Nice vs. Kind

Weird but true! Being nice and kind are NOT the same thing. And when we are the "nice" girl, we aren’t necessarily being kind. Definitely not to ourselves and perhaps not even to the people around us.  

The word "nice" is derived from Latin word "nescius" which means ignorant. Before the past couple hundred years, "nice" wasn't used the way we use it now. In the past, being "nice" meant that you were “wanton”, “lewd”, “dissolute” (promiscuous), or “coy”. Whereas nowadays it’s generally used to mean "pleasant" or "agreeable". 

Let's move on to the word "kind". "Kind" is derived from the old English word "cynd" and "cynn", and the Middle English word "kinde". All of these words mean "nature" or "kinship". So the word "kind" is the same now as it was in the past, meaning having a sympathetic, helpful nature. Being forbearing, gentle, affectionate, and loving.

Okay, I hear you. You're saying, "Isn’t this just semantics? Aren’t they still the same thing?"

I'm not sure they are. Although many people believe the two words are interchangeable, they certainly are not.

Think about it.

"Hey! Nice hat!" No one would ever yell out, "Hey! Kind hat!"

I believe words matter because our brains are very concrete. Words guide how we think about things, ourselves, situations, and abilities.

But even if you don't buy that, these two words still look subtly different in how they are used today in  our modern world. And, to me, it seems somewhat related to their origins.

Today, the word "kind" looks giving. There is a quality of being generous, genuine, compassionate, and authentic. As for "nice", we are often nice in order to get praise and acceptance. Like its old meanings, we still often use "nice" when we are trying to get something in a subservient manner.

So, yes, there IS a difference between being nice and being kind. Which one do you want?

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