Is "being nice" an overrated virtue?

Truth and Honesty are better virtues to follow. If you really love someone, you will be honest with them and correct them because you want them to become better (who wouldn’t want a loved one to improve). It might be hard, it might be painful, but a harsh truth is better and more useful than a comforting lie.
“Niceness” is a way of applying truth. It shouldn’t really stand alone as that provides an opportunity to compromise truth. In light of the virtue of truth, is the question of how you act it out and apply it. Niceness can be a way of dulling the pain of some kinds of truths. Bluntness can be too harsh for people and can actually obfuscate the truth.

All things being equal, be nice. But otherwise, be truthful and honest.

Should being nice be a thing to strive for? Yes.
Is it a chief virtue? No, not even close.


With all due respect, imagine telling Jesus this on the day of the judgement and his reaction. This always gets me to step up my game.

People seem to either go with the fluffy teddy bear version of Christianity, or Jesus-in-the-temple version, and we all seem to forget that Christ honestly had a mixture of both. He was a kind and compassionate man to sinners, he just knew when to be firm and when to smile and focus on making sure the other feels loved first.

On my desk I keep a small statue of Christ carrying His cross. It helps me remember to “bless them who curse me” and to “love my enemies”.


This song plays in my head often:

Yes, but we have to eat and rest too to keep up our strength in order to carry our crosses.

“They will know you by your love” - Jesus of Nazareth, circa 30 AD/CE

Maybe you’re doing it wrong?

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Maybe although bad guys always hate nice guys unless they can get something from them. There was one woman at work, an atheist who would use God’s name in vain all the time, when she was around me and did it she would always apologise (it seemed sincere), to everyone else they start to view you as someone who hates gays and associates with paedophiles (their words). Being nice changes nothing although if I wasn’t nice I could stop it by lowering myself to their level. As a an when you are nice people think you want something and don’t trust you. Bad guys have women buzzing around them all the time and men want to be like them. Maybe it’s different in your country?

Being nice? I think, on the contrary, being either indifferent or rude is regarded as a virtue in present-day Western culture.

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Are we talking here about being nice to people or nice to women, specifically?

My thought, too. As I think about it, I have gotten ahead (or things turned out in my favor) often times for no other reason than I was nice (I am sure).

Both although women are worse especially in the workplace because they are untouchable.

It’s different for men and women, my wife is nice to people and succeeds.

Not my experience, at all. When my husband is nice to people he gets much further than he does when he is just neutral.

He even admits it. For him, he has to decide to be overtly nice. It is a choice. He is a nice guy overall, but he isn’t overtly nice to strangers, etc.

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Certainly being nice and kind is not only a virtue, but failing to do so goes against the second greatest commandment. Loving our neighbors is not an emotion, it is an willful act.

Being ‘nice,’ is another adjetive for being charitable, which one of the theological virtues

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John 13:34-35 - I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This is what Jesus taught us, so I don’t think its overrated. :slight_smile:

Sometimes even Jesus was very sorrowful and would pull away from others to find another personal place of peace.

It’s called being human and Jesus was human on earth.

Being nice is not the same as humble. A murder can be nice to another person even though he’s just murdered someone moments before.

Sometimes in our deepest moments of pain we are at our most humbleness to others. That humbleness is what Jesus asked us to be.

For many younger people (under 30?) being nice is equivalent to “not hurting my feelings.” If you say something which is the Truth, and it’s something they don’t agree with, then “you aren’t being nice because what you said hurts my feelings. And oh-by-the way, what you just said is hate speech. Prepare to be sued.”

Of course there may be many ways to speak the Truth, but it seems that to not hurt people’s feelings, it needs to be turned into small “t” not quite the whole Truth / my opinion / gosh I’m really sorry that this might offend you / trigger warning…etc.

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It’s not just what you say. It’s how you say it.
A good example is St Hugh of Lincoln. He had problems with the king. The king had promised the Church money and it either didn’t have it or it was being withheld probably out of spite. St Hugh was before the king and the subject of the money that everybody knew about was brought up. Rather than issuing a condemnation or complaining like so many others had done. St Hugh said words to the effect that, “I know that the king is a man of his word, and he will do what he has promised to do.”

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