What Makes Someone a Nice Person?
Being nice may seem like a dull option but we all appreciate people who are genuinely nice. Truth be told, being nice doesn’t happen automatically. It requires effort and energy. More often than not, we don’t feel like being nice, nonetheless, in our heart of hearts, we know that it’s nice to be nice.
Perhaps Jesus’s word in his Sermon of the Mount could act as the motivational mantra for those of us who feel being nice is best. “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” In other words, treat others like you would like to be treated yourself.
But what are the characteristics of a nice person? Let’s look at the traits identified by today’s psychologists:
Altruism: Doing Stuff for Others
Nice people do stuff for others without asking for anything in return. If they see someone in need, they step in and lend a helping hand. Truly altruistic individuals also help people they don’t know because they feel it’s the right thing to do. Even if helping someone presents a certain level of discomfort to themselves, do they step in?
No doubt, sometimes being altruistic is a pain and requires true selflessness but that precisely what nice people are all about.
Attentive Listening & Empathy
Nice people make an effort to listen to people attentively, rather than continually speak about themselves. They listen, take in what the other person is saying and empathize. Empathy is one of the most important human qualities. If someone is empathetic, they care enough to try to understand how the other person is feeling. Empathetic people care about the welfare of others and do not like to see others suffering.
Listening is quite difficult for people all wrapped up in their own troubles. It requires effort and practice.
Responsibility - Owning Imperfections
No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. Nice people admit their wrongs and take responsibility, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be at the time. Everyone is tempted to point the finger of blame at somebody else, but sometimes things are our fault. Those who have the honesty and courage to admit that they are wrong and take responsibility for their failures will be able to right their wrongs and make up for them. That’s what nice people do.
Humility – Being Accurate About Strengths and Weaknesses
Being humble doesn’t mean putting oneself down. On the contrary, if someone is humble, she/he accurately accepts strength and weaknesses. Nice people don’t blow their own trumpet. They humbly accept their talents and acknowledge areas of themselves in need of improvement.
They accept criticism and take on other people’s advice.
Honesty – Speaking the Truth
Nice people are honest with themselves and others without lacking kindness. They tell the truth in at all times without hurting other people’s feelings. Telling lies, on the other hand, is not something nice people do because deceit and dishonesty damage relationships. That’s not to say that you have to be tactless to be honest, but simply tell the truth with gentleness.
Nice people also assess their own behavior honestly, recognizing shortcomings and taking responsibility for them as described above.
Fairness – Striving for the Greater Common Good
Everyone has an in-built sense of fairness. Nice people choose to act fairly in an effort to strive for justice. They even choose fairness over their own comfort. Those striving for fairness do so without a personal agenda, acting for the common, greater good, even if it means they potentially lose out.
Kindness – Approaching Everyone with Kindness
Nice people are kind and try not to be cruel to anyone. But this is often difficult, particularly when dealing with people on a different wavelength. Sadly, nowadays, kindness is often considered to be a sign of weakness whereas, in actual fact, true kindness requires strength and resilience.
Nice people also do not expect others to be perfect and cut them some slack. After all, no one is perfect.
Generosity - Being Generous with One’s Stuff
Nice people are giving, most of them even derive joy from being generous. Perhaps it goes back to the saying “it’s in giving we receive”. Generosity does not just concern material things, giving someone time, is also as sign of generosity. Nice people give of their time freely, particularly to those in need.
Nice people tend not to guard their possessions too closely but like to give to make somebody happy.
Selflessness - Going the Extra Mile
While complete selflessness often points to lack of self-esteem, going the extra mile on occasion is something nice people do. If a friend or stranger is in trouble and needs a bit of extra help, they are there to help. If it takes extra effort to complete a task, they don’t shy away from it.
Nice people put themselves out for others even when they would rather not.
Curveball Acceptance - Taking the Rough with the Smooth
Life produces all sorts of curveballs. Everyone experiences problems and struggles at times. Nice people continue to try to be nice, even when they are in a bad place themselves. They maintain their desire to act with kindness, regardless of the hardship they may be experiencing. Graciously, they accept life’s imperfections and continue along their path of niceness even when the chips are down.
Afterthought – Nice People Are Nice to Themselves
Truly nice people are also nice to themselves. They have to, otherwise, sooner or later, they will not be able to the nice to others. Being nice on the long run is only achievable if you include yourself in the niceness. Self-acceptance and self-respect are a prerequisite for niceness.
To quote perhaps the nicest person we can think of, Jesus, it goes back to “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
If you want to be nice as often as possible, you will also need to be nice to yourself, otherwise, it simply won’t work and you’ll end up bitter and twisted instead.
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