About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. Kristen,
    I have always been called the “nice” girl…even been called “sweet” (now that’s really mamby-pamby). I still remember jeers in high school by a certain group of girls who called me the littlest angel. I remember it bringing me to tears. I have had people take my “niceness” as an invitation to walk all over me.

    But, I have been blessed with being married (5 months…whohoo) to a great guy who says he always liked me because I was one of the nice girls. He builds me up for the encouragement I offer others. He asks me to promise to never change being me. What refreshment and what an echo of the words my Heavenly Father whispers to me…I am fearfully and wonderfully made and He made me nice. I have learned to love the nice person that I am. I am fierce, I am strong, I have persevered….and I just happen to be nice :).

    Loved this post Kristen…love your “nice” self even more,
    Bev xo

  2. Satan loves this about us – he loves to take good words spoken to us and twist them. Wring them tighter and tighter until we feel unworthy and boring and “vanilla-flavored”. Thank you for this post, Kristen. It’s an excellent dose of healthy perspective. I am leaning into the Holy Spirit today, ready to confidently be who God created me to be. Because of your words.

  3. Hi Kristen!

    This is my first time reading your blog. You are a very gifted writer!

    The two words/phrases that I most often hear used to describe me are “sweet” and that I am a “good girl.” Being called sweet does not bother me but being called a “good girl” gets under my skin every single time. It’s always meant as a compliment and never in a derogatory way but there are times when I am tired of being a “good girl.” There are certain connotations that go along with that phrase and one of them rings as being very “goody two shoes” to me which drives me nuts! The truth is though that I *am* a “good girl”….and that’s okay! People are simply describing what they see: a young woman who does not and never has danced to the tune of the world’s music. I am a child of God and I try desperately to live like one. I don’t always succeed (who does?) but I try my best to rest in God’s promises to me.

    Thank you for reminding me that being a “good girl” isn’t so bad after all!

    • Soo love this comment, Ashley. And a high-five for being one who confidently lives out the qualities God placed in her. You dance beautifully ~ bravo! xo

  4. I’m a fellow nice girl too and have been called that all the way since elementary school. Funny because just this past weekend I was thinking to myself why we believe the strong and fierce and wild personality is more desirable than the nice personality. It appears that the strong have their life together. It appears they are afraid of nothing. Nice appears to be weak and watches life from the sidelines. But as you reminded me, nice is powerful. It has a “quiet strength” (Col. 3:12). And that quiet strength can change the world just as much as the blazing of the strong.

    • Oh I love what you say here, Stephanie, about the power found in “quiet strength.” Yes and amen!

      Thank you for sharing here, Stephanie. Your words are a gift!

  5. The first thing that attracted me to my husband was that he was nice, the kindest man I’ve ever known. I love that quality! And in our wold of self centered focus, the ones who nicely notice others really stand out! Keep it up, Nice girls, I hope I can be counted in your ranks!

    • “And in our world of self centered focus, the ones who nicely notice others really stand out!” ~ Absolutely, Missy. And I think it’s one thing that reflects John’s quote from the post: being nicely noticed can make your heart grow wide as saucers.

      Thankful for you and your words here, Missy! xo

  6. Several years ago I read a line in a book by Lori Wick describing one of her characters, “Frank Palmer was always kind.” I remembering thinking, “I want that to be said of me.” And so I started asking God to make me kind. I started trying to be kind. And I think, I hope, God has answered my prayers. This was a wonderfully encouraging post, Kristen! And I think you’re right, nice people are not always taken seriously, at first. Sometimes people are just so surprised to encounter a nice person, that they’re not sure how to respond! They’re a little surprised, and skeptical. But once they get to know you {me}, they see that we’re the real deal. When you give people a glimpse of the Savior, they are either drawn, afraid, or repelled. I think that is a bit of what we witness when we’re kind.

    • Hi, June! I just adore your comment here. I think, too, nice folks aren’t always taken seriously at first because it’s hard for the person on the receiving end to believe the comment or action comes from a place of truth rather than just-trying-to-be-nice. So when nice people encourage us by giving us a glimpse of how Jesus sees us, it’s hard to receive it. We are usually much harder on ourselves than He is. But as you say, once they get to know us, they see our words come from a genuine place, and Jesus in glorified in the process.

      So grateful for your words here today, June. Much love to you.

  7. I long to be nicer! Too often, I shoot my mouth off before I’ve thought it through. It’s always unintentional, but I feel like I put my foot in my mouth a lot, and it’s a quality I wish I could erase from my personality. Yay for nice girls! We need more of them.

