How to Be Nice to Others

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Being nice to others is a way of showing good will and boosting morale. Nice people typically send out positive energy and show compassion, while still taking care of their own needs. The nicest people have great awareness -- both of their own emotions and those of others.

Emanate Positivity

Giving off positive energy is an easy way to be nice. People who are warm, show interest in others, and offer appreciation are naturally easier to get along with than those who exude negativity, writes clinical psychologist Susan Heitler in the Psychology Today article "10 Things to Say to Generate Good Feelings." Offering a positive outlook on life can be invigorating and refreshing for those around you. Heitler notes that starting your sentences in certain ways can be helpful. For example, using words such as "Yes," "I agree," "I appreciate," and "I like," set you up to have more positive conversations. For example, you might say to your wife "Yes, I'd like to go out for dinner. I agree that we should eat around 7. I appreciate you making the reservation. I like that restaurant."

Show Empathy

Nice people know how to take the perspective of others and offer empathy and assistance, writes licensed clinical professional counselor Joyce Marter in the Psych Central article "10 Ways to Evolve & Be a Better Person." Before you speak or take action, put yourself in the shoes of the other person and consider her needs and feelings. For example, if a new neighbor is sitting alone at a community fundraiser, introduce yourself and make small talk. If a family member is struggling with an illness, offer to do chores around her house or bring over a home-cooked meal.

Listen Actively

Be nice to others through active empathic listening (AEL), as described by psychology professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne, in the Psychology Today article "11 Ways That Active Listening Can Help Your Relationships." AEL involves sensing a person's meaning, both in terms of the words that are spoken and nonverbal signals, processing what is said, and responding with questions to clarify meaning. For example, if a friend is telling you about an upcoming job interview, you might notice the tension in her voice and offer words of encouragement. To make sure you understand her concerns, you might say something like "It sounds like going on the interview is making you nervous. What are you most worried about?"

Be Authentic

Niceness can be a trap. If you've grown up as the "nice" girl or boy, you may have learned how to squash your own feelings so that others would like you, notes author and consultant Margaret Paul, in the Huffpost Healthy Living article "Are You Being 'Good' or Are You Being 'Loving'?" While it may feel safe to ignore your own feelings in favor of meeting the needs of others, the end result is a feeling of being unappreciated, undervalued and used. Balance your niceness with a healthy dose of personal power. Learn to recognize your own feelings, needs and desires, and communicate them to others. Otherwise your nice behavior is simply a tactic to manipulate others to like you, which in the long run does a disservice to everyone involved.