Do Nice Guys Finish First or Last?

In Barack Obama’s eulogy for Rep. Elijah Cummings, the former president noted that Cummings “was a kind man.” He went on to passionately argue that “there’s nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There’s nothing weak about looking out for others. There’s nothing weak about being honorable. You’re not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”


Obama is, of course, correct. It takes great strength to rid oneself of egotism, take on the perspectives of others, and act with honor—especially when some of those others are fighting dirty and benefiting from a self-interested and antagonistic approach. But is it true that people who show compassion, seek compromise, and embrace humility get their just desserts, or is it the case that nice guys really do finish last?


There is a growing body of research showing that warm characters who signal benevolence and kindness—who seek to get along with others, rather than get ahead of those around them—are favored and awarded increased respect and admiration. They are also seen as more desirable long-term romantic partners.


Adopting a warmer approach can provide a healthy boost to financial returns, too. In contrast to the stereotype of the prototypical self-aggrandizing salesman, who thinks himself God’s gift, most successful salespeople tend not to self-promote and boast to clients in an attempt to demonstrate superiority. Their strategy is more subtle and, consequently, smarter. They express warmth rather than grandiosity, and so form a personal connection with clients that is more than its own reward. continue reading on Psychology Today