Welcome, Nice People!

The Meaning of NiceYou are nice, aren’t you? Not the bland, ho-hum nice that earned you a gold star in kindergarten, but the new, juicy kind of nice—caring, courteous, generous, loyal, involved, humorous. A mensch, in other words. The Nice Report is dedicated to uncovering the mensch in us all.

“But isn’t being nice out of sync with what’s going on in the world today?” you might ask. Just look at the not-so-nice challenges across the planet: economic woes, political upheaval, natural and man-made disasters. America is in the throes of the most contentious presidential race in recent history. Congress is deadlocked by two parties that can’t—or won’t—find common ground. On a personal level, we’ve never been ruder. Or maybe we’re just distracted, so wrapped up in our iPhones and iPads that we forget to extend basic courtesy to one another. Meaningful conversation? That’s so last year.

The Nice Report thinks otherwise. It’s not all a jungle out there. There are nice people everywhere—even in New York City, recently voted the rudest city in America. The Nice Report, and my new book, The Meaning of Nice: How Compassion and Civility Can Change Your Life (and the World), take the view that being nice is a skill that anybody can develop or improve. Being nice can be as simple as holding doors and saying “thank you,” or as complex as negotiating peace on a global scale. It all comes down to consideration for others, and for other points of view.

The kind of nice we’re talking about here is forthright, practical, never smarmy, embarrassing, or dull. The Nice Report supports any effort to turn off our inner nasty and embrace our inner nice. Together we can return a little civility to the world.

 At the Nice Report, you’ll find:

  •  The Daily Nice. Up-to-the-minute reporting on the nice, not-so-nice, and downright nasty, as covered in the media, online and off. Plus, I’ll be blogging on the good and the bad, the kind and the snarky, as I come across it.
  •  Share Your Stories. You’re invited to contribute tales of your encounters with the nice and not-so-nice. Tell us about spontaneous acts of kindness or generosity, exemplary people or organizations, courtesy and rudeness in daily life.
  •  Take the Be Nicer Challenge. Commit to being nicer for an hour, a day, a week, a month, or the rest of your life. Post reports on your progress. Help build a culture of civility.

There’s no one right way to be nice; it varies with individuals, families, and cultures. Being nice doesn’t mean sameness, or surrendering your personality to your parents, your boss, your mate, or the etiquette police. You can keep your quirks; just keep your elbows off the table. Minding your manners won’t make you morph into someone unrecognizable to everyone, including yourself. (Unless, perhaps, you were a troll to begin with, and in that case, being nice will provide much-needed polish.)

The new nice doesn’t require us to be perfectly nice either. We just have to give nice a try.