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What’s Wrong With Being Nice?

Posted by on Feb 3, 2013
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Isn’t that an interesting question? Truth be told it’s nothing new, and yet I’m irked lately by what I’m seeing as people either not being nicer to each other or not liking someone who happens to be perceived as nice.

The kindness of strangers
Creative Commons License Ed Yourdon via Compfight

What is this thing against niceness anyway? I remember growing up that there were people who hated that I tried to be nice to others, or that I liked smiling. I remember listening to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talking about being a friendly kid who smiled a lot and some kids didn’t like him, beat him up for it, and that’s why he rarely smiles even today. What the heck is that about?

As I say in the video, a lot of people are going to say that they like when people are nice but truth be told, there’s going to be people who will say that because it’s the right thing to say, but their actions don’t back it up. There are people who hate Oprah, who’s been nothing but nice to others. There are people who hate LeBron James when all he’s ever really done is be nice, give away lots of money to charity, helped raise more money for charity, and actually took a major pay cut to join a team so he could win a championship. Yet people perceive that as him being selfish; once again, what the heck is that all about?

I’ve talked on this blog about the concept of writing whatever you feel like but being ready to deal with the consequences or your words. I’ve said that on Facebook as well, yet people don’t like it when someone comes back at them for a point of view that, well, isn’t all that nice.

I like to think I’m nice most of the time but I have a mean streak. I don’t like people who are intolerant. I don’t like people who write stupid hateful messages against something where they make it more personal than it has to be. I’ll call people out in my own way on some of the things they say; sometimes I’m not so nice about it, but more often than not I am. And they don’t like it, no matter how I try to put it.

Such is life. Because someone doesn’t like the message doesn’t mean you weren’t trying to be nice. Nice doesn’t mean weak; perceive that and, as The Rock says, you might get the smack laid down… I’ll leave the rest for those who know the line. lol

Please watch the video (I’m expecting only 10 views, per norm, but I’ll ask anyway), and leave a comment on the video after you’ve watched it to prove to me that you’ve watched it. Then, if you have the energy, leave a comment here on your thoughts about being nice, niceness in general, and why you think so many people dislike “nice”. Yeah, I’m asking for an awful lot; come on, be nice!


 

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26 Comments »

To be honest, I used to very nice and polite person, until I met so many troubles with that kind of person. It took me few years to find the balance, which is very important for business and I also must say, that with some people, it is better not to be nice and polite. I also don’t like when some people are too nice and polite at a particular moment that should not be.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That’s just too bad Carl because it shouldn’t have to be that way in either one’s personal or business life.

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Carl Reply:

There are many reasons for that, Mitch and probably I have to say that I educate my son the same way my parents have done that, to be nice and polite. For me change have come from two things. First comparison between my bosses in my long term career – the first one was very nice and polite, probably too much laid back and business was slipping through his hands, just because he is too nice. My 2nd boss was notable figure, but a bit more black and white his words have always been – “we make business or we do not”, nothing in the middle, no compromise. The other major factor is latest generation – majority is impolite and lack knowledge. In the last 3 years I have wasted more than 200 hours making interviews with fresh graduated applicants for work, from 200 of them, I barely could pick one, that was capable, resumes look perfect, but most of them were impolite directly and indirectly supplying misleading information, style of clothing that they arrive for interview and not greeting the rest of the team.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, you read my leadership blog. I was a fairly nice leader who was able to compartmentalize what had to get done with making sure the needs of the employees were taken care of. I can’t say I’ve always had the best leaders that I reported to, yet I never let their style mess with my style & who I was. Even now, I don’t fall into the bad behavior of other people in business that I have to deal with. I’d rather not work with them at all than allows them to treat me with less than the respect I expect. In some ways it might hold me back, but I’m keeping my self respect.

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February 3rd, 2013 | 4:34 AM

I’m with you Mitch, I like being nice. I can’t imagine being mean, if it’s not in your blood I think it’s hard to do. I don’t consider myself overly nice since I can say NO to things if I do not have the time. (That came with age). So I say, nothing wrong with being nice! Continue it Mitch, I know you will :)
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Lisa, I don’t think being nice means we have to say yes to everything; I certainly don’t, that’s for sure. I believe there are ways we can communicate displeasure with someone and still be nice. That’s what I try to do anyway. I will continue trying to be nice; thanks!

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February 3rd, 2013 | 2:03 PM

Your topic is really true.. You can’t please everyone. Despite the goodness and politneess you are trying to show, there are still negative comments or criticism against you. Life is so cruel but I don’t take it seriously. I just ignore people who are beating me down.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Rusty, that’s something I have to get better at, something I’m working on now. Some stuff is pretty easy to ignore, other stuff not so easy. At least I’m trying. lol

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February 3rd, 2013 | 2:31 PM

Nothing at all wrong with being nice, Mitch, if you can be genuinely, sincerely NICE. I think the objections to “nice people” stem from two basic things:

– Jealousy (People who’ve learned to distrust the world and think of it as a place where you’re likely to get hurt at every turn, not only by random strangers but by people who are supposed to love you sometimes can’t afford to be very “nice,” I suppose. And when they see someone who is, I think they perceive – rightly or wrongly – that that person has not had as many hardships, or been kicked in the teeth QUITE so many times.)

