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

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 others.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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

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

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

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

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 others.

Politeness

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

Compassion

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

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 respond to the misfortunes of others, but may not be even-handed and rule-abiding.

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.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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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Our personalities can change
Our personalities can change

Many of us think our personality is fixed and unchangeable.

But according to a recent study, while our early personalities may provide a baseline, they are pliable as we age

Why personality changes matter

Thinking of personality as fixed could leave us feeling like we can never grow or dismiss people with certain qualities, believing that change isn't possible. However, we don't simply change our personalities in random ways. The relationship among all of our personality traits seems to be more consistent.

If someone was really conscientious but slightly disagreeable, they might keep that personality profile as they age, even if their other traits changed a bit.

Our personalities are a mix

Personality seems to change cumulative over our lifespan and likely happens in response to our life experiences. Therefore our personalities are a mix of stable and unstable.

  • Parents and teachers should keep that in mind when they try to influence a child's personality.
  • Even the elderly, whom we might expect to be more set in their ways, can change.
  • Partners would be better served by learning to value what remains constant in someone's personality while embracing personality shifts as they happen.
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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