What of the best lines in Steel Magnoliasis when Clairee says, “If you can’t say anything nice about anyone, come sit by me.” It’s a delicious, hilarious jab at people who are too nice all the time. Not only are incredibly nice people boring at parties, but it turns out that they may also be more prone to developing mental illness, at least according to one scientific study.
The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, showed that people who are nice, which the researchers defined as sensitive to unfairness or inequity, are more likely to show symptoms of depression than people who are more selfish and egotistical.
They made this determination by having 350 subjects take a personality test to help separate people into two groups: “pro-social” ((meaning self-sacrificing and willing to work towards equity) or “individualist” (selfish and primarily concerned with taking care of themselves). They then looked at people’s willingness to share financial resources with those less fortunate than themselves by sticking the study participants in an MRI and seeing what part of their brains lit up during specific situations.