    • Well, there are those – namely my husband and kids – who might tell you I have more to learn about being nice. Heh. I still put my foot in my mouth plenty, so being a nice girl doesn’t guarantee that that won’t happen. But the fact that you are aware and thinking about it (and saying kind things like in this comment!) tells me you’re not as far away as you think!

      Appreciate you, Sharon!

  8. Missy,

    I love what you said here- so so true!-
    “And in our wold of self centered focus, the ones who nicely notice others really stand out!”

    Sarah

  9. “An infinitely creative God makes room for infinitely creative personalities. They are all equally valuable and equally needed. Regardless of personality type, we need those who aren’t afraid to confidently be who God created them to be.”

    All equally valuable and all equally needed.

    Perfect. Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

    • John! Well, you went and made my day by visiting here. Thank you for that . . . and for inspiring the post. Your words are always some of my favorites.

  10. Thank-you Kristen for pointing this out,

    Sometimes when people use the term nice, kind or thoughtful it comes across in a negatively, “you’re too kind” or” if you were n’t so nice”. What does that mean exactly?

    I really don’t think that there is such a thing as “too kind or too nice” We need more people like you.

    Penny

  11. Ahhh, Kristen! Yes! Yes! Yes! I have been telling myself lately to not apologize for the personality God gave me. Being a nice girl does not mean weak! I am nice. I am strong. And I am NOT boring. Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one!! <3

  12. I needed to hear this one. Sometimes I feel like I’m struggling with two parts of my self. I’m a nice gal, but I am also fiery. The fiery part usually ends up in the art I create, whether acting or writing. The nice part comes out in social interactions. At first I thought I was only being nice to hide the real, fiery me, but like you said, nice isn’t being a doormat. It’s a “powerful…double chocolate heaven” It’s just the God designed me: artsy-fiery-nice and all!

    • Waving to you, Preslaysa!

      I have a fiery side too, but like you said, I think it also comes from the same part of me that is nice. Sometimes showing fiery passion about something *is* the nice thing to do, ya know?

      Grateful to see you here and read your words.

  13. Kristen,

    I have always been called nice. Never really paid much attention to that. For me I feel that you like me as I am–the person God made me to be or you don’t and it doesn’t bother me. My hubby tells me constantly that he loves me for being the encourager that I am. He wishes he could be more like me–thinking and doing for others more.

    Nice girls win in the end because we are the encouragers of the world!

    Blessings 🙂

  14. That was lovely! I needed a reminder today, and you only confirmed what the Holy Spirit already told me: To let His light shine in me, humbly, loving others around me. That’s what people call nice. So I guess Jesus is NICE too. 🙂 Yes it can feel benign, but as you so beautifully said, God looked at what He had made and called it good! So, being who I am and thanking God for you and this post today!

  15. Loved this post!! I so often am the “nice” girl and I sometimes feel exactly the same way as you describe in this post! But you are right, nice people are gifts from God; love spreaders, grace spreaders etc! Thanks again!! Have a blessed day!!

  16. I don’t want to be known as the nice girl. I looked up the definition of nice: pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory. I don’t want to be know for that.
    I want to be seen as “kind” not “nice”. I looked up the word nice in my bible..not there, but the word kind is there a lot and of course kindness is one of the fruits of the spirit.

    • Hi Rhondi! Great comment. To me, kind and nice are the same thing (and I used them interchangeably in my post). I have seen ‘nice’ used in at least one Biblical translation. But you’re right: you can’t go wrong with keeping kindness – or any of the fruits of the Spirit – in mind.

  17. Oh my word… How I needed these words and didn’t even know it!!! I’m a nice girl… Or at least it’s what I’m told and I’m going to stop cringing when I hear it. It’s time to OWN it. Hi! I’m Tonya, and I’m nice!!

  18. My first thought is kindness is the real term for nice. Kindness’ motivation is to build someone else up for the sake of as you mentioned: love. That is a fruit of the Spirit.

    But there is a person who is ‘nice’, but is double-minded out of fear of rejection, or catty when others are not around to make herself look good from lack of understanding she is in Christ. That is self serving, and insincere. I can say this because I used to be “nice.” Awful to be that sort of a person.

  19. It’s so great to meet a fellow nice girl and read such a powerfully written post about being grace-sharers and gospel-livers. Now that I’m in my late forties, I have embraced the fact that people have told me all my life I’m sweet and nice and encouraging. When I was younger, I wasn’t sure if I liked being known as the sweet girl. But now I see that it’s a good thing to be known as the sweet one as long as the sweetness is coupled with the strength of the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you for being who Christ made you to be and for sharing His love with the world. Keep up the great writing and the work you’re doing for the kingdom of God.

