Words that actually aren’t interchangeable: health/wellness, introverted/shy, sex/gender, and nice/kind.
Although niceness and kindness are not synonymous, they both have their time and place. Below, we explore both, as well as the benefits of each, with the help of self-development coach, manifesting expert, and inspirational speaker Roxie Nafousi.
“Being nice typically involves politeness and social pleasantries,” explains Roxie. “It often focuses on maintaining a positive image and avoiding conflict, even if that means hiding your own feelings or not prioritizing your own needs. It can sometimes be driven by societal expectations or a desire for approval.”
Being kind, on the other hand, goes further than politeness. “It involves genuine empathy, compassion, and a desire to help others without expecting anything in return. Kindness is rooted in authenticity and a sincere concern for others’ well-being,” Roxie says.
The Benefits of Being Nice
- Social acceptance. Niceness can help you fit in and maintain smooth interactions in various situations.
- Avoidance of conflict. Being nice may help prevent disagreements or confrontations.
- Surface-level rapport. Niceness can establish friendly relations without necessarily delving into deeper connections.
The Benefits of Being Kind
Being kind can:
- Build deeper, more meaningful relationships. Kindness also nurtures trust and connection with others.
- Enhance emotional well-being. Acts of kindness release feel-good hormones like oxytocin that boost your mood.
- Create a positive ripple effect. Kindness inspires others to be kind, creating a more harmonious environment.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Is One Better Than the Other?
“Neither being kind nor being nice is inherently better than the other, as both have their place in social interactions. However, kindness tends to have more profound and lasting benefits, both for the individual and society, as it is rooted in genuine care and compassion,” Roxie says.
Like with most things, the key is balance.
“While kindness is admirable, it’s important to strike a balance. There may be situations where being straightforward or assertive is necessary, even if it doesn’t come across as ‘nice.’ Being a kind person doesn’t mean you should always avoid difficult conversations or excessively compromise your own needs,” she says.
And she strongly encourages us to remember to extend kindness to ourselves, as well. “Self-care and self-compassion are essential for personal growth and well-being. Treat yourself with the same kindness you offer to others.
“Ultimately,” Roxie says, “the choice between being nice and being kind depends on the situation and your intentions. Striving for authentic kindness while maintaining healthy boundaries is a valuable goal in personal development.”
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