This is a guest post by Crystal Beasley, founder and CEO of Qcut, a fashion tech startup.
I made a resolution in 2014 to stop being nice. I would be kind, loving, honest, and helpful but nice for niceness sakes, nope. I’m done with that. My friend Danilo Campos put a fine point on the difference between nice and kind. “Kind cares about you. Nice is just inoffensive interpersonal lacquer.” The key difference here is real, that is… being real. Being real means that sometimes the other person is uncomfortable at what you said. You gotta get ok with that.
When you give yourself permission to not be nice, there’s space for you to be serious and be taken seriously. I’m the CEO of a company. Being taken seriously is critical to my success (and yours too, I’m betting.)
This is not synonymous with being an asshole, though as a woman it’s a sadly impossible balance to strike. No matter, haters gonna hate.
I’ve found it’s not kind to paste on a smile in an attempt to keep the other person happy — much better to get your questions answered and advocate for your interests. It takes courage to treat the other person as an adult who is whole and capable, as Pascal has already written about. By withholding information from them, you’re saying they can’t handle the truth. I expect you’ve surrounded yourself with exceptional people. What’s to be gained by coddling them? Put away the fake smile. It’s a radical act.