Too Nice?

From a very young age, nearly all of us are taught to “Follow the Golden Rule” and always be nice to others. As countless soap operas, Oprah specials, and well…the real world (that and Mean Girls, of course) has shown us, however, this rule is often broken. There have been many studies that show that indulging in overly selfish behavior leads to social ostracism and stigma.

Recently, however, one such study that set out to prove the social effects of selfishness conducted by Craig Parks and Asako Stone had a surprising outcome: people hate selflessness as much as selfishness. People think that those who are overly generous or “too nice” make themselves look bad or they find them irritating.

As much as we would all like to say WE would never think that about nice people, let’s admit we’ve all done it. The slightest tick of annoyance at that friend who just always makes you look bad because they’re constantly nice to everyone. Wondering how one person could possibly smile that much all the time? Maybe they’re acting nice but certainly, they HAVE to have some ulterior motive, right?

So, does selflessness exist? And if it does, should we try harder to embrace it?

I have always been told I am a little on the cynical side, so I must say the results of this study didn’t come as a total shock to me. I’m not sure what that says about me exactly, but maybe it’s just a part of our human nature.

Of course, I don’t think that simply because we might be “annoyed” at someone who’s “too nice” or think they make us look bad, we should all start acting selfishly. What do you think? How nice is too nice?