I’ve had a few conversations lately about nice guys. One was prompted by an article on the Good Men Project (a site that I really like). Another took place following a client’s recent breakup. Another one occurred the other day when a friend asked, “do you ever feel you give way more than you get?”
I’m conflicted about the word “nice”. In the dictionary, it’s defined in a positive way. In the thesaurus it’s associated to admirable words. Yet, in so many instances, it seems to be a negative.
Too often nice is used interchangeably with boring, or it’s used to describe men and women with poorly defined boundaries.
Boring’s bad. Being a doormat is bad. Being nice is good.
It’s not complicated.
The only time I don’t like “nice” is on a dating profile, but only because an anecdote that proves you’re nice is stronger than saying you are.
How bad can nice be?
Over the past couple of years, I’ve had two friends die suddenly. Both were nice people. Upon news of their deaths, their Facebook pages filled up with outpourings of love. The depth of emotion was moving and well-deserved.
Why? Because they were nice.
They were also fun, creative, kind, positive and great to be around. How nice for all of us who knew them.
Nice is not bad. And I don’t mean “nice” as in “not bad”. I mean nice is NOT bad.
Nice is also not easy. I strive to be nice. I constantly find myself doing epic face plants on either side of the fine line between being a pushover and being too direct. I admire those men and women who’ve achieved just the right balance.
Can you be too nice? No, of course not. Nice does not mean being a chump, remember? It means only good qualities and we can’t have too many of those.
If you subscribe to the notion that nice guys (and women) finish last, then challenge your theory with some critical thinking.
Is it possible that, when bad people get ahead, it’s notable for the very fact that it’s so shocking? Hence, it elicits a greater level of discussion than when someone nice makes it, which is not so shocking?
In other words, isn’t it possible that we tend to make note of injustice. The reason why we say things like, “it’s not fair”, is because fair is actually what we expect and unfair is of note.
Ask yourself if you know nice men and women who are ahead in their professional and personal lives. My guess is that you know more of them than you do the reverse.
Nice guys don’t always finish last and bad guys don’t always win. In addition, when bad guys fall from grace, no one’s there to help them back up (think Enron). But, nice guys – they get our full support.
All to say, I think it’s time we take back the word nice and live up to it rather than diminish its greatness and lower the bar it sets.
Final piece of advice.
Nice truly is great. However to use the adjective – or any slew of adjectives – in a dating profile falls flat. When it comes to engaging a reader and making you come to life on screen, anecdotes trump adjectives every time.
You can uncover some of yours by completing the personality questionnaire. It’s a free and helpful tool for filling out your dating profile.
Even more valuable? Hire me to help you. I do phone consultations, profile revisions, as well as complete profiles from scratch (but using your expressions and anecdotes to keep it true to you and honest).