This past year, I have learned something that I find extremely important in everyday life and conversations. Throughout my seemingly short amount of time on this Earth, I have tried to treat people with kindness simply by being nice to them. When those around me were feeling down, I would make an effort to pick them back up. I would deliver their requests. However, somewhere recently along the way, I was informed that there is a difference between being nice and being kind.
The term "nice" is defined as, "pleasant, agreeable; satisfactory." Whereas, the term kindness is defined as, "the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate."
I paid no attention to the fact that there was a difference between the two until being told on a number of occasions towards the end of high school and my short time in college that I am "too nice." Mind you, the people that were saying these things to my face were the ones who genuinely cared about me as a person. Meanwhile, those who reaped the benefits of me being "too nice" proceeded to take advantage of it and discuss it when I was not present to defend myself and my reasoning.
The interesting difference in the terms that I recognized when looking at the definitions of both is that the definition of "nice" includes the adjective, "agreeable." While this may not seem like a huge factor, I find it extremely important to hit on.
There is an immense level of contrast between wanting to do something for someone and simply doing it to please them or because you feel like you have to-- or cannot say no.
Freshman year specifically, I constantly felt that I was surrounded by people that would hang out with me when it was convenient for them, and even more so now that I have my car on campus. It goes hand in hand with the saying, "I never knew how many friends I had until I got a beach house." It is important to evaluate the friendships that surround you, and if you feel that they are lacking; it is better to address it sooner rather than later. It saves you a lot of time and energy exhausted by going ninety when they are coasting along at ten.
However, the difference is now that I have been surrounding myself with friends that want to be with me unconditionally. Not to mention, if someone puts in the effort to hang out with you nowadays, it means something considering we are not in dorms anymore. You cannot just walk one floor up or down anymore to see the people you started your freshman year with.
My friend group now is hands down the best I have ever had. We are able to communicate honestly and efficiently, but there is never a time that I feel our interactions are cold or short.
I have learned to say no to people, and it definitely was not something that happened overnight. There is nothing wrong with stepping on some toes every once in a while if it means defending yourself or the way that you feel you should be treated.