What the hell is wrong with ‘nice’?

What the hell is wrong with 'nice'?

There is not a person alive who would describe me as ‘nice’. It’s too mild to fully encompass the more mercurial aspects of my personality and while it might surprise you, I’m not perfect.

However, there are many synonyms for the word ‘nice’ that are entirely aspirational. I’d be quite chuffed if people thought of me as ‘swell’, or ‘dandy’, or even ‘copacetic’ seeing as it encompasses being ‘all right’ and ‘A-OK’.  I do try and be ‘kind’, though ‘charming’ isn’t a word that is associated with my kind of sarcastic riposte and ‘peachy’ makes me vomit in my mouth a little.

I’m the kind of person that likes people. For no reason.

I say hello to strangers, compliment people on their outfits in elevators, offer to have their kids around, chat to people at bus stops, volunteer to do stuff. Some of my best anecdotes come from conversations with strangers, and I have friends to this day I met long ago at bus stops.

I know right? Weirdo.

Just so you don’t think I’m actually Delta Goodrem – I also dislike people. Sometimes people I haven’t met like Dutton or Morrison or The new Mrs Snapchat. Sometimes I dislike people that have been arsehats to my friends. And sometimes, yes, I have judged you for your inability to spell Shardoneigh correctly when you bestowed it upon your newborn.

But being the kind of person that likes people is becoming a bit of an oddity apparently. Women that like other women are viewed with particular suspicion. In a Facebook group the other day a woman asked for advice about a new friend that was spreading the word about her new business.  “I have just started up a business doing X. I recently met ‘Jane’ through another friend and we just clicked. However, she’s been telling people about my new business and promoting it through her networks and even offered some time to help me package up orders. I can’t help think that she wants something. What do you guys think?”

And just like that, it was ON like DONKEY KONG. Comment after comment by women urging her to exercise caution, not to trust people who are nice for no reason, surmising that ‘Jane’ was out to steal her business or only wanted freebies, to watch out for her relationship because ‘Jane’ sounded like a husband stealer, that ‘Jane’ obviously had no friends and was a needy bitch, a bunny boiler and so on.

What the hell is wrong with 'nice'?

Is it just me or have we all gone feckin’ mental when somebody being helpful and friendly is viewed with mistrust and suspicion? It sounds to me like ‘Jane’ was just trying to be a good friend – a supportive one even.

The ramifications for the compulsively social are huge! Every time you say to somebody at the school gates ‘Hey, lovely day’ or ‘Wassup?’ are they inwardly thinking ‘GET AWAY FROM MY HUSBAND YOU MANGY BITCH’. When you offer to lend them a hand are they hitting the panic button that says “I KNOW YOU WANT ALL MY THINGS”. When you post a comment on a picture of your friend’s graduation photo saying “Well done lovely lady” are they building a bigger fence to protect their bunnies?

There is enough tomfuckery out there in the world that is actually ‘not nice’ without us assigning dastardly meaning to every word spoken by folk who just happen to be genuinely interested in the people around them. Worse is when we are assigning dastardly meaning to the genuinely nice people out there who just can’t help themselves and have to smile and say good morning and be helpful.

Being a decent person should be celebrated, not scorned. Being an amicable, friendly soul is a strength, not a weakness.  Women that help other women should be lifted up and not torn apart. Women that help women that help women that help women make the world a really interesting, and positive place to be.

What’s NOT to love about people that make the world a better place just by being in it?

The world is full of charming, kind and good people who just go about their lives being charming, kind and good and we should be loving them sick. So to all of you out there who are just trying to be the best version of yourself most of the time – well here’s to you.

You’re awesome. And I trust you implicitly with my friends, my husband and my…. Err bunny.

What the hell is wrong with 'nice'?

Written By

Alison Hallworth is the Director of Elverson Social, blogger-in-chief at Talking Frankly and is actively opposed to apathy. She is passionate about the power of positive social interactions and their impact on individuals, businesses and human rights. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, branding, and social media, and ‘apparently’ talks too much. She is an admirer of wordsmiths, quirky thinking, equality, chutzpah and kindness.

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