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Kind Not Nice

“Be kind, not nice.”

I read that recently. Be kind, not nice. 

As a midwesterner, it never occured to me that there was a difference, we apologize for shit all day, and say thank you just as often. Do we always mean it? Idk, the words “ope” and “sorry” come out of me like “ums” and “uhs.”

But there actually is, dear friend, a difference. 

Being “nice” is when you act polite to others, putting on a show to appear pleasant and gracious and sweet. 

Being “kind” is when you genuinely care about someone, and all your actions- nice or otherwise- are done with that in mind. 

“Nice” is self-centered action with the intent to show others you’re totally likeable, “kind” is others-centered to show them you care, regardless of how you look in the process. 

Maybe my confusion about them being two entirely seperate concepts is one of the many reasons getting the whole world to like me as been so god damned frustrating. 

And the grosser part is, I realized that I am nice more often than I am kind, because I feel like if I cover more ground, and rain nice down on everyone, without taking a moment to feel any deeper than that, more people will like me. It’s exhasuting.

I got bangs the other day, and after sending a friend a car selfie of me looking effortlessly touseld and Parisian (see below), she responded, ” I like your bangs, I just don’t like who you are when you have them.”

Pardonne moi? I did not respond. 

I’d say I left her on read, but I don’t have read-reciepts on because I chose to remain a mysterious enigma. 

All day that text ate at me, and she knew it, too, because she followed up a few times, assuring me that I definitely looked cute, but she wanted to be sure I was coming from a good place, and not my usual “let’s get bangs” mindset. 

She didn’t walk back her initial reaction, but with the added context and some irritating self-reflection, yeah okay, she’s actually not wrong. 

Usually when I get bangs, I laugh and tell you I’m just trying to save money on Botox, but it really means I’m feeling insecure about aging and my forehead.

(I am a fragile monster.)

I am typically frustrated with them almost immediately, and spend all the aforementioned saved Botox money on dry shampoo and bobby pins. 

(I will absolutely cry and feel defeated while getting ready, every single time I have to leave the house.)

I’m internally pissed that 1. they don’t look as cute as they did when I left the salon, and 2. no one is telling me they look cute. 

(Again, fragile monster.)

And finally, it’s a telltale sign that I’ve immersed myself into a movie or series, and I’m trying to emulate whatever happiness or romance is happening by morphing into the main character, instead of trying to work out those feelings in my actual human relationships. 

Since I can’t really jet off to be a marketing influencer in Paris, I guess Emily in Paris bangs will do. 

(Just out here making all my delulu come trulu.)

Her text was an act of kindness. Was it nice? I mean, probably, to people who aren’t me and insecure, but I was looking for validation, so it was a different vibe than I was originally thirst trapping for. 

But it doesn’t matter, I didn’t need the nice, I needed to be seen and supported with the kind. 

Translation: Are you okay? Because bangs typically don’t mean “okay” for you?

And guys, this was just about hair. Life gets so much messier than hair. 

I am in a season of complicated feelings. I hit 40, and my kids are almost adults, my relationships are changing, my house is changing, I’m finding my career and blogging again, and my left ring finger knuckle hurts when I bend it for no good reason, and it’s been weeks. I don’t need hollow nice people, I need the real ones. 

And the real me, she is not nice. She is snarky, and irreverent, and low brow, but she feels deeply and quickly, and she’s loyal. 

Think supportive girl in the bar bathroom energy. Yes, I have a hair tie. Yes, I will tell you when you’re skirt is tucked into your tights. Yes, I will pretend to be your girlfriend so that weird guy out there leaves you alone. 

2024 is about seeking out from others and leaning into my own kindness and how I distribute it, and less about cosplaying a nice girl on the internet. 

But I will still apologize when I hafta scoot by ya, I am from Ohio. 


Sandy Furlow

Wednesday 17th of January 2024

I love this more than words.. I read it the day it came out, and I’ve thought about it almost every day. I didn’t post a response (and not saying I’m sorry, I’ve been busy) - but it made me realize that unknowingly - I came into 2024 with the intention to STOP apologizing so much. I’m corporate and worked my ass off to get to my position and found myself starting so many emails with “sorry for my delay”, “sorry for” this, that…whatever - was that to be nice? It wasn’t kindness or sure.. This blog just hit a note with me that’s been on my mind - where IS the value in kindness (and/or the difference with “sorry’s”) if we’re just dishing them out? I’m stingy with them now….and I don’t care. It’s not mean, it’s just authentic. And thank you for being honest about your bangs - I loved them when I saw them but I wonder if they were a PITA. Love the blog, baby!!!


Wednesday 17th of January 2024

I love this so much! I one told a coworker that he was nice, but definitely not friendly. I see this as a very similar distinction. Being kind is about the next layer down in who we are as people. <3

P.S. I'm glad to see you back in blogging. I've missed you!


Thursday 4th of January 2024

I love reading everything you write! Welcome back to blogging! <3

Jennifer Dewhurst

Thursday 4th of January 2024

This is, by far, the best "New Year resolution" I can think of.

So, basically, if you're "kind" you may hurt their feelings. If you're "nice" you end up hurting yourself.

This is really going to bother some people in my life. And I'm fine with it.

Brittany Gibbons

Thursday 4th of January 2024

Exactly that. It's going to shake up LOTS of relationships.

Jennifer Dewhurst

Thursday 4th of January 2024

F*cking brilliant. Welcome back!

Brittany Gibbons

Thursday 4th of January 2024

Thank you!

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