PICTURE THIS: You meet someone at a networking event. She’s friendly, approachable, asks great questions; even introduces you to a few her colleagues.
After the event you exchange business cards.
A few days later she follows up with a quick email, thanking you for coming. She also offers an open-ended invitation to a future lunch to brainstorm and get to know each other better.
Still, in the back of your mind, you can’t help but wonder, “Why is she being so nice to me?”
Does she have ulterior motives?
Does she want to sell me something?
Does she think I’m going to become her best friend?
Or does she just like this with everyone?
All of these are possibilities. And it’s human nature to be suspicious of people’s motives. Especially when it appears someone has no apparent reason to be so “nice” to you.
Most likely, however, there are three possible motives for such niceness:
1. ULTERIOR MOTIVES: they seek sales, referrals, joining their organization, becoming a part of their MLM company.
2, ANCILLARY MOTIVES: they seek to develop and maintain mutually valuable relationships. “Who knows?” they think, “Maybe somewhere down the line we’ll be able to help each other!”
3. ZERO MOTIVES: they seek to be nice for the sake of being nice. No scorekeeping. No objective. Just being nice.
The challenge is, the word “nice” is a toughie. And there’s a paradox of meaning when you research the word’s origin.
By definition, the word nice means, “Pleasing and agreeable in nature,” “Having a pleasant or attractive appearance,” “Exhibiting courtesy and politeness,” and “Of good character and reputation; respectable.”
Conversely, the Latin derivative for nice is nescius, or “ignorant.”
No wonder “nice” is so misunderstood!
Still, when it comes to approachability, it’s important to see the value in all three types of conversation levels. None are better than the other; they just serve different purposes.
So, next time someone actions appear suspicious and you ask yourself, “Why are they being so nice to me?” remember these three levels of conversation to arrive at your answer.
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