Should I be nice or mean to people?

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Should I be nice or mean?

It’s so weird, I want to be nice to people, but it seems that they don’t respect me until I am mean!

I don’t get it, should I be bad?
How can I be nice and respected?
Yes I know, this question people ask at least once in their lifetime. Answering it wisely or not can mean a whole lot to your social life, personality growth and internal peace. So, which one is it?

In order to answer your question really well, let’s have a look at what each one does.

Why do people respond when you’re mean?

The reason many people respond well when you’re not nice is due to internal fear. They are not sure how you can or will respond, and so they keep a level of respect as respect for themselves. (see also Why its good to be mysterious)

Oh, this is starting to sound good already, then mean it shall be!
Before you take any decisions, let’s look at what else being mean does.
You may earn a little respect, but you will be disliked and you will lose a great deal of your self-esteem.

It’s up to you to choose not to be liked by others, but not unconsciously liked by yourself, I don’t think so. Let’s look a bit into how our brain functions when it comes to self-esteem.

When you do things that you unconsciously know is wrong, your love for yourself decreases. No matter how many times you tell yourself that people deserve it, your mind still knows that what you’re doing is partially wrong. (see also Self deception examples)

So here, you may end up with respect but also with a bruised self esteem. And I don’t know about you, but that is one valuable thing to shake.

Why do people respond when you’re nice?

When people experience pleasant feelings they are more likely to be more helpful and friendlier.

If you look at any charming person in the world, the first thing you’ll notice is his nice attitude. Being nice works like magic, and according to many researches, being nice releases endorphins and makes you experience happiness.

But we know what also happens, some people translate this niceness to weakness.
You could claim all you want that these people won’t matter, that you can live with it, and continue to be nice to people. But again, will you be happy? No, because you’re still being mean to one person a lot of the times, and this person is you.

In the long run, this will also affect your self-esteem since you’re continually proving to your subconscious mind that you are of less value than others even if you don’t think of it this way and you will lose many opportunities of respect that can help you through many things. (see also 10 ways to boost your communication skills)

In addition to this some women will be turned off by you since many women get attracted to the man who isn't by any means desperate. In my book How to make someone fall in love with you i said that most women get attracted to the man who posses the bad boy personality traits. (see also How to become a bad body)

What’s the right way to go?

Human beings were created to be motivated either by being attracted towards what they want or avoiding pain. The carrot or the stick to put it more simply.
So, it’s not either black or white. You’ve got to use your sense to use either in the right place.

Let me elaborate a bit more. If you treat someone you first met nicely, and you discover that they’re not responding in the same pleasant way, then you’ve got to be firmer. They later develop some worry about where your firmness can go, and they will balance and give respect.

Your initial attitude should be nice, but let’s say you’ve noticed someone who is mean towards the others, you’re initial reaction should be firm to instill a message of “be careful, I don’t allow maltreatment”. This sort of attitude of ‘be careful, I can be mean’ is what some people choose to be all the time in order to maintain a certain level of self-respect as we’ve discussed at the beginning of the article. But as you see, you don’t have to keep it all the time, only when you see is needed. (see also Advice for dealing with mean people)

I will finally say, even when you are nice with people, keep a little distance for respect. Being nice doesn’t mean you have to go all the way to being too nice, otherwise you will again may encourage some maltreatment even from the good who may not mean it. (see also Why nice guys finish last)

Many people reach this wise balance through trial and error with time, so my advice to you is to be nice and cautious, and certainly not too nice unless something too nice has happened to balance it with.

2knowmysef is not a complicated medical website nor a boring online encyclopedia but rather a place where you will find simple, to the point and effective information that is backed by psychology and presented in a simple way that you can understand and apply. If you think that this is some kind of marketing hype then see what other visitors say about 2knowmyself.The book How to make someone fall in love with you was released by; the book will dramatically increase your chance of letting someone fall in love with you.

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