You’ve gotta be cruel to be kind, in the right measure
Cruel to be kind, it’s a very good sign
Cruel to be kind, means that I love you, baby
(You’ve gotta be cruel)
You gotta be cruel to be kind -Nick Lowe, song “Cruel To Be Kind”
Being nice is about you.
Being kind is about the other person. And sometimes that means giving honest yet tough feedback to someone. Because you care about them and the work they’re trying to do.
Sarah Jones Simmer, the successful investor and CEO, gives a great example of this distinction on a recent Farnham Street podcast…
Another thing that’s very important to me is kindness, and kindness over niceness. The easiest example I can give is that a kind person will tell you, you have spinach in your teeth and a nice person won’t because it’s uncomfortable, right? But the kind person is going to set you up for a much better rest of your day because you’re not running around with spinach in your teeth.
Choose to be kind over being nice.
P.S. – My wife and I had a good laugh about this idea as I brought up one of our very first dates…She told me I had food in my teeth in the middle of me telling her a story. I got kinda irritated about it at the time (I was embarrassed) thinking she could’ve just ignored it and let me finish. “That would’ve been the nice thing to do.” Now I know, like most things, she was absolutely right. She was being kind. I was being nice.