting a situation need not be aggressive, hostile or unpleasant.  As long as it is of good intent and comes from the heart, follow your intuitive instincts when bringing up the subject.  You will do fine.  Your friend may well thank you for your openness and guidance.

I attended a 2-day Sales & Leadership Mastery programme with the internationally well-known trainer and coach, Blair Singer last week.  There was this exercise in which we were to try selling one of his works to a stranger.  The objective was to confront all our little voices of fear and discomfort inside our heads that prevented us from making the first move.  One of the participants came up to share her experience.

She attempted with 5 people but did not make a sale.  On returning to class, she met a few fellow participants with whom she shared her disappointment.  They consoled her by saying her 5 attempts were good enough.  Blair jumped in disgust when he heard her story.  They were not being nice to her, he proclaimed but rather to soothe their own guilt and poor performance.  “NICE”, he said, is an acronym for “No one Is Caring Enough”.  The well-intentioned could have been more encouraging rather than asking her to accept the results for that would not spur her to grow to higher heights.

Does this sound familiar – being nice I mean?  You must have either done or been the recipient of the same many times in your life.  Have you ever thought of the implication that “nice” act really is?  Probably not as we have been so conditioned by generations and generations of our social expectations that this may never have occurred to us.

Now that we are a little more aware, would you not reflect and question what your real intentions are when you are trying to be nice?  I am not suggesting that you do away with the social niceties but be more conscious of your intentions and the outcome you are trying to achieve.

Instead of condoling to another’s self-depreciating comments we could either be encouraging or coaxing them into thinking more positively.  That would truly be being nice.  Won’t you want to do that?

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