Be Good, But Don’t Be Nice

Victor Eaves
5 min readJun 15, 2022


Photo by Sidorova Alice on Unsplash

Isn’t it interesting that the popular kids you remember in high school are typically the jocks and cheerleaders that often sat at their own exclusive table and that anyone that wasn’t a part of that clique would become a target if they dared attempt to claim an uninvited seat?

Isn’t it interesting that at that same school, it was the loud and disrespectful kids that seemed to get the most praise from the teachers when they actually followed directions versus the quiet ones who always followed directions? In many cases, it’s those very kids the teacher remembers most and is friendliest with. That friendship often came with benefits, such as extra time on tests and submission dates. Overlooked bad behavior, such as profanity in class and exclusion from the rules that would punish any of the nice kids for the same offense.

Isn’t it interesting how there’s a saying that “nice guys finish last,” in terms of dating and how the “bad boy” seems to be the popular choice for the women in the field? The bad boy that doesn’t text back. The bad boy that sends mixed signals like love bombing before going ghost. Where the nice guy text “good morning” and “good night,” it’s the bad boy who texts “let’s meet up,” after days of not responding that gets the most attention.

Isn’t it interesting how human psychology works? To be clear, I do not think the “nice guy” theory only applies to men. I believe that it also applies to women, and this isn’t exclusively dating or a high school thing. This is a social experience that affects the way we communicate with our friends, family, and associates in the workplace.

Be good, but don’t be nice. Why was this title chosen?

Bad behavior should not be endorsed. In fact, it should be repelled. If someone is picking on a homeless person on the street, that person should be corrected. Being good simply means doing the right thing and not expecting anything in return.

What is the right thing? Everyone has their own definition of right and wrong, it all depends on their system of belief. For example, a vegan that doesn’t choose to contribute to the suffering of animals will view the handing out of free beef burgers differently than a religious person that believes animals were created to be dominated by humans. Being good looks different for everyone because we’re all operating on a different system of beliefs. Good might just look bad to someone else, so what must be done? Do we change our system of belief to fit the narrative of someone else that doesn’t quite make sense to us? Should we be nice so that that other person feels better about the situation?

Fables of Aesop

There was a story of a man and his son who were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by his side, a countryman passed them and said, “You fools. What is a donkey for but to ride upon?” So the man put the boy on the donkey, and they went on their way.

But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said, “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the man ordered his boy to get off and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other, “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the man didn’t know what to do, but at last, he took his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passersby began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at.

The men said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours — you and your hulking son?”

The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, until at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them until they came to a bridge, when the donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle, the donkey fell over the bridge, and his forefeet being tied together, he was drowned.

Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

Being nice should come as a byproduct of being good, not the other way around. Once a purpose has been realized, and the path is chosen to travel, one should know themself enough not to compromise their values for the sake of appearing nice, pleasant, and easy to work with. If we feel that our value has been undermined, we should practice speaking up for ourselves because our worth is just as good as anyone else’s worth.

The more we practice being good and not being nice, the more we’ll realize that being good is all about not allowing other people’s feelings, time, and values to go before our own. Being good is self-care. Self-care is making sure your own cup is full before you’re ready to pour your care into another person’s life. Why should we tear ourselves down for another person’s smile? Why should we be good, but not be nice?

If we’re good, the right ones will see your light and gravitate toward it. The right ones will be there for you, not because you’re nice, but because you’re true to yourself and others. This is the foundation of trust, leadership, and happiness. In this day in age of fake happy social media posts and hidden depression, people need more authentic people to relate to.



Victor Eaves

Published author, copywriter, blogger, researcher, the mad hatter extraordinaire