~ Nice or Not? ~


Nice! (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

Seyi sandra in her November 17th post asked: “How would you…want to be remembered? Let’s say in the next five hundred years, what would people say or write about you?”

My off the cuff response was:

I would want to be remembered as kind, not nice; intelligent, not smart; loving, not dependent; hopeful not negative; encouraging not critical.

She wrote back and said that if you are kind, does that not mean you are nice?  And I so agree with her–except nice gets such a bad rap. Seems like a warmed up word that you use on people who are somewhat nondescript.

As I so often do, (I am sure you are getting weary of it) I went to my thesaurus and it provides these synonyms for nice: enjoyable, agreeable, pleasant, good, fine, lovely, amusing, wonderful, kind and polite. Alrighty then, (said in a Jim Carry voice) I change my mind—you don’t have to beat me over the head–I want to be known as nice too.  Just to take this a step further, and get on your nerves just a little more, some more synonyms for nice are respectable, genteel, seemly, and refined. I like those too, especially genteel.

It seems that nice is a nice thing to be.

So here is my revised answer to Seyi Sandra’s question:

I would want to be remembered as nice and kind, not harsh; intelligent not smart (this is a work in progress); loving not dependent; and encouraging, not critical.

 Do you have a negative connotation of nice, or are you more evolved than I and realize that it is a good way to be described?


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68 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I guess nice is nice but kind is better and I am definitely with you here!

  2. I think that nice is an over used word to a degree. “Oh, he/she is so nice. You will just love them when you meet them.” Then there is nice that is thrown around carelessly. I like kind better but who goes around saying, “oh he/she is so kind? You will just love them.”

    Actually I have never thought about it much. I heard nice a lot at my former long standing job. But it often did not mean anything. It was used way too often.

    Kind, thoughtful, respectful, dependable. I like those words a lot. There are more- but that is enough for you to read.

    A thoughtful post. (NICE instead ?)

    • I like your words–and I think nice is overused without thinking about what it really means

  3. There is a difference, or perhaps Ellen would say “be nice to one another” instead of using word kind. Kind seems to elicit more emotion and requires more thought. But I think you already embody both of those adjectives.

    • you are sweet — and I think we should be both nice and kind to each other–what other advice would you need if people followed this advice?

  4. I too agree that nice has gotten a bad rap. Certainly overused but gets the point across. I love the word “refined.” An old fashioned word I have decided to use more frequently.

    • I like refined too – sort of like eloquent — words that should be used more.

  5. And compassionate is good as well. 🙂

    • good point LuAnn! (you need an o in your name!-lol)

      • Or you need to drop yours (lol). 🙂

      • I knew you were going to say that (lol)

      • Well, at least I didn’t disappoint! 😀

      • ha ha — I expected you to fight for your names

  6. Kindness feels like a deeper form of nice. I feel like kindness describes character whereas nice describes casual behavior. Anyone can be nice but not everyone is kind. Does that make sense?

  7. i think there’s a cliche where if you’re being “set up” with someone on a date and they’re described as “nice” it’s like the kiss of death heh heh.

    i agree it’s way overused and ~ as a writer you’d probably agree ~ has no real substance when used in a descriptive sentence or phrase. no thanks, i don’t want to be known as nice, there are far more interesting words out there {oh and i would like to be known as interesting}

    • yes, they sort of took the interesting out of nice – it seems so bland–and I never went on a blind date – too much not accounted for, nice or not

  8. But – when nobody seems to know your deeply hidden wishes, they will always form their opinions on what they see, hear and feel in your presence? What else can they do?

    It’s a matter of trust! Whether you take the risk of lowering your defences and let people meet you heart to heart? And you might get hurt! But isn’t getting a life long friend worth taking some chanses?

    Looking at the alternative: If you never open up, the chanses are you’¨d end up a lonely spinster with no real friends at all? That scares the hell out of me! How about you?

  9. Nice! I married a nice guy when bad guys were in vogue and never regretted it. Well, almost never. 🙂

    • I thought I was marrying a kind of bad boy and he turned out to be a nice guy — though I knew he was nice long before I decided to continue dating him, or marry him–you find out a lot when you get to know a person

  10. Nice? I’d rather it be kind I would also like to be thought of as forgiving.

    Your writing always prompts thoughts that are so different than most blogs I like that.

