Life

How Kind are You? In a World Where Being Nice is the Bare Minimum, Let’s Be Kind

Nonggol Darapati
3 min readNov 10, 2023

Kindness requires strength

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Growing up, did your parents ever told you that you had to be nice to others? Or that if you have nothing nice to say, it’s better not to say anything at all?

For years, I had always thought this was the golden rule to live by.

Then again, it could just be the Asian part of me. However, as I reached into adulthood, I began to see that being nice wasn’t always the right thing to do.

If you have always thought that niceness and kindness are the same thing. You’re not the only one. However, nothing could be further than the truth.

Being nice is often fueled by selfish reasons and motivations. A person could be nice because they expect acknowledgement and something in return. For example, helping a neighbor wash his car in the driveway for the entire neighborhood to see is being nice.

Recently, I heard a podcast interview featuring Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of Kind snacks. He shared that being kind takes a lot more courage than being nice. Being nice however is easier to do. When we are nice, simply keeping silent and smiling is being nice.

Being complacent is being nice. He recounted the story of his father who as a child was nearly executed along with his family for their beliefs. However, due to the kindness of their landlord, who stepped in to intervene, his family was saved.

In this case, the landlord could have been nice and just say “I’m sorry that this is happening to you” but in that moment, the landlord chose to be kind and intervened.

Today, our society seems to have lost most of its kindness.

Any action being done to help others is often motivated to focusing on our own needs. Whether it needs to be caught on social media for likes and going viral, or expecting something in return.

I like to think of being kind as helping others when no one is watching. Especially when it is not beneficial to us in anyway. We just do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Helping others with no benefit to ourselves is often a strange and forgotten notion in a world churning with content, filled with gurus and influencers. But the world still needs acts of kindness. It still needs people to go the extra mile and help others simply because we can.

In a world filled with so much hurt today, isn’t it time that we are all kinder to each other? Providing help to one another instead of being nice, and just putting on a good smile?

The difference between nice and kind goes even deeper. Being nice may come from a place of selfishness, pride or entitlement. A nice person often expects something in return.

Another difference between being nice and being kind, is that being kind will cost us something. It’s not free. It will create greater impact to others, but it comes with a price for us.

The price of kindness is often time, and effort. Two of the most precious and intangible commodity for mankind.

Being nice however costs nothing. Keeping silent in nice, it’s efficient, and quick and you go about your day. Being kind however, requires an honest conversation and taking the time to a response or a reaction from the other person.

In a world filled with negativity, let’s make a difference in someone’s life and be kind simply because it’s the right thing to do.

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