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The science of being 'nice': how politeness is different from compassion

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http://theconversation.com/the-science-of-being-nice-how-politeness-is-different-from-compassion-81819

theconversation.com

The science of being 'nice': how politeness is different from compassion
The word "nice" has an unusual history in the English language. Originally a term for "foolish", its meaning over the centuries has morphed from "wanton" to "reserved" to "fastidious". These days, it has become a somewhat bland and opaque description of personality: "she's really nice."

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Our desire to be nice

Our tendency to be “nice” can be separated into two related but distinct personality traits: politeness and compassion.

Politeness is linked to being fair, while compassion is helping oth...

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Politeness

Politeness refers to our tendency to be respectful of others and not aggressive. It's about having good manners based on traditional values.

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Compassion

Compassion refers to our tendency to be emotionally concerned about others and rests on progressive values.

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Different behaviors

Politeness and compassion lead to different kinds of behaviors.

Polite people tend to do the right thing while they may not necessarily help people in need. Compassionate people will respo...

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Politeness or compassion

We should strive for politeness and compassion, as both have a role to play in society.

As a principle: if you can, help others; if you can't, at least do not hurt them.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The light side of human nature

The light side of human nature

The light triad of human nature consists of three distinct factors:

  • Kantianism (treating people for who they are, not as means)
  • Humanism ...

The dark triad of personality

The dark triad of personality consists of narcissism (self-importance), Machiavellianism (strategic exploitation and deceit), and psychopathy (callousness and cynicism).

We are all at least a little bit narcissistic, Machiavellian and psychopathic.

The average person displays both triads

The light triad is not simply the opposite of the dark triad. There is a little bit of light and dark in each of us.

A study revealed that the average person is leaning more toward the light triad than the dark in their everyday patterns of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Extreme malevolence is rare in the general population.

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Testing for workplace personality

Workplace personality tests are used to sort people according to various thinking styles, such as into/extroversion and thinking/feeling.

Many psychologists feel that the theory behind the d...

Traits and workplace success

Recently, six traits were identified that are consistently linked to workplace success: Conscientiousness, adjustment, ambiguity acceptance, curiosity, courage, and competitiveness.

Each trait may have drawbacks at extremes. The relative importance of each trait will be determined by the job you are doing. Knowing the traits can also aid in personal development so that you can identify your own strengths and weaknesses and the ways you may account for them.

Conscientiousness

Conscientious people are committed to plans and ensure they carry them out accurately. They consider the wisdom of their decisions for the long-term.

They are essential for strategic planning but can be too rigid.

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The Big Five

It represents the 5 personality traits psychologists use today:
  • Openness to experiences
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness

Openness to Experience

It describes people who enjoy the arts and new experiences. Possible facets:

  • Fantasy: they have a vivid imagination
  • Aesthetics: they believe in the importance of art
  • Feelings: They experience emotions intensely
  • Actions: They prefer variety to routine
  • Ideas: they like complex problems
  • Values: they tend to vote for liberals.

Conscientiousness

People that score high on this are organized, methodical and tend to keep going and going. Possible facets:

  • Competence: they complete tasks successfully
  • Order: they like order
  • Dutifulness: the follow the rules
  • Achievement-striving: they work hard
  • Self-discipline: they get chores done right away
  • Deliberation: they avoid mistakes.

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