Social Question

linguaphile's avatar

Are helping, kindness and generosity always kind??

Asked by linguaphile (13587 points ) February 3rd, 2012

As asked.

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11 Answers

stardust's avatar

Not necessarily I suppose. The helpful, kind or generous behaviour could be coming from a place of manipulation, the needs of the person, etc. However, even if one isn’t wholly altruistic in one’s intentions, the recipient might not be aware of that. So if they perceive a helpful, kind, generous gesture to be one of kindness, it might very well be kind :/
There’s also the old adage that sometimes one has to be cruel to be kind, which I can attest to ;)

HungryGuy's avatar

I dunno. I gave $5 to a beggar while heading to the bus stop on my way home from work tonight. She said she was hungry and wanted to buy a pizza. Yeah, right… But I was about to drop $20 at KFC before catching the next bus, so I didn’t mind.

marinelife's avatar

Intended kindly perhaps, but maybe not a help, always.

Blackberry's avatar

No. There have been many times I’ve been polite and helpful just because a woman was attractive. :/

Earthgirl's avatar

I think sincerely kind actions are always kind in nature but they may not be kind in effect. It depends on the wisdom of the action. To me, the kindness depends on the sincerity. Niceness, on the other hand, can be fake and condescending. I hate it when someone I have legitimate issues and conflicts with (this is mostly in a work setting) acts so nice to me while stabbing me in the back. Then they act as if they are being “the bigger person” by being nice. I feel like GET REAL!!!

Coloma's avatar

Nope, not if it is enabling or self serving, then it’s not kindness, it is dysfunction and disingenuity.
@Earthgirl My condolences, nothing worse than passive aggressive “kindness.” blech! lol

Earthgirl's avatar

Coloma Thanks for the support. I deal with it on a daily basis.

Bellatrix's avatar

It depends on the person’s motivation and the receiver’s own perception of need. If they are a busy body who justifies their behaviour with the premise they are being ‘kind’, then no. Also, if the receiver doesn’t want the help and says they don’t want help, it could become interference.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Kindness is always kind, otherwise it wouldn’t be kindness. It’s just definitionally true. Help someone too much, however, and they may become helpless. That does not strike me as kind. Generosity, though, seems to be about one’s attitude. One cannot be grudgingly generous, rudely generous, or nastily generous. As such, it may be a species of kindness—though that need not mean that it is always helpful (for the reasons already given).

flutherother's avatar

I just finished “Beware of Pity” by Stefan Zweig where I found this quotation:

‘There are two kinds of pity. One, the weak and sentimental kind, which is really no more than the heart’s impatience to be rid as quickly as possible of the painful emotion aroused by the sight of another’s unhappiness…; and the other, the only kind that counts, the unsentimental but creative kind, which knows what it is about and is determined to hold out, in patience and forbearance, to the very limit of its strength and even beyond.’

linguaphile's avatar

Thanks, everyone, for the answers. This was a question I thought about on the way to work from a work situation and I was curious what others had to say… My question mostly came from about how people decide how to be kind and generous to others without any knowledge of whether their kindness is actually helpful or harmful. A Deaf-Blind friend of mine once scolded me, “I decide how I want to be helped, you do not decide for me,” and that was extremely profound. It made me think of the concept of oppressive benevolence.
Thanks, again!

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