– Insincerity (“Have a nice day!” Hatred and mockery of that phrase date back to the 1970s, I believe.)

Like you, I’m nice, with a mean streak. Not a mean-spirited streak, though – and I strongly dislike those who really revel in causing others pain.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Interesting thoughts Holly, and I can’t disagree with those. It’s amazing how others judge people who are happy or nice and want everyone to be as miserable and nasty as they are, so they can then say “see, they’re not so nice.” Personally, sometimes I think it shows great character in being able to retain major levels of niceness when others are trying to beat you down. I’m always going to give it my best shot.

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February 3rd, 2013 | 3:12 PM

Oh, I so I’ve got to be a bad boy to get the girl. Glad I watched this vid. ;)

Seriously, I don’t recall knowing anyone that didn’t like someone that was nice.

We’ll talk more over lunch at your favorite place, Wegmans.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Steve, those seem to be the rules sometimes; at least when one is young. lol

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February 3rd, 2013 | 4:06 PM
Connie Baum:

Another great post. Love your video. Here’s my deal: Let’s all BE nice. Let’s all PLAY nice. If everyone followed their own path and stood in their own truth they would probably lean more toward nice than not-so-nice.
Not being nice woulda been a deal breaker if The Normanator had not been such a nice guy. Now we are nice to one another all day every day and are living happily ever after!
Thanks again, Mitch. You know you are my hero.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

The Norminator? Connie, you’re killing me! lol I’m with you though, let’s bring back a sense of decorum, a sense of niceness and fairness and liking our fellow human. I’m going to continue going that route; that’s my promise.

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February 3rd, 2013 | 4:16 PM

In this day of negativity, I cannot afford NOT to be nice. And it makes me feel good to make others feel good. An extra bonus: It will come back to you when you least expect it.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Great stuff Marcie, and that’s how I see it as well. In public I smile a lot, and I hold doors open for people. Even when some don’t seem to appreciate it others do. That’s been enough for me for all these years.

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February 3rd, 2013 | 11:04 PM

I don’t hate nice people, i am a nice guy but people tends to take advantage of you if you are to nice.
I had very bad experiences with some of my bosses when i tried to behave, to do my job good and every time they we’re pushing more jobs even though i was not suppose to do them.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Radu, I can’t say I’ve had that problem. Nice doesn’t mean weak. Nice doesn’t always bring what one might hope, but it still leaves one feeling much better than not being nice if it’s your nature.

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February 4th, 2013 | 8:51 AM

Fate leads the willing, and drags along the reluctant.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The willing are the nice guys. The reluctant are the guys who dislike the nice guys. That is because, they cannot accept that people can be nice, because they themselves cannot be. I am not a psychologist, but I think that is the only reason why this phenomenon exists.

But as you say, the nice guys get left behind by the girls. the question is whether those girls are nice!
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

LOL! Gotta love you Rummuser! I like what you said and I can’t disagree with it. The dislike of “nice” is their issue, not the person who tries to be nice. It’s kind of like people who hate on the rich because they’re not rich. Great stuff! As to the nice girls… that’s an interesting take that I’m staying away from right now. ;-)

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February 4th, 2013 | 9:46 AM

I am a nice person, but that will depend on the person I am with. If he / she is nice to me, then I will be the same. A lot of people are too angry, or harrass to other people. Which is the reason that I’ll stay home and make money instead.
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February 5th, 2013 | 4:30 AM

Hi Mitch,

Nice question you have raised here. I watched your video and loved the way you have explained the consequence of being nice to people. I believe a person can succeed in his/her life by being nice to others. Though they have to face lots of negativity coming their way but if you see the end result they are the ones who are praised by everyone. A nice person never loses his charm even in the dark. I also think that one shouldn’t pretend of being nice. They should be real and be what they are. Certainly, they can try to change their bad image but shouldn’t pretend to be good. That would be a risk. Loved your post and thoughts about it.

Thanks for sharing!

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February 5th, 2013 | 8:49 AM

The people around us will never let us to be nice. They will continue telling something about us even if we succeed or fail. One can be nice, but at the same time he should not be too honest too.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Raj, no one ever “allows” us to be anything. We are what we are and we act as we choose. If we allow others to change who we are we’re not only being less than true to ourselves but exhibiting a weakness in our own character. Those who don’t like it… we don’t have to be around them.

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February 5th, 2013 | 8:53 AM

I strongly agree that being nice gives us the opportunity to be loved, praised and as well adds to the list of friendship but we must be ready to pay the cost that comes with these opportunities in the name of being nice. Many people takes advantage that you are nice to obtain what you have, exploit you and even tease you. Actually many will see you as a blessing and in this I mean exploitation.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Being nice doesn’t mean that person’s stupid or a pushover, and some folks learn that pretty quickly.

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March 19th, 2013 | 4:31 PM
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