Being Nice Is Nice And All, But Being Kind Makes A Bigger Impact

Being Nice Is Nice And All, But Being Kind Makes A Bigger Impact

Nice is holding the door open for the elderly woman behind you. Kind is asking if she needs help with her groceries.

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There's a difference between being kind and being nice.

One takes empathy and mindfulness, while the other is a behavioral expectation intended to keep up appearances.

Remember that classic episode of "SpongeBob," the one where he meets Sandy for the first time? When he is invited to her house, Patrick prepares him for it by explaining that air actually means "putting on airs," and that if he holds his pinky up, he'll be OK.

That's an exaggerated version of what being nice means to me.

For those of you unfamiliar with who lives in a pineapple under the sea, being nice is defined differently by different people and different cultures. Being nice is being polite. It's the decent way to act in most circles, but being kind is universal.

Pleasing, agreeable, appropriate and well-bred are all terms used to define nice, according to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. Whereas to be kind is to be compassionate, helpful, warm and understanding.

Kind has substance and meaning.

Kind requires no translation.

Kind takes time, effort and forethought.

Nice is palatable.

Nice is having good manners.

Nice is expected and fleeting.

Nice is holding the door open for the elderly woman behind you. Kind is asking if she needs help with her groceries.

Now, if you've read to this point, you may be wondering what the significance of this distinction is. Well, here goes: I'm not always a nice person. And anyone who knows me isn't shocked by this.

I'm sarcastic and a little judgmental.

I'm a work in progress and the first to admit that about myself. But I remember people's birthdays, and I'm a pretty great gift giver. I volunteer and make sure I return people's messages when I can.

But I don't always greet people when I walk into a room, and Irish goodbyes are sometimes my go-to.

I'm honest to a fault because I know that, in the long run, the truth yields more positive results than a lie does.

I'm not always great at asking how someone's day was, but I probably know how they feel about immigration and how many kids they have.

Wow, OK, that doesn't make me sound too good. But I'm kind, or I try to be.

And maybe all this piece accomplishes is in an attempt to convince myself as I convince others, but I'll take it.

Bottom line: I'd rather be kind than nice any day.

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To My Little Brother

Six things I want you to know.
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I am not your mother, but I am your big sister.

I cannot even apologize for it, I am always going to act like your second mom. I am going to keep yelling at you to (please) put down the toilet seat and to clean up the mess you made in the kitchen. It doesn't matter to me how often you say "I am not your mother," because you're my little brother and I'm always going to be the boss.

I never mean it when I tell you to grow up.

I hope that you have taken, and continue to take, full advantage of your childhood. As often as I complain about your maturity level, my wish for you is to put off growing up for as long as possible. The closer I get to real adult life, the more I miss home and all of the worries I didn't have. You shouldn't rush through the years you have left at home, you are doing just fine the way you are.

No, I didn't tell Mom.

All of our secrets will always stay secrets. I may have ratted you out to Mom about being the one to break her new vase, but I hope you know that our brother-sister bond protects all of the private things we share. Please, never forget that I'll always be here to listen to you.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for giving you your first bloody nose, and for laughing at you afterward. I'm sorry for every time I have blown you off for plans with a guy, or to get an extra hour of sleep. I'm sorry for yelling at you to leave me alone and for slamming the door in your face. I'm sorry for all of the times you asked me to play outside that I didn't. I'm sorry for all of my broken promises.

I forgive you.

I forgive you for all of the “little brother" insults you have used. I forgive you for using all of my paints and letting them dry out. I forgive you for embarrassing me in front of every guy I ever brought home. I even forgive you for cutting off that piece of my hair in fourth grade.

I am so proud of you.

It isn't said nearly enough, but I am so proud of you, little brother. I am envious of the passions that you have and the way that you pursue them with no fear! I am excited to see where you go in life (but don't go anywhere too quickly). Keep working hard and doing what you love, no one can fault you for following your heart. I love you so much, and I will always be your biggest supporter and fan!

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"

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It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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