The Nice Movement

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 130 months ago
The Nice Movement

This weekend column is brought to you by the founders of Niceties Tokens, Liz and Pete of Team Nice.

40. Altruism?

For a couple of years now, I have given up quite a large chunk of my spare time to do nice things for free, and so have so many other people too.

It seems so strange to me that we would all do this – after all for what purpose? What do we get out of it?

It does feel like there is a definite trend moving towards a nicer and more compassionate society. Perhaps it’s not that we are all caring for each other more than before, but we have the facilities to show it more. Communication is so much easier nowadays – mobile phones and text messages, internet, email…

15 years ago setting up your own benevolent and fun project was not as easy as it is today. But the internet made contact so much easier, and social networks got everyone in the mood for communication and joining groups. It’s free or relatively cheap to do something that benefits other people.

Yet why do we it? Why is it so enjoyable to be nice?

I spoke to my friend James Battison of The Optimists Society about it. James originally worked in the communications industry and so knew the most up to date technology used for marketing; he then decided to put it to good use and use it for communicating with our disenchanted youth. He has gone on to create many more socially responsible projects and has plenty more benevolence up his sleeve.

He feels the same way I do – you get a buzz out of being nice. Anyone who works in a caring profession, such as therapists, carers and teachers must feel this too – otherwise they would be paying their rent in another way. But if this natural high exists from just being lovely – then it aint really altruistic, is it? “No” he says, “I guess it’s pretty selfish.”

Taking inspiration from the free teabags you get in hotels, I thought I would give out complimentary teabags to my friends.

By Liz Akers

Last Updated 30 March 2008