Nice vs Kind

I’m not very nice anymore… and I don’t think you should be either.

Some people claim people are faker than ever, more stupid, care more about popularity than honesty.

But why?

Is it a complicated problem? Or could it be so insanely simple that we have a general cognitive dissonance to the possibility that the answer to such a big problem could be simple?

Words have power. We know this. If they didn’t you wouldn’t have ever gotten offended in your life, there wouldn’t be bad words, hateful words, ignorant language, stigmas, racial slurs, sexism, tones, and you would never upset your wife. We like to try and pick and choose what words we believe have power, but let’s set that hubris aside for a moment, even if for just kicks and giggles.

Let's compare at the word Nice to the word Kind, there are some interesting correlations. I’m not suggesting that I know beyond a doubt the causation of the worlds inclination to be dishonest. But I know as a marketer that a single word can be the difference between changing peoples habits and calling them to action.

Obviously, there has been a rise in using the word Nice in English usage and a steady decline in the word Kind.

But why does this matter? Most of us know the difference. Right?

I will admit until this year I could feel the difference more than I knew about a difference.

I assumed that being nice and kind were pretty much the same thing. Until I started seeing Gary Vaynerchuk using the word #Kindness more than ever recently on twitter. He’s made a very conscious effort to make his life teachings inseparable from his business teachings that have gotten so popular of recent.

This was a little unsettling for me at first. Because I was getting less enthusiastic about what I thought kindness to be in my search for how to be more honest. But I decided to check my bias and prepare to be wrong and eat crow.

So let’s see where we got the word ‘Kind’…

Okay, that’s nice, I can get behind that.

Woah. WTF. I was not expecting that.

But we don’t speak Middle English.

So obviously the definition has changed since the middle ages.

Nice and Kind are obviously closer to their meaning now than they were back then. I supposed that Kind would reference to Nice in a synonym at the very least.

Wrong again Ptolemy. You seriously have to let go of that ego some more.

Turns out that in no way are Nice and Kind interchangeable in meaning. Even today.

The words also perfectly describe the divide I was feeling in niceness because of practicing honesty and love.

I was surrounded by a lot of nice people for a very long time. I was desperately trying to be more like them. But I’m not an agreeable person, obviously with how I pushed against a word that someone I madly respect decided to use more.

I think it may be a good time for humanity to stop being nice to each other.

We tend to value nice over things like love & generosity. But let’s be honest with ourselves. It’s really easy to spot nice. It takes time, patience, and the ability to listen to know if someone is kind.

We have been lax on those things in this fast-paced, instant communication, instant gratification world we now inhabit. That’s not completely our fault. But it is our responsibility to fix ourselves.

I think it would be healthy to start by breaking up with the word nice.

We now know that being nice isn’t helping us be kind.

We all know the person who is so nice but for whatever reason we can’t put our finger on it we wouldn’t want to date this person in our life.

Or that person that is notorious for being unreliable, untrustworthy, and probably not completely honest… but we can’t confront them because they are so nice.

Thanks to Gary for leading me to the proper label to how I’ve learned to navigate this nice world we live in.

Because I now understand that kindness is caring about a person more than a personal image. It means loving others enough to have the hard conversation, the honest conversation, about their habits that really suck.

It also explains why on a completely neutral medium like digital text on a screen people address kind honesty like an asshole that thinks they are better than them.

This is an interesting phenomenon that probably stems from the rise in popularity of being nice. Most of us are pretty used to people only being completely honest when they are upset, angry, or venting.

Nice doesn’t tolerate complete honesty.

Kindness does.

I’m far from complete with these ideas. Nor am I under the assumption that I am the first to discover them. But somehow I went several decades without putting this stuff together. So short of sending this article back in time to myself, maybe someone can run across this in their journey and do with it what we all need to make our journeys a little more tolerable.

Until then. Let’s address the fact that we were all trained wrong. Maybe as a joke, the universe or God is playing on us to keep us humble at what mostly everyone considers to be the height of human intelligence and civilization…

Check out the podcast episode that inspired this article…

Also available on many other streaming platforms

Thank you for being kind. Share kindness with anyone else that may need this article. Kindness is much more emotionally rewarding than being nice or being around nice, even more rewarding than holding down that clap button. But then again… I love holding down those clap buttons.

Be kind to others. Especially those you say you love.

But most importantly… be kind to yourself.