Setting out to try to become a nicer person sounds like a deeply colourless and dispiriting ambition. In theory, we love niceness, but in practice, the concept appears to be embarrassingly anodyne, meek, tedious and even sexless. Being a nice person sounds like something we would try to be only once every other more arduous and more rewarding alternative had failed.
In fact, niceness is a deeply under-appreciated idea. So much of what we value is preserved by niceness and is compatible with it. It is a virtue with a variety of subtle qualities and this questionnaire has been designed to help you discover the most prominent way in which you are nice.
(1 / 7)
A friend invites you to the cinema with them. You agree to watch a film they want to see, but it’s not at all to your taste. As you leave, do you:
(2 / 7)
At work, you and a colleague have different ideas on how to approach a project. During a planning meeting, they make quite a few points that you disagree with. Do you:
(3 / 7)
What thought does this image bring to mind?
(4 / 7)
You’re at a party with a friend. As you walk through a crowded room, your friend trips and falls to the floor. People turn and stare. Do you:
(5 / 7)
A relative’s sixtieth birthday is coming up. Which card would you pick?
(6 / 7)
On a night out at the pub, you get talking to a stranger. They've had a lot to drink and they tell you something quite shocking about their past. Do you:
(7 / 7)
Someone invites you to go on a date, but you don’t find them attractive. Do you:
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Niceness may not have the immediate allure of money or fame, but it is a hugely important quality nevertheless and one that we neglect at our peril. Niceness is a virtue awaiting our rediscovery and our renewed, un-conflicted appreciation. This questionnaire only provides an indication as to how you might behave in certain situations, but on the basis of your answers it appears that you are:
To read more the subject of this undervalued quality, take a look at our book from The School of Life Press, On Being Nice
Most books that want to change us seek to make us richer or thinner. This book wants to help us to be nicer, that is: less irritable, more patient, readier to listen, warmer, less prickly… This is a guidebook to the uncharted landscape of Niceness, gently leading us around the key themes of this forgotten quality. We learn how to be charitable, how to forgive, how to be natural and how to reassure. We learn that niceness is compatible with strength and is no indicator of naivety. Niceness deserves to be rediscovered as one of the highest of all human achievements.