Calling someone nice used to be vaguely insulting, but Grazia’s Lucy Vine says that’s all changing...
Are you nice? It’s not a trick question – are you? When friends describe you, would ‘nice’ be one of the traits they’d list? And if they did, how would you feel about that?
It used to be that we all hated being called nice. It implied weakness and simpering idiocy. It painted a picture of a red-faced guy in a really new shirt with baked beans down his front. A man who definitely couldn’t grow a beard, giggling awkwardly about his knees as he lowered himself to the ground and into the puddle you needed to get across – all as he desperately tried to make eye contact with you. When friends said they’d been on a date and he was ‘nice’, they’d say it with a grimace and you and I, dear reader, we would roll our eyes and ask if our friend needed to go shower again.
But something big is happening. Nice is getting cool again.
Gone are the cult heroes like Miranda Priestley, Blair Waldorf and Janine from Eastenders (next level props for pushing Barry off a cliff), our favourite celebrities are suddenly all super, super nice. Taylor Swift tweets about her kitty, Jennifer Lawrence adorably falls over at every given opportunity, Ellie Goulding helps the homeless. Angelina Jolie campaigns for the GODDAMN UNITED NATIONS, YOU GUYS. Even previously perceived bitchy industries like modelling is now chock full of exuberant goofballs like Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid. And we haven’t even got to the YouTube stars like Zoe Sugg, Tanya Burr and Alfie Deyes, who have all built a multi-million-pound fortune on being sweet and likeable. On being nice.
Bloody hell, even monster corporate companies are getting into the cult of nice. Recently Ryanair announced that their profits had risen 37% in the first half of this year to £770 million, after their ‘Be nice’ campaign took off (aeroplane pun). The man behind the image overhaul, Michael O’Leary proudly told the media – as he dived headfirst into his gold money bin (think Scrooge McDuck) – ‘If I’d only learned in college that being nice was good for business, I’d have done it years ago. As long as it boosts profitability, I don’t think there is any limit to my niceness.’
Quite like that dude. Bet he can grow a beard.
I love this news, because I know my friends would describe me as opinionated and high maintenance. They’d say my sense of humour is stupid (I think falling over is funny) and that I am too obsessed with courtroom TV dramas. But underneath all that, they’d say that I’m mostly a big hopeless sack of nice. I’m kind to strangers, I ring my mum every day, I help drunk and old people on the tube, I feel sad pretty much every time I open a newspaper, and I’m currently looking after my boss’ cat while she’s on holiday (cat litters, you guys!!). I am nice*.
And I’m pretty delighted that I can say that proudly now. For years, I’ve done outraged-face and acted indignant when people accused me of being nice. I’ve wasted years lying about how I feel about the environment and animals, all because I wanted people to think I was edgy and NOT NICE. But I am, and probably, so are you. So let’s all celebrate that fact, and niceness being back in fashion, with a cup of tea and a quick call home. You look really pretty today, by the way.
*Shut up, all my ex-boyfriends.