Is it as Simple as Just Being Nice?


Is it as Simple as Just Being Nice?

How we treat people makes such a difference – in business and personal life. It really is as simple as ‘just being nice’, and you may just be surprised how good it makes you feel.


Nice person: Somebody who does things for other people without benefit to themselves.

I recently wrote a post on social media about finding myself assisting a young man in an emergency. 

Saturday morning, out for a morning jog – a little later than usual so there we lots of people out and about. A beautiful sunny morning, swimmers enjoying the ocean, littlies playing nearby, a family enjoying a barbecue breakfast and others just passing the time. I ran past the amenity block and noticed a man lying in the garden. Odd I thought, a strange place to enjoy the sunshine. Something told me to turn back and check. 

The young man was unconscious and laying oddly. Everyone had been walking by – possibly not wanting to be involved or too afraid to get close. Once I started attending to him, a young lady came over to assist. That’s when the onlookers decided it was okay to gather around. They were happy then to speak out telling me what I should do and what they thought may have happened. What they could have done is to ‘be nice’.

I’m not getting into the nitty-gritty of it, just the fact that people were choosing to ignore. It wasn’t even as if the guy ‘looked scary’. He was well dressed, clean, neat hair – of course, not that this should make a difference. Most onlookers were judgmental and definitely not just being nice.

I hope that I, my loved ones and friends would have strangers stop and help if they were in trouble – to show some kindness and ‘be nice’. If you feel you cannot assist for whatever reason, take the time to stop someone nearby and ask them would they assist. Just think, imagine if that was you laying there, and no one stopped.

This morning I’ve found myself sitting, reflecting on why people can’t just ‘be nice’? 

A smile as you walk past someone, a good-morning, a hello – just some sort of acknowledgement. It is easy to be self-focused and not take in what is around you. 

I always have thought myself as a ‘nice person’, but I’ve realised that’s not always been the case albeit unintentionally, especially when busy in work mode. 

I’m lucky that I get to work in varied workplaces. A range of small and medium businesses from professional services to manufacturing and with that comes that sense of responsibility to not just turn up and do what I’m paid to do but to ‘be nice’ to everyone.

I don’t have to form great friendships and get into full on conversations, I mean I need to acknowledge the employees, say hello, how are you? Words that make people feel ‘nice’ but mean it when I say it.

I realised I was not simply ‘just being nice.’

I’ve recently been consulting in a manufacturing environment where there are several low skilled workers. I found myself being judgmental – not being horrible to anyone just simply ignoring these workers.

I was looking at their exterior of general scruffy appearance, teeth needing attention and clothes that were a little worse for wear. It took but one of these workers to turn this around. 

After being there for several days on and off, I walked onto the shop floor one morning and was greeted with a “good morning, how are you”. I was surprised and responded back only to be met with more greetings.  It didn’t take long before we were having a general banter and chit chat whenever I was there. 

These guys were friendly, down to earth blokes that just happened to be a little rough around the edges.

Who was I to judge, but worse, how dare I not show kindness and respect as I would if I had walked into a corporate office?

I know it was an unconscious judgement, but it still happened. When I realised, I wasn’t just nice, and I felt so disappointed in myself.

Can you be too nice?

In the business world, some believe if you are too nice, you will be seen as a pushover. You can be assertive and have your own viewpoint but still, be nice – just be aware of self. Allowing yourself to be nice to others is an endearing trait, but remember to take the time to be nice to yourself as well. 

Trying to give too much with a focus on others can lead to an unhealthy, unhappy you. Don’t let the wrong people drain your emotions and your time. 

So being nice can have its own set of difficulties, but difficulties I believe can be worked with when you are aware. I’ve had many people ‘being nice’ to me in business. Some have given helpful advice, pointed out when I’ve been going off track and also told me when I’m doing well.

In this sometimes-difficult world of business, what a difference we could make if we were all consciously nicer to each other and to those we don’t know. What can you do in your business today to ‘be nice’, it’s worth that little effort.

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