Is There Such a Thing as Being 'Too Nice'?

26/11/2011 00:41 GMT | Updated 25/01/2012 10:12 GMT

Hm, is there such a thing as being 'too nice'? It's a tricky question. But I'm inclined to say a big, fat 'no'. Being nice is a very positive (although, granted, not desperately interesting) quality that, quite frankly, a lot more of us could do with possessing. Being 'too nice' - well surely you can't possess too much of any good quality...can you?

Saying someone is 'too nice' is like they're 'too kind' or 'too helpful'. Who dictates the scale of niceness or helpfulness? Surely being nice, or kind, or helpful is just that - you can't really over do it, can you?

But reality says different. And it seems more and more of us would rather label people who are 'nice' as 'boring' or 'annoying'? In fact, often just reading the word 'nice' is done so with a big yawn.

Let's take the most recent episodes of ITV1's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here as an example. The other day, children's presenter and 80s DJ Pat Sharp made the bold declaration that ex-Emmerdale actress Lorraine Chase was "doing his head in" because she was being "too nice".

"You are too nice for me," he told her to her face. Then he complained to the rest of the group, "Lorraine is the nicest woman I've ever met and her holding a teddy is sweet but it doesn't work in here."

Thousands of us took to Twitter to write the brief but valid comment, "What a dick!" And whether or not this was all a part of Pat's masterplan to be chosen for Bushtucker Trials is neither here or there. The point is, well, did Pat have a point? Lorraine might be nice and sweet - but is her inability to say something controversial annoying to her fellow campers? If she was in your camp, would you pick her as your trustworthy pal? Or would you rather sit down with the likes of Antony Cotton and have a good old bitch?

The thing is, often the nice ones amongst us don't always come across as most popular or the most entertaining. And it's probably because these people don't spend all their time bitching about others. In fact, they'd probably much rather discuss careers, dreams, love and other 'boring stuff' with their mates than the latest gossip about who did what to who. They're certainly not the type to squeal 'OMG! Did you see her shoes last week?' (unless of course, those shoes were, er, nice).

And the fact is, we live in a world where our newspapers are constantly taken over by drama; our free time is (mainly) spent watching famous-sorts bicker and tell stories in the jungle/on a judging panel/at the High Court - we can't help it. We're drawn to the tawdry details; the naughty bits that should be kept secret; the bare, naked details. As humans, we seem to be programmed that way.

Going back to reality TV, I couldn't tell you how many any times I've been asked, "Do Tulisa and Kelly really hate each other on The X Factor?" or "What really went on with Frankie Cocozza?" Those same people didn't care whether Craig Colton and Marcus Collins were BFFS in the X Factor house (it's not salacious enough) or whether Frankie Cocozza was just a pleasant, shy 18-year-old boy in real life (it's more fun to hate on him). They all wanted to know the gritty stuff. The underhand stuff. There's no denying it - that stuff is just more interesting! So of course it makes sense that we think that way when picking out friends too...

But then you look at the lovely people in life. My dad is one of the most genuine and kind people I know. He'll do anything for anyone - at anytime. And when he's upset or angry, he keeps his dignity and will never fly off the handle. The result? No one would do anything to disappoint him, his friends adore him and everyone has a huge respect for him. He's just a massive legend actually - and it works for him. And having someone like him around is the most reassuring thing ever.

Carol Vorderman pointed out on Loose Women this week that she once had a friend who was so overly nice and sensitive that said friend spent all her time worrying about upsetting other people. The result was that Carol spent every conversation trying to assure her mate that she hadn't offended anyone - over and over again. Some people might see that as being 'too nice' but surely that's actually just being 'too insecure'? There's definitely a difference.

Basically being nice just takes a bit of natural compassion. Sometimes compassion may overtake you - and you end up feeling a bit used. Maybe others don't always notice what lovely things you do for them. But you know what? That's not why you do nice things - you do it because you know it makes someone else happy or helps them out. You might just do it because you have the means to or just the good thoughts to. And that's when being nice becomes a strength. Having the ability to make someone a little happier - or to make someone's life a little easier - is pretty powerful in itself.

So really, no, I don't think there is such a thing as being 'too nice'. 'Nice' might not always be the most interesting or the most exciting way to be - but it's certainly fulfilling and rewarding. If that's you, then take it and run - it's not a bad quality to have. And for the Pat Sharp's of the world...stick to hanging with the bugs!