Don’t teach your kids to be nice

Shaylee Edwards
3 min readMay 19, 2023


Being nice isn’t always nice.

Most people who are nice to be nice (rather than nice out of sincere and sustainable caring) become tortured by this self-imposed protocol. They do things they don’t want to. They say things they don’t mean. They defer their inclinations, instincts, and interests to accommodate people who likely don’t care or are stuck in the same martyr pattern.

Original Photo, New Orleans 2022

I’m not saying be mean. I’m saying being nice-for-nice’s-sake keeps people in dynamics, relationships, and jobs they would have naturally left or evolved through honest participation.

What is nice really? What do we actually mean to do?

I think the true point is to remember that other people are people, too. We all are important. It’s being considerate of someone else’s experience. The wear and tear of nice-for-nice’s-sake show up when that consideration is at the expense of your own experience, your own truth.

We only think that our own truth isn’t nice though, right? Isn’t it kind of nice to know what’s really going on? Isn’t sorta nice to be given the opportunity to respond to what someone really thinks and feels? Isn’t it a bit nicer if we give ourselves and each other the grace to be human and not take things so personally?

Being nice to others without being honest with yourself and in your expression isn’t actually nice. It’s control.

Being honest in your expression doesn’t mean you’re out there knocking over other people’s sandcastles. You’ll likely be more considerate of others than when you were nice because you’d have a framework for respect… because you respect yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have.

As your behavior moves to more authentically represent your actual preferences and feelings, your life will reorganize toward people, circumstances, and things that you truly like and enjoy. Which makes tending to them a lot easier and life a lot more exciting, right?

How to implement:

  • Be curious.
  • Start to respect your own experience by paying attention to how you feel.
  • Breathe more.
  • When your mind is doing mind stuff, breathe even more.
  • Practice to taking things less personally from others.
  • Try not to explain yourself as much.
  • Experiment with sharing what’s true for you.
  • Breathe so much more more more.

Remember the point of being nice is to respect others. The transition here is to have that more truly represent what you feel, which is actually more respectful of you AND them than fronting. There is, of course, a lot of nuance in this arena so allow yourself grace and time as you come to learn how to participate more authentically in the world around you.

Thank you for reading ‘n being ❤

I’m delighted to produce original content for people who know they’ve got something inside ’em to give. Hey & love @ new world leaders

Visit to book a free info call or schedule a session to transform your communication patterns