Being nice vs being kind

An illustration of sunflowers against a dark sky.

When we give feedback to another person, be it at work or home, with friends or family, why do we so often default to being nice instead of being kind?

Feedback that is nice is feedback that doesn’t ruffle feathers.

Nice feedback appeases (in the short term).

Nice feedback is general and it isn’t curious. That curiosity might be mistaken for criticism, after all.

Nice feedback is perfectly polite and, equally, not really useful. It’s another way of saying “I don’t care enough to want to get into it.”

On the other hand, kind feedback might actually ruffle feathers.

That’s because kind feedback comes from a place of caring deeply about a person, a project, or a team. When you really care, you can’t help but express your truth.

Kind feedback is about saying what needs to be said even if you think the other person might not want to hear it.

Kind feedback is about an intention to make a lasting difference.

Kind feedback can be appreciative feedback (which is great), but it isn’t nice. There’s a difference.

If you really care about someone or something, be kind and skip the niceties.

3 responses

  1. It’s very hard to give kind feedback as the recipient must genuinely want your response for them to listen and absorb it!

    1. The hard thing is that they might not want/like it now, yet later on they might think about it and it could make all the difference.

      When trying to raise kids I’m doing this all the time, but it’s harder with adults. 😊

  2. Thanks for making me feel like a kind person.

Comments welcome!