The Problem with being “nice”….

In today’s culture everyone seems to be overly concerned with being “nice” so that no one feels embarrassed for being different or left out. This is a problem. Why? Well, because you are being dishonest to everyone. If you need an explanation, here ya go.

Say for instance an adult loves to draw and she thinks her art is awesome. Evidently, she’ll think it is so because it is her work. So, she gets asked to do a piece for someone. She sends it to this person and the person gushes and replies (in email) that “OH, it’s beautiful. You did a great job. I’m going to use it on my blog.” So, the artist gets all happy about it and checks the person’s blog expecting to see her piece of work in a blog. Days go by and a new blog is posted with a picture that isn’t the artist’s work.

So, you can see how wrong this is. It is empty praise. The blogger should have said, “This is great work, but I have some other images I’m considering using as well. Thankyou for your time and effort in creating this image for possible selection by me for my blog.”

By responding in a more considerate way instead of gushing empty promises because of “niceness” lots of problems can be avoided. What would have happened if this blogger responded like the first example to fifty others in the same way? She would evidently lose her credit and lose followers. But by responding in the second example, it is much more professional. It is also being nice and courteous in the correct way.

Even when dealing with kids, they know when you give them empty praise. I won’t tell my niece and nephews that they did a good job. I’ll tell them my actual perceptions. I once was shown a drawing/painting by my niece who was maybe 8yrs. old at the time. I told her, “oh, my gosh. What is that big, brown blob in the center?” She said it wasn’t really anything and that she just painted it as nothing in particular. I seriously think she was testing my truthfulness and that I won her test. The mom pulled me aside and said, “Kathleen, she worked hard on that. You should have said something nice about it.”

I still maintain that you gotta be honest with kids. They will appreciate it. Maybe not in that instant, but they will later as they learn who they can trust to be honest and who they can’t trust to be honest.

Conclusion: Being nice isn’t about saying nice words to inflate the person’s ego. It’s about being honest but also saying complementary things if it is possible to do so. So, be honest people. Don’t teach your kids and those around you that you need to lie to be “nice”. That’s not really what being “nice” is about.

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