Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2010 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Jason Dean and Simon Free and Alison Huselid and Josh Adams and John Mason
Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2010 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Jason Dean@JasonPDean ) , Simon Free@simonfree ) , Alison Huselid , Josh Adams@jladams97 ) , and John Mason@john_mason_ )

Never Be Conflicted About Being Nice

By Ben Nadel on

I know that this is not a technical post, but I don't have much technical to say today so I thought I would drop this in here. If for no other reason, it is a post to remind myself of my own beliefs (and therefore to follow them more closely). I just wanted to say that you should never be conflicted about being nice to someone. I have definitely had moments in my life where I really wanted to do something nice for someone or say something complimentary to them and have been very hesitant to do so. I am not sure where this conflict comes from. Perhaps it is rooted in a fear of judgement - as in, will my actions be judged negatively even though their intent in good?

After having gone through this inner turmoil many times, and often erring on the side of being nice, of doing the right thing, I can say that it has never led me astray. Yes, it has, from time to time, gotten me into some slightly complicated situations; but I have never done a good thing for someone and regretted doing it. If you think about it, the very concept of being fearful of performing niceties is silly. Put yourself in the other person's shoes; who wouldn't want something nice done for them? Ok, maybe Dr. Cox on Scrubs, but even he cracks from time to time. The bottom line is, everyone has a huge desire to feel important and having something nice done for them is a very easy way to help that feeling be satiated.

So, just a mental note to myself - learn from your past; never hesitate to do something nice for someone if you have an urge to do so. Even if you are afraid that they will find your gesture totally idiotic, realize that they will still come away from it feeling special.

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Reader Comments

I was hoping that you would side on the being "nice" as it came to me plea for help on the send a json request in a post to a solar webbox device :)



I always aim to be nice - to not treat people the way *I* wouldn't want to be treated.

Being nice is generally easy, too.


Nice compliment #1.
You're so nice, and that's why you're so great!

Nice compliment #2.
You know, Ben, every morning I come in to work, and if my boss (who sits right next to me) isn't in yet, I feel I have a bit of time to run through all the CF blog posts via (it's educational, right?). Based solely on the headlines, I skip over the vast majority of blog entries... usually cuz they're describing something I've previously learned or it's not really CF related. Those two reasons rarely apply to your posts, as they're nearly always relevant to something I've recently worked on, or will need to work on soon; and even if it's a subject I think I know fairly well, the fact that you dive deep into the guts of the code means that I inevitably learn something new about programming, why or how it works a certain way, or maybe I'll get a juicy nugget about whether "I am Legend" is worth watching or at least I'll get a cheap thrill from one of your CF "ads". Keep it comin', bro.

#1 or #2?

moral: heartfelt specificity is nicer than "general" niceness.


Yes, but do especially women want the nice guy all the time? i don't think so. Sometimes it is good to do some that anybody would expect from you!


Agreed. This is not a matter of being nice all the time. I am just saying, if you ever do get that urge to do something nice, don't hesitate. This is purely about fighting the urge to squash the nice desires.

I think being nice can be tricky. People from all over the world live in the U.S…having different backgrounds, beliefs, customs…What I perceive as nice may not be perceived in the same positive regard by someone else? But I hate the feeling of regret when I hesitated to do something nice for someone…so, I say hell with it and be nice if you feel like it :)

@ Ben,

I know how you feel when you'd like to show your good side to someone, being nice so to speak, but they take with skepticism. The main thing to remember, it's not your good intentions that provoke them to be that way, but someone who was skeptical towards them before.
So, basically, you are right, Ben, doing nice things when you feel like it is a good thing no matter what. It does matter who thinks what of you, as long as you think highly of yourself.

I know it's a cliche to say, but oh so true: Learn to love yourself first for being nice to others, and in return people will love you back for that as well and return the favor.

Keep on posting good stuff!

Sincerely, Aliksandra.

Donßt you think it all depends on the correct mixture? Be nice, when someone really needs your help, and allow yourself not to be mean, when the situation allows to be mean. Got my point?


Agreed. I am not saying be nice all the time. I am simply saying that if you *want* to be nice, just do it - don't worry about how it will be taken or how you will be judged, as in my experience, it always works out well.

We have a site all about being nice and we've started a "Nice Movement" to combat all of the self-centered culture we live in. If you get a chance, please check out and remember, "Nice Starts Here"!