This is a lesson that I can’t preach enough. Being nice to people is a basic rule for a better life. Be better to others and others will be better to you. But there is one caveat that comes with being nice to people. You must do it for the right reasons. Or else it won’t be as impactful. In fact, it may even become controversial. Allow me to explain.
Doing something nice for someone means you should give up thinking about yourself in that moment. Because if you are being nice to someone, then it shouldn’t be about you. It should rather be about the receiving party. If you are doing something nice for someone and are expecting something in return, then you don’t understand what being nice means. This happens with couples especially all the time. It’s a main reason for divorces and breakups. One side does something nice to the other side only to hope for the same or better treatment in return. And then when the “expected” nice treatment doesn’t come back, there becomes tension. This is a type of mind game. Someone does something nice, but then holds it over the receiving party’s head as if they owe them something. That’s not how this should work. You may think this is being nice, but in fact it’s a selfish act.
Doing something nice should only be about one person. It should be about who you are being nice to. No one else. Get rid of any expectations of receiving something in return because these expectations may let you down or build up over time and cause tension. Do things for others, not for yourself.
Doing something nice for someone while expecting something in return can also be considered a form of manipulation. And it doesn’t last in relationships of any kind. If you see your friend, family member, co-worker, or significant other being nice to you, then becoming disappointed that you didn’t respond the way he or she expected you to, then you know that their nice act did not come from a place of unselfishness or compassion. Instead, it came from selfishness and greed. This is bad sign when this happens because it will work on many people. But if you happen to see this happen, then you should try to limit your time with whoever is doing it. At some point they will turn to you and be nice to you, just to try and get something back from you. They may expect something physical or emotional in return. They may be trying to be nice to you to use your emotional support in return.
Be very aware of the reason why certain people are being nice. Obviously we all want to see people being nice to each other, but let’s make sure it’s for the right reasons. Let’s make sure it’s from a place of unselfishness and compassion and not out of greed or manipulation. The next time you are trying to be nice to someone, try focusing on making it about them. Because it’s not about you. Don’t let your ego get in the way of being nice. Spread joy and you will find the right people that feel the same way as you do.