May 1, 2010

Kindness = Weakness

If there's any quality that I've been associated with the most while growing up, it's that I'm "nice". I never thought much of this, since honestly, what could be bad about being nice? But as I moved on through each step of childhood and ultimately reached adulthood, I noticed the immediate effects of being a "nice guy". This reality is merciless to the weak, and being nice is only an extension of weakness. I know this may sound like a dystopian cliche, but its a conclusion I've come to realize through personal experience and the experiences of others like myself. I spent time analyzing every aspect of what being "nice" is, and they all point to a correlation with weakness. 

Being nice means always being trustworthy and trusting of other people
If there's anything a pure-hearted person has, its trust in other people. Trust in others, and you will be trusted. Unfortunately, this quality also curses one with the amazingly naive assumption that everyone thinks this way. In reality, people are naturally self-serving and take advantage of trusting people with the art of deception. I've heard countless stories of "nice" people, many of whom I know personally, trusting someone with large sums of money or valuables, only to find that they have run off with it. Though, the more common story in the real world is one where someone comes off as a trustworthy person and seeks only to help you through some sort of proposal, but in actuality, this person is only out to gain from your naiveness. Businessmen, lawyers, politicians, and even car salesmen specifically target the nice side of people to get what they want, and the truly nice people are the first ones to fall for it. It is a depressing truth, but the people who have everything feed off the people who aren't as unfortunate, and this directly corresponds to the relationship between the deceptive and the trusting.

Being nice means you're always there for someone
Just as important as trust is care. A nice person is always caring, worrying for others and willing to help anyone who looks distressed. One might say, "you're so nice, you're always there to listen." Unfortunately, one will eventually learn the adverse effects of building a reputation as a nice, caring person. People will no longer respect your individuality. What that means is, people will think you are always willing to help someone out when they are in need. They often don't think about what might be going on in your day, or if you would have any objections to it. The blame does not go to these people, however. The flaw of a caring person is that they don't have the strength, the courage to tell someone what they're really thinking. In a gesture of kindness, one might be willing to sacrifice his/her time to do someone a favor. A caring person's personality would make it almost impossible to reject the favor. But soon, the caring person finds that this someone is constantly asking for more favors, and doing nothing in return. It wastes the caring person's time, and impedes on their integrity. In short, people will take advantage of you, and disrespect your integrity.

Being nice means you are friendly, proper, and soft-spoken
Care and trust culminate into friendliness. A kind person would never raise his/her voice like some rude barbarian. So, what's bad about that? This is an extension of everything you've read thus far. In this reality, people get what they want by being assertive. A nice person's naiveness makes him/her think they can use logic and reasoning to put an opposing figure on the same wavelength as them. Unfortunately, people are not that easy to convince. The only way to overcome this barrier is by being assertive and aggressive. Nice people lack this ability, and will almost always fall prey to the louder, more confident individual.

Let's combine everything mentioned above to create the ultimate scenario. Nice Guy is approached by Salesman, who unloads a lengthy sob story and claims that the only way to get his life back on track is to sell his product for an extremely hefty sum. Overcome by the emotion displayed by Salesman's story, Nice Guy can not help but buy the product. Several days later, Nice Guy finds that the product is defective and almost completely useless. He contacts Salesman and reports the issue, but Salesman goes on and on about how it was all he could do and wishes to be forgiven because he was just so desperate for money. Nice Guy could call out his bluff and get his money back, but he hesitates. Why? Because he has bought into the Salesman's emotions and does not have the heart to take anything away from him. The stories are obviously excuses to get away with selling defective products, but why doesn't Nice Guy point this out? Because he trusts Salesman, even if all his emotions are misplaced. Nice Guy fell prey to the obvious truth, that Salesman was playing him for a fool.

So being nice means nothing?
Both yes and no. I am in no way saying kindness is, in and of itself, a useless trait. If all people lacked kindness, the world would have ended a long time ago. Be courteous to others, and sacrifice your time for those who really matter. Everything mentioned above is in the case where people are TOO nice, and that is the only time when it is a problem. Nobody likes a jackass, right?

Unfortunately, I have seen the word "nice" thrown around to an extent where it seems like it is no longer a compliment. What are they implying when they say someone is nice? Often, it implies that they have no personality to speak of. If you're not outgoing, you're just nice. If you don't have a great sense of humor, you're just nice. If you have no discernible personality, you're just nice. But what is the reasoning behind this? Well, they are only there for other people. People go to the nice guy to release their sob stories. They go to the nice guy to ask for favors. They go to the nice guy when they have problems with someone who actually has personality. When a person is used solely for other people, what does that person become? The person becomes an appliance, devoid of any true qualities besides this meaningless word "nice".

This is my analysis of what happens when someone is too nice. It is what I have learned first-hand and through the experiences I've had with various people. I realize it may all sound very depressing, but reality is harsher than what one might want it to be.


  1. Oh man, a depressing read. I don't think being "nice" is necessarily an extension of being weak, as long as they aren't TOO nice like you said. If the situation calls for it, being nice can lead to some pretty good things happening. We are all shaped by our experiences though, so to each their own. ^^

  2. Yeah it is a pretty depressing read. Though I was in a pretty shit mood, so understand ^_^

  3. You're right on many points, but I think you're confusing 'nice' with 'stupid' or 'weak' or even 'selfish'.

    Nice guys often come out ahead in life because they develop a network of people and a good reputation. You'd be surprised how vitally important that is in a community (and industry). As people grow older and more jaded, there is greater demand for an honest diplomat. True nice guys are often better off in life than the terrifyingly vicious.

    An important thing for nice guys is to be realistic about yourself and the world. A nice guy cannot help all out there, so he must learn to triage. Who needs your help most? This should prompt him to think more about the motives of others and better know what he wants himself. Being ripped off is not a sign of being nice; it's a sign of being stupid. A nice person knows when to say 'no' or avoid trouble (like anybody else with any sense or pride).

    He must also realize (as you seem to have learned) that many in the world will not reciprocate, so he should ask 'why am I trying to help out?' If you're being nice in anticipation of future benefit or for fear of rejection, then you're not really being nice. Rather, you're just in it for yourself, but by surreptitious means.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being good or nice. However, know that being weak is not the same as being nice. Being stupid (then being bitter about it) is not the same as being nice. There are too many in the world who flatter themselves into believing they're 'nice' when they're something incomparably more pathetic. Being nice means helping others and the world because you have the wherewithal to do so and because you will it. Most don't have what it takes to be a true nice guy. I hope you do.

    1. I agree with you on virtually all of your points, except for maybe what I'm confused about.

      I think my issue, at the time I wrote this article, was that I was using the word "nice" to mean weak or naive. I basically assumed that everybody would understand if I substituted the word instead of making it clear.

      I wasn't exactly confusing nice for weak; I was basically making my opinion concrete in that I see the word "nice" very differently. I realize there is absolutely nothing wrong with being good or kind.

      So yeah, for anyone who's still stumbling upon this three year old post. My older work tends to lag behind in proofreading, so here's my input.