Morning Coffee #51: The Grey Area of Niceness… aka When Doing Good Is A Waste of Time

David Alagoa
2 min readJan 25, 2021

When someone is said to be nice to a fault, the popular consensus is that the person will always be kind even in situations where kindness isn’t necessary. There are a lot of circumstances in which being kind would be seen as foolish but in the long run, it is a good thing. But I have an issue with a certain type of kindness, which is kindness where there is zero benefit at all. I’ve seen people being kind to drug addicts and give them food and money. I know these drug addicts seem grateful in the moment but before anyone says Jack, they are back on crack or whatever substance they are hooked on. In this situation, I wouldn’t subscribe to kindness.

Now this is the grey area for me. I know helping certain people is a waste of time not because I’m mean but because I want people to be better. Imagine helping someone who is making no effort in helping himself/herself. No matter what you do, they will always mess up and hope for someone aka you to come to their rescue. It is quite frustrating, I will be honest. It’s even more frustrating because the moment you decide enough is enough, they will begin to resent you for not giving them what they want. But I guess that’s part of human nature. We forget the 9 good deeds someone has done and focus on the one bad deed. Kindness is easily forgotten while cruelty lasts longer in one’s memory.

What I think is that we need to learn when to be kind. As much as we want to help people, we also have to draw the line when it becomes bothersome and draining to us. And yes, it is not an easy thing to do because one thing I know about most kind people is that they can’t help being kind. That’s just the way they are. I personally think there is a time for everything; a time to be kind and a time to NOT be kind, as it can be confusing to see the opposite of kindness as cruelty. You not being kind is not an excuse to be cruel. Just don’t offer your help to someone when you know there are others who will greatly benefit from it.