18 Behaviors That Seem Nice but Are Actually Rude

We all want to be seen as nice people, but trying too hard can come off as overbearing or thoughtless. When doing good deeds, it’s best to do them naturally, without trying to force anything. With that in mind, here are 18 behaviors that seem nice but will actually make others think you’re rude.

Offering Advice

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When a friend is struggling, it’s natural to want to help by offering advice or sharing a relatable story, but tread carefully. If you pull the focus onto yourself, you’ll come across as self-absorbed. People usually want support, so save the advice unless they ask for it.

Giving Compliments

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Giving someone a compliment can brighten their day, but you should be careful about your comments. For example, trying to compliment someone’s body might draw attention to something they’re secretly self-conscious about. Backhanded compliments, like ‘you look great for your age,’ are even ruder.


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Trying too hard to be seen as friendly might make people feel uncomfortable. According to The School of Life, overly friendly people try too hard to agree on everything, offer excessive praise, and make it difficult to share your woes with them. Be friendly in a natural way, and you’ll have no problems.

Forcing Your Help

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It’s great to be known as a reliable friend, but forcing your help on others who haven’t asked for it is rude, just like offering unsolicited advice. You can help your friend brainstorm solutions to their problems but don’t override their autonomy by trying to force your help.

Making Physical Contact

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Human beings crave physical contact, but not everyone wants to be touched without consent, especially by people they aren’t that close to. If somebody is upset, don’t rush to hold or hug them because they might not feel comfortable. It’s a sign of respect to avoid violating people’s boundaries.

Correcting People

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It’s good to know when we’re wrong so we can correct ourselves, but take heed of correcting people all the time. Being publicly corrected is embarrassing; even if you intend to be helpful, the other person won’t appreciate it. Be careful how you phrase your corrections so you don’t sound patronizing.

Repeating Someone’s Name

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Learning someone’s name and addressing them by it is a sign of respect, but don’t overdo it. Changing Minds warns that while acknowledging someone’s name is polite, using it too much might be irritating. They could also feel like you’re acting overly familiar, making them feel awkward speaking to you.

Arriving Too Early or Late

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Some people recommend arriving early to show enthusiasm, whereas others arrive ‘fashionably late’ to take pressure off the host. Being a few minutes early or late is okay, but try not to overdo it. Being too early forces your host to entertain before they’re ready, and being late shows a lack of respect for their effort.

Asking Personal Questions

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It’s nice to show interest in other people’s lives, but asking personal questions may make them feel awkward around you. It will seem like you’re prying for information they may not want to share, so while you may want to learn more about someone, waiting for them to share personal things is polite.

Apologizing For Everything

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A well-rounded person apologizes when they’re wrong, but people who apologize constantly are exhausting to be around. Over-apologizing could even be considered rude, as you make others feel like you’re desperate for them to reassure you. Find a balance by apologizing for your mistakes, not things you’re paranoid about.

Making Assumptions

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While we’re taught that making assumptions is always rude, sometimes we do it with the intention of doing good. For instance, if you see a wheelchair user shopping, you might assume they need help reaching things. However, tread carefully—you could be making a wrong assumption.

Excessive Gift-Giving

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We all love giving someone the perfect gift, but excessive gift-giving might actually harm relationships. As MindOwl shares, an excessive gift-giver might strain their relationships by making recipients feel inadequate or guilty. Healthy relationships are all about balance, so don’t let your gift-giving get out of hand!

Offering Constructive Criticism

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Constructive criticism is essential for character-building, but be careful how you phrase things. If you’re too forceful, the other person will think you’re looking down on them, even if you have good intentions. Try not to criticize people when it isn’t your place, and recognize what’s appropriate.


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If you’re a perfectionist, roping others into your perfectionism is rude and can make it seem like you’re trying to dominate every interaction. Wanting things to be perfect isn’t inherently wrong, but pushing your standards on others is rude, especially if they’re content with how things are.

Sharing Mutual Experiences on Social Media

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Many people share their entire lives on social media, but it’s important to be mindful of other people’s preferences. It’s courteous to ask if they want mutual photos posted or if you can write about shared experiences or memories. If they say no, respect that; otherwise, you’ll look very inconsiderate.

Keeping Quiet

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Letting other people speak is polite, but being too quiet comes across as aloof, and others will feel that you are not listening to them. It’s rude to dominate conversations, but it’s also rude to disengage. Conversations and relationships are about giving and taking, so don’t isolate yourself by appearing distant.

Being Relatable

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If someone is going through something you’ve already experienced, don’t constantly bring up your own experience. MindBodyGreen warns that trying too hard to be relatable can make you a conversational narcissist. Relating someone’s struggles to your own life might be helpful, but holding back is the polite thing to do.

Pushing People to ‘Be Better’

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Finally, be careful about suggesting to someone that they exercise more, change their job, or take a big risk. You may just be trying to motivate them, but too much pressure will quickly cause discomfort. Nobody wants to feel scrutinized, so it’s better to only try to help someone like this if they ask.

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