I listened to a book called, "Not Nice," which clarifies the difference between being nice vs being kind, and why being "nice" can actually be a bad thing. Here are some notes from that reading:
First and foremost, you are not a bad person for wanting to be “nice.” You were probably taught that being “nice” equates to being a good, kind, respectful, obedient person. But if you are “nice” for the rest of your life, you will be miserable.
Being nice is actually just people pleasing. It allows people to walk all over you. Niceness comes from fear of upsetting others. It’s limiting yourself by conforming to avoid conflict. It’s different from being kind, generous, compassionate, loving, etc. It’s putting others first to soothe your anxiety about being rejected. It's being "nice" for others in exchange for not being kind to yourself.
Being nice means you can’t say no, you always go with the flow, you can’t ask for what you want directly, you can’t disagree with people, you can’t point out things that bother you, all out of fear of burdening others. It’s about silencing yourself using excuses like now is not the time or it’s not worth stirring the pot. This all results in being passive, insincere and resentful. You take way too much responsibility for other people’s feelings. You’re worried about creating the slightest bit of discomfort in others.
Not being nice doesn’t mean you’re a jerk. You can still be a caring/kind person. Not being nice just means you’re more real, assertive, confident, bold, authentic, and expressive. It is honoring yourself and what you feel you can handle in the current moment. You will feel guilty at first for trying to stop being "nice," but people are going to respect you because of it. I promise.
Here are some tips to combat "niceness":
Don’t strive to be nice. strive to be known.