Nice Sucks. Kind Rocks.

Guest Post by Bridget Pilloud for the Kind Kindred series.

The World Waits by Rachel Awes

Nice Sucks. Kind Rocks.

I grew up in Minnesota. And in Minnesota, there is this phenomenon called Minnesota Nice. Minnesota Nice on the surface, is the ability to be nice and polite to everyone regardless of situation.

But what Minnesota nice is, really, is a strange ritual that keeps you from getting comfortable with each other.

So, for example, in Minnesota, you have to turn down something three times before you accept it, even if you want it.

Do you want coffee?
Oh no, I’m fine.

Really? It’s no trouble.
Oh no, it’s okay.

Really? I’m having a cup.
Oh well, okay then.

Growing up, I thought everyone was this way. I thought this way into adulthood. And one day, my life partner, Brian said, “Bridget, if you ask me if I want something, and I say ‘No’ , I mean ‘No’. Please stop asking.”

The other thing Minnesotans do is this habit that Brian calls “I’m Stupid Too.”

If somebody makes a mistake, you say, “Oh I did that last week.” Or “Oh, it happens to me all the time.”

You say this, because as Minnesotans we feel naturally horrible if we do anything wrong. We must cover up the gaffe of the other person by showing that we too make mistakes.

Okay, strange little quirks. Not the end of the world.

So why do I have a problem with niceness? Because in Minnesota, everybody is nice and not everybody is kind.

Everybody will be nice to your face. And then, later, through the grapevine, you’ll hear what they really think. And nice people are some of the most judgiest people you’ll meet.

Don’t get me wrong. There are lovely people in Minnesota. But not everybody is lovely.

I am lucky to have family who are kind, who taught me how to be kind.

Kindness makes a space. Kindness makes the assumption that if someone says no to coffee, they mean no, and that there is no underlying story or motive that you need to keep track of. Kindness makes a space for a person to say Yes if they want coffee on the first ask.

Kindness assumes that people make mistakes, and makes a space for that, and doesn’t rush in with a lie to help them save face.

When you are kind, there is no way for the other person to lose face. You’re honoring who they are.

Kindness is honest.

Recently, someone asked me to review a product of theirs. It was a pretty good product, but it wasn’t resonant with this person’s vast gifts. I was faced with the choice of being nice or being kind. The nice answer would have been to write a few little sentences about how much I liked it.

The kind answer was to gently tell her why I couldn’t endorse it.

I went with the kind answer. I went with the kind answer because a year from now, I don’t want to see this person wasting their time on little projects instead of bringing their awesome. If I saw that, and I had been nice, I would have contributed to the diminished effect she would have on this world.

I went with the kind answer because I can’t lie to someone to make my life temporarily less stressful. It doesn’t make for less stress in the long run.

Kindness has a long-term positive effect. Niceness can have any number of effects, and these effects are directly proportional to how much the niceness matches the inner feelings of the person who is acting nice.

Are you kind? When you have a desire to be nice, are you concerned that you won’t fit in? What happens when you make a space for yourself, for the other person, for the situation? What happens when you choose kindness?

Bridget Pilloud is an intuitive life-shifter. She creates situations of spiritual alignment for her clients, to enable them to enact positive change on the world. You can find her at & on twitter @intuitivebridge.

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