Does being nice come at a personal cost?

Are you being nice or are you being kind? You might ask, what is the difference?


There are many sentences where either nice or kind will suffice but when we check in with our own behaviours, leaning towards kindness is the recommendation. We could save so much heartache if we act with kindness rather than niceness.

Nice is described as people-pleasing, agreeable, and delightful. This can often be at a cost of self-sacrifice where putting others' needs before our own.

Kind is having, showing or proceeding from benevolence. People who are helpful, generous and think of others' feelings. Although you can be kind and put yourself first, and still say ‘no thank you’.

Many of us are raised to be nice, pleasant and not to disappoint, yet the outcome can be detrimental to our own well-being. We are wired to be accepted and the fear of rejection can cause us to do things we would rather not. Ultimately, we want to be liked and receive others' approval before our own.

This subject often arises with my clients, usually women, who in families and society are raised to be nice so that they are liked. To avoid upsetting others, including family members they suffocate their own needs and wants to pacify others.

Being nice can often be inauthentic, where we are physically present but intrinsically would rather not be. We may internally be frustrated, resentful and possibly unfair on the person/s that we are attempting to please.

Have you ever met someone for a drink, coffee or another activity and you just know that they do not really want to be there? It can feel very uncomfortable and depleting, so the kind action would be to politely and respectfully decline the invitation.

With all the demands put upon us as adults, our downtime is precious, and it is important that we spend it with the people that we benefit from spending time with. Continuing to put others before yourself will eventually leave you depleted.

We often go to an event, an interview, a party or even a date with the nice voice saying, "will they like me?". Whereas a kind voice will quietly whisper "will I like them?”.

To be kind comes from the heart, there is no hidden motive, you just do it because it feels good to be kind. The recipient organically benefits.

You can be kind and explain to someone they have overstepped boundaries. You can be kind and still decline an invitation, leave a job or end a relationship. Be kind to yourself first and foremost.

This might seem brutal but periodically review who you spend your time with. If you continuously hang up the phone or drive home feeling deflated or even bruised, then it is time to part company. Often we can have people in our lives that the only thing we have in common is our past. No arguments are required just a sidestep and remind yourself that your self-care is your priority.

Working on identifying your values and setting boundaries accordingly is a lengthy soul-searching exercise but so worth the time and effort and a good coach will encourage you to audit this. To wave goodbye to old inherited habits and to design a new solid footprint will protect you moving forward.

When you have these as a blueprint you will not need to have them printed on a t-shirt or even voice them, people will feel your energy and respect your boundaries.

When you spend time doing things that you enjoy, when you are present, light and engaged, then you supercharge your energy levels.

Voila, you can say no, you can remove people from your inner trusted circle and you can put your own needs first with confidence and kindness.

It is not selfish but self-preservation, be kind!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB
Written by Esther Limberg, Solution focused tools to enable you to live your best life!
Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB

Esther Limberg.fctc

As a Fusion Therapeutic Life Coach I able to share life changing tools. To enable clients to manage anxiety, lift depression and make the necessary life changes to be happy.

My sessions are life changing, informative and most of all fun.

*website is currently under review so please message me with any questions, thank you.

Show comments

Find a coach dealing with Personal development

All coaches are verified professionals

All coaches are verified professionals