  20. Nice, the real deal……..is mind blowing. There is a guy that works at the local swim school and HE IS NICE. He is so nice that it causes your head to tilt and go “wow” . It is very powerful. In fact, I want to make it a point to tell him how nice he is and how much I appreciate it. It isn’t that he does nice things, he excudes niceness.

  21. Thought provoking blog today. Back in the day, “nice” could mean principled but not necessarily kind. I know some nice women I wouldn’t share my deep secrets with for fear of being misunderstood. On the flip side, my dear friend Billie, God rest her soul could cut you off at the knees in all Christian love when you needed to hear the truth. Nice? Heck no. Kind and loving? Absolutely. I knew her heart. I miss everything about her. She was a woman who brought joy when she walked into the room and sadness when she left. That’s who I want to be. Real.

    • Okay, so I took a little rabbit trail of introspective thinking and didn’t exactly address the topic. YES! We LOVE nice people. They are the ones who put people ahead in the express line because they notice the person behind just looks like they need to go ahead….

  22. OMGOSH, I Love this! I was the nice girl for a long time. I understood why I was nice, somewhere along the line though I grew resentful and bitter and became not so nice.

    I am now back on track and have come to realize, nice is powerful, fierce, and takes courage.

    Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!!!

    And for the record nice is not the same thing as a doormat.

  23. You just made me cry. I’m often called nice or sweet, and while most of the time I don’t mind either name (because truth be told, sometimes I am NOT and I only am because of Him), sometimes it does feel like the giver of that word is being condescending. But maybe that’s my own insecurity. Actually, it probably more often than not likely is just that.

  24. I am always called sweet and sometimes it seems small because friendships don’t stick well. So sometimes I don’t know if I am sweet. And I am always trying to break out of the mold. I even wrote a post called no more vanilla only rocky road for me, but it was about being willing to be alive. I think in this state of midlife, I am always evaluating my worth. Am I just sweet? Thanks for these thoughts!

  25. I think in some ways it is a problem with vocabulary. ‘Nice’ is used in so many ways. At school we were told never to use the word ‘nice’ in our writing but to find a word that was more accurate. How do you feel if someone says, ‘You are so kind’ or ‘You are so encouraging’? ‘Nice’ covers kind, gentle, encouraging, generous, humble, edifying, gracious, merciful. These are all fantastic qualities that we treasure. So next time you want to tell someone they’re nice, perhaps find a more accurate word that they will value more?

    • Exactly what I was thinking, Tracy. Or maybe tell them how they make us feel.
      “You make me happy.” “You made my day.” “I feel so much better now.”

  26. Lol…I am a Harry Potter fan, and if anyone else out there is, they will understand this….
    I am fiery and passionate and courageous, I am thoughtful, enjoy reading and studying and am very intelligent, and I am artistic and creative and at times even cunning and sometimes I even manage to do something that glimmers of greatness, but in the end, every single Sorting Hat test I take tells me I am HufflePuff! But ya know what? Where would the world be without us quietish but determined humble badgers anyway?

  27. 🙂 WOW…I was MEANT 2 B…READING this wonderful message this morning 🙂 TODAY I read & saw NICE is NOT a small word of Being & Doing…. ‘MEDOKA’. NICE today means to me small on the out side BUT…sooo BIG on the INSIDE word of NICE. Just like the concept of ‘Doctor WHO’ … *TARDIS* 😉 I’m now going to ACCEPT that NICE word from who ever and LET NICE BE MY TARDIS 😀 the way God MEANT ME, YOU 2 B… FREE. I AM A NICE PERSON… no more BELIEVING A SELF-LIE and GIVE POWER TO THAT BELIEVED LIE 🙂 I AM A NICE PERSON…YOU ARE A NICE PERSON, now I will leave the Holy Spirit to TELL you that TRUTH. Bless you ALL 🙂 <3

  28. Very nice post (pardon the pun!). “Nice” is one of the results of the growth of spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

  29. Kristen, your kindness has meant so much to me. I’ll admit, I’m not often called nice. I can’t even think of a time I ever was. We do a weird thing with words. We assign personalities to brave and courageous and smart and kind but really aren’t we all of those things? Don’t they just show in different ways if we know Christ and are living how He’s made us? I know how much it’s meant to me to see those who don’t have to be cynical and snarky but who are genuinely for you in the best of ways. The kind who open doors and invite others in. You are a door holder, friend. And there’s nothing simple about it. It’s the fiercest kind of love to be kind in this world.

  30. Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

    —James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd

    i remind myself of this often. being smart, being right, winning over someone else is not always what it’s cracked up to be.

