On Being Nice
Warning – this blog post is probably going to upset some folks, even though I intend to do the opposite. My purpose in writing this is not to sell you anything, convince you of anything, or persuade you to do anything. I just need to vent to you, my fellow community leaders.
I’m not sure when it happened or why it happened, but as a society, we seem to have forgotten how to be nice to people. In preparing to write this post, I did a Google search on “being nice in the workplace”. Do you know what the first two results were? The first was an article entitled “3 reasons to stop being nice at work”. The second result was an article entitled “Being nice can hurt your career”. Really? It’s almost like the Grinch has become the new role model for society. Wow…
What does it mean to be “nice”?
According to my Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means polite, kind, and agreeable. Why would that be a bad thing? I’ve seen other articles suggest that there’s a difference between nice and kind. Some suggest that being kind is better because it means you care and are showing benevolence beyond just being nice. I’ve seen other articles suggest that kindness, taken to an extreme, could be viewed as being patronizing – suggesting that the kind person is trying to show moral superiority. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, for my purposes here let’s just say they’re synonyms and mean generally the same thing. I’ll continue using the word nice.
Here are some examples of not being nice. When someone is being:
- Impatient – having an unrealistic, “I want it now” attitude
- Unrealistic – making demands or assertions that are not grounded in truth or reasonableness
- Inflexible – unwilling to see an alternative point of view (even though you don’t have to agree with it)
- Mean – verbally or non-verbally adopting a negative, antagonistic posture
- Unresponsive – making requests, but not being around to follow-up when someone tries to help you
- Moody – fluctuating mood patterns that cause others around you to “walk on eggshells”
- Uncompromising – not willing to find common ground
- Indecisive – constantly changing one’s mind, causing others to have to adjust repeatedly
- Arrogant – cocking an attitude of superiority
With few exceptions, I don’t think most people consciously try to be “not nice”. Being nice doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, there’s a certain uplift one can get by showing “grace under pressure”. Being nice doesn’t mean you have to compromise your values. It just means trying to be polite and respectful. If you’re a person of faith, then you should be familiar with commandments and extortions to be nice. Many organizations have guiding principles that promote niceness, such as the Rotary Club Four-Way Test.
It pains me to see people not being nice in our local community and even to my staff here at Country Fried Creative. We are fortunate that our team is more fully staffed than other local businesses and organizations. Unfortunately, it seems like the nicer we try to be, the more some try to take advantage of it. One of the things we consistently try hard to do is be responsive – well above the industry average. Regrettably, that has had the unintended consequence of people making more and more unrealistic demands, knowing we’ll answer them. Remember the “little boy who cried wolf” story from your youth? Moreover, some make requests and then are unresponsive – almost like a 911 hang-up. If you contact us, we will follow up. Please be available for that follow-up, even if you’ve changed your mind.
Here at Country Fried Creative, we want to help everyone we can, but not everyone has the capacity to receive that help.
We attempt to take on clients who have the capacity to be delighted. When we sense that someone has a chip on their shoulder or a generally negative disposition, we politely pass on taking on that client. Delighted clients make for a happy staff, which also benefits the client.
It’s not just our business, I see it at other businesses and locations in our community too – when I go out to eat, shopping, or even while stuck in traffic at Hwy 74/54 in Peachtree City. The lack of civility and niceness causes stress and fatigue. I don’t know about you, but January seems like it was a year long.
If the above describes you, please stop. Just be nice. Supply chain issues, labor shortages, inflation, and COVID have everyone on edge. I think we could all handle those challenges better if we were all nicer to each other.
I’m not perfect and I’ve recognized that I’m not always as nice as I should be either. Let’s resolve to be nice together. Being nice will uplift our community’s mood and spirit despite the challenging times we all continue to face.
Oh, one more thing – Happy Valentine’s Day. Reach out to someone to whom you haven’t been nice to and see what happens.
Yours in “niceness”,