nice (ex. make nice)
- pleasing; agreeable; delightful
- to behave in a friendly, ingratiating, or conciliatory manner
The semantic history of “nice” is quite varied…. If any criticism is valid, it might be that the word is used too often and has become a cliché lacking the qualities of precision and intensity that are embodied in many of its synonyms.
- charming; agreeable; pleasing
- deliberately meant to gain favor
I’m something of a blunt speaker. And truthfully, the deeper I go with Christ the bolder my words become. And guess what? I don’t care what you think about it. If you disagree, I simply look forward to the stimulating conversation to follow – that is, if you’re strong enough in your view point to allow discourse.
Before the shift in my spiritual life took place, which was also pre-New York, I was well known as a “nice” girl with a very diplomatic tongue. My diplomacy has since all but disappeared. Which sometimes puts me in uncomfortable situations. As a result, I am now trying to adjust for the lack of diplomacy by only speaking my viewpoint when asked. This year has been a great training in holding my tongue – a much needed lesson in temperance. However, at the same time I have been saved from being “nice”.
“Nice” translates to dishonest to me. Generally, people try to be “nice” and avoid hurting your feelings by misrepresenting their feelings, their thoughts, their ideas. They misrepresent who they are. Because they are being “nice”, you end up interacting with a false representative. They smile at you, laugh with you, offer you assistance and ask about events in your life. Unless you are truly discerning, you don’t realize the smile is insincere, the laugh is hollow, they never intend to follow-through on their offer and they hope you will simply say everything is fine and go on your way.” That’s what nice people do. They want you to think of them in a pleasing way. Honest people want you to see them as they are – the good, the beautiful, the bad and the ugly and all that lies in between.
“Nice” does not equal genuine.
“Nice” does not equal truthful or honest.
“Nice” does not equal kind.
- of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person
- indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane
- mild; gentle; clement; loving; affectionate
I would much rather be known as a kind person.
A couple of months ago, I got into a debate about transparency (i.e. honesty) in communication and relationships. My position: be honest no matter where you are. Good, bad or indifferent.
The couple attacking my position were all for image control. Sharing only what they wanted someone to know about them, as they saw no reason for people to know much of anything about them.
There was another couple present and they were in favor of honesty and transparency in relationships. The woman said this and it’s been sitting with me ever since, “A person with a transparent life would not be able to communicate effectively with a person who is intent on hiding. The one is completely exposed and the other isn’t open to sharing. There’s nowhere to go in that relationship.”
When she said that, it seemed like a key had been revealed regarding my difficulty with people. Many people we interact with are too intent on hiding (their nature, lifestyle, preferences, activities, etc) to be honest about who they are or where they are in life. They don’t want you to know this, that or the other. They don’t want you to judge them lacking, unworthy or unloveable. They don’t want you to reject them, so they close themselves off and present only their public persona. Unfortunately, they’re doing themselves a grave disservice by not allowing for the opportunity to be accepted for who they truly are. Instead, they heap on reasons to avoid contact with them altogether.
Every once in a while, someone suggests to me that being “nice” is Christian. I always reply that “nice” is not mentioned once in the Bible. At which point they always appear shocked. Jesus wasn’t nice. He was honest about who He was, where He was and what His purpose was. When He was angered, the offenders were told immediately, when He was pained He talked and cried it out. He didn’t say one thing and mean another. And people who double-spoke to Him were usually called out for their effort. Yet, He was a kind, loving and compassionate person. We can be that too!
There’s so much freedom in simply being who you truly are. When you are true to your faith, beliefs, feelings – when you are honest about your experiences – you are implicitly acknowledging the gifts God has graced you with. I am so glad I’ve been saved from being “nice” and have accepted the freedom of being who I am in Christ.