    • thank you–I think if you are kind and forgiving–you have it all wrapped up neatly in a bow

  11. Nice is…well nice. To be remembered at all would be nice, but I want my tombstone to read, “You should see the other guy!”
    I agree with you, nice can seem a little nondescript, it depends on the tone I think. NICE, REAL NICE! or Oh…that’s nice. or Nice going there ace! Yeah, I tend to use nice a little too often sarcastically. I do however, end blog comments with “nice post” quite a lot and truly do mean it in the nicest way. Nice Post 🙂

    • thank you, and I take it in the best way
      Nice has all kinds of meanings–from sarcastic (I admit to using it this way), to bland, to a compliment–guess it all depends on the situation-kind of a chameleon word

  12. thoughtful. i want to be thoughtful.

  13. I have always seen nice as equalling kind – you are both 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  14. I think as long as you are happy with yourself – it all falls into place. I’m good with nice 😉

  15. This reminds me of something I read once about Laurence Olivier–he wrote his epitaph that said, “He was funny.” I never really thought of him in terms of humor but I like the idea. I’d definitely want to be thought of and remembered for being funny. I also would rather be kind than nice—nice has connotations of being a pushover, blandly pleasant. Kind feels more proactively benevolent.

    • that how I feel–people tend to think of nice as bland
      I would like to be remembered for being funny too–must go back and add that–you will have no trouble for being remembered as funny and feisty and intelligent

  16. You’re right…nice is arbitrary…It CAN mean so much but not necessarily so. If you’re ‘nice’ but not compassionate then ‘nice’ is lacking somewhat I think….Diane

    • compassion is a great thing to have–some people do not and they are lacking and only playing at being nice

  17. Interesting points! Kind feels better than nice but I’m not sure why! I suppose I agree with other commenters than nice feels bland. I’d like to be remembered as being “swell”. Funny how words with the same meaning have a different feel.

  18. ‘Nice’ has had a bad wrap over the years. The older generation love the word. If my mother asks me what my son’s new girlfriend is like I need to say ‘nice’ because nothing else would satisfy her 😉

    She’d say – ‘that’s lovely dear, as long as she’s ‘nice’.

  19. I think at some point nice got overrated and then turned into something with not-so-nice connotations. Seems to me like a lot of people would rather be anything other than nice. Maybe the English language has just grown to the point that there are much more descriptive and specific words to describe people.

    • that is very perceptive–nice has gone by the wayside as a “needed” word and seems to be used as a last resort or when we are a little “lazy”

  20. I remember that my English teacher didn’t like us to use the word nice in our essays. 🙂 I think of nice as the opposite of horrible. 🙂

    • probably because it was not descriptive enough do you think?

      • I expect so. She was trying to get us to search out more superlative adjectives, and it worked. I don’t think she would approve of awesome though. 🙂

  21. In my opinion, there is nothing bad about being nice. Nice is good. I’d like to be remembered as being nice.

  22. There’s lots of food for thought in this post–both about the meaning of the word nice and what words describe us.

    Let’s see–What words describe me? . . .

    • see-I got you thinking? off the top of my head I would say thoughtful, interesting, you seem kind, and a good writer

  23. Hmm….I have to agree “nice” sounds a little boring and impersonal, while “kind” sounds more intentional and deliberate somehow. Still, better to be “nice” than “not nice” if you know what I mean! And I definitely like your list…intelligent, loving, encouraging…great character attributes all! ~ Sheila

    • kind does seem more intentional and deliberate–kind is sort of an active description, while nice is not–a very good point

  24. Normally I don’t think twice about the word nice. My best friend, though, always says about a man she’s gone on a date with, “He’s too nice–not exciting.” For me, I would want to known as nice–because the other guys she dates end up being real jerks.

  25. Overall, and fitting the resistance of the news, I believe the world has great amount of kindness that crosses all many and most cultures.

  26. There’s nothing really wrong with nice but it’s definitely overused. As I teacher, I asked my students to use other words in their writing to convey more clearly exactly what they meant. As your list of synonyms suggests, there are lots of better words available.

    • so true–and words that conveyed something more than nice – which is so open-ended

  27. If my tombstone just says

    He never did anything truly evil

    that might be OK

  28. I think I usually think of nice as not being real; syrupy sweet while thinking bad thoughts; doing good deeds with a reward in mind.You certainly have broadened my perspective on what nice means. Good post. Thank you.

  29. I think Nice is always be nice with us… great.

  30. it seems to me nice stands still and kind moves toward people or situations. i’m with you on kind.

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