I watched a video the other day by a girl called Tessa Violet that was called ‘What is love?’ She spoke about how in the English language there is no distinction between the feeling of love and the act of loving. I thought it was very interesting and something I’d never thought about before. Here’s the link if you want to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXk6LqvlgKs. Anyway, she also touched on the difference between being nice and being kind. Ever since I was 11 or 12, the difference between nice and kind has been something in the back of my mind. So when I watched Tessa’s video in which she brought it up, I was inspired to write about it.
I think the word ‘nice’ is a dead word. When I was in year 6 and 7, my teacher basically banned us from using the word and if at any point someone used it, he would really rant about it for a hot minute. Since then, I have always refrained from using the word ‘nice’ in writing (sometimes it just comes out while speaking), so I guess that means he taught me well. I remember in particular one time he asked the class what nice meant. He said ‘If I say someone is nice, what does that mean?’. Someone responded saying that it means they are kind. My teacher then said, ‘so if I say “that is a nice house” it means that is a kind house?’. This was my first real insight into the difference between nice and kind and I’ve never forgotten this.
Nice is another one of those words, similar to ‘weird‘, that is used so often that it has lost its meaning. There are different words that would be far better fitting to individual situations that we should be using instead of nice. However, I don’t believe that kind is one of those words, as not every nice person is kind, and not every kind person is nice.
Here is the difference from a dictionary’s perspective:
Nice: (adj.) giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive.
Kind: (adj.) having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.
You may think at first glance that if you are considerate, friendly and generous, then of course you could be labelled as nice, because those characteristics in a person are pleasant or attractive. I agree with this, but only sometimes. I think it goes far deeper than that. Being kind doesn’t always mean that you are going to please, or satisfy every person you talk to, are friends with, or know. Constantly being agreeable and supportive are very pleasant and attractive characteristics but it doesn’t mean that you are being kind to that person. Say, you have a friend who you think has an issue with something. A relationship, an addiction, anything. Being nice is to continue being pleasant and supportive of them, even if you think they have a problem. Being kind is being honest and bringing it up with them, discussing it with them and expressing your concern. Because in doing that you are being considerate of them. You are caring for them. You are thinking about what is going to be good for them and what is going to make their life better, instead of what will please or satisfy them in the current moment. That is kindness: being honest and having someone’s best interest at heart. If being kind to someone means perhaps being a bit harsh, or not necessarily nice, then that’s what it takes. Nice is comfortable. But to be kind, sometimes you need to step outside of that comfort.
I suppose the question is, is it better to be nice or kind? I think it’s always better to be honest and kind to those closest to us, because if we aren’t going to be, then who is? However, I think nice and kind each have a place in certain situations, so if a person can be both nice and kind and know when each fits, then perhaps that is best.