  31. Nice does seem bland, doesn’t it? Like oatmeal. Just oatmeal, without raisins or brown sugar or walnuts.

    But the small things make such a difference. A smilie in an email when the words could be misconstrued. The touch of a hand to your shoulder when you feel alone. A smile you give to a stranger on a city street that is answered with a look of surprise and then a smile in return.

    Nice is an word that gets used so often it loses its meaning, but God bless the kind, the nice, the people who take time to stop and really look and see if you’re “good!” when they ask how are you. Nice can be giving your seat on the train to a mom with a baby or an elderly person (and oh, we do need more of that!). Nice is letting someone else go first in line because you have a full basket and they have one item.

    You keep encouraging. Encouragers need encouragement too, need those wells re-filled and while Jesus is *so* sweet and loving, sometimes we long for the every day, the…human touch. Jesus in disguise.
    Take care 🙂

  32. Never have I felt so strong/powerful/positive/worthy etc. about being called
    NICE. Your words are beautifully written. Thank you deeply. D

  33. Have you ever seen that bumper sticker, “Just Be Nice”? It’s one of my favorite quotes! The world needs more people who are just plain nice to one another! I’m nice, I’m tender hearted, I cry when my heart fills with emotion (whatever that emotion may be). And recently I’ve have decided to stop apologizing for who I am – who God created me to be! I often feel pressured by others to be “tough” and sometimes I wish I was, but I simply explain that that is not who I am and I won’t apologize for being me! Loved reading this Kristen!

  34. Thanks so much for the “new” definition of nice and I get it!! I have a whole high school year book that said “nice” so much it made me want to gag! The biggest reason is that I thought “Oh, if you could be inside my head and hear all the awful things I think about people…. the last thing you would think of me is Nice”….

    I have learned to get past being called nice, because deep down I am really not… I am a lot of other “nice” things but nice is not really one of them. LOL!!

    Thanks, and keep up the nice work!!

  35. really enjoyed the write up on being nice..i have a 10 year old girl who has the kindest heart she is always thinking of others and has such a passion for the kingdom,she is honored to call herself a nice girl,many of her peers are angry young gals who carry resentment around already and she sees that..she celebrates being nice ! She has top grades and is a singer also..a nice girl is usually the one who has it together as they don’t have to work on being nice..it just comes from the heart and everything else just falls into place letting them be themselves.as her mom I have learned a lot already on honoring God by changing my attitude in all situations..taking the high road and not being miserable .its freedom to be simply the nice girl

  36. “Regardless of personality type, we need those who aren’t afraid to confidently be who God created them to be.”
    Thanks for the encouragement. I often times struggle with wondering if there is value in who and how I am. Especially in my work setting. This just serves as a reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that God knew me in my mother’s womb. There is value in that! Thank you for your post 🙂

  37. Honestly, I’m a bit envious. I am not a spiteful, manipulative, or rude, but I am rarely called “nice.” I’m the witty one or the insightful one, but not the one that blesses people consistently by being nice. It sounds like quite a compliment from this side!

  38. This was a great read! I often pray for kindness because like you say, “Nice is the cool drink of water that lingers on dry hearts in need.”
    It’s the nice people in my life that truly are a blessing and their impact is much larger than that small word would imply.
    Thank you!

  39. Kristen, thank you so much for your awesome post! Nice and smart are the two words most often used to describe me, but for years, I’ve seen them as contradictory. I am a faith-filled biophysicists, working to develop new therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases. My colleagues think I’m too nice, and my friends think I’m too smart. Little by little, God has shown me that these two pieces of who I am blend together to make me uniquely able to do the work God calls me to do. Your post reminds me not to be afraid to break the mold of society’s expectations. Your words, “use kindness to change the conversation,” truly hit home for me and sum up my mission both in my church-life and in the lab. Love your post! Keep writing! 🙂

  40. Something really interesting? Look up the etymology of the word “nice”. Origin: Latin “nescire” =not know -> Latin “nescius” =ignorant -> Old French-> to nice meaning “stupid” in middle English.
    Learned this from Bill Jack from Answers in Genesis. He began a lecture saying he disliked it when people called him nice because to him it meant “ignorant”. Isn’t it strange how words change so much over time?
    It certainly makes me hesitate to call someone nice now. It is much better use other more accurate descriptive words.
    Kristen, you are intelligent, wise, gifted, sweet, kind, gentle, and loving. You have a way with encouragement that makes others feel better about themselves.
    You always have a smile that goes from east to west spread across your face, which in itself makes you incredibly attractive. It makes people want to get to know you better.