I don’t think niceness is a virtue. In fact I think all of those paragons of this insufferable attitude should be locked away in a deep, dark dungeon till all their niceness is dried away from them. Only then should they be allowed to mingle among human beings.
There are no brownie points for being nice. At work, in dating or in relationships. If you really do like the other person, then it doesn’t take an effort to be civil to them. Politeness is probably the most that’s required and that too only at work. And in non-professional relationships, the formality of being nice is an imposed distance. After all, would you keep up a pretense with a close friend? I subscribe to the come-as-you-are school of thought that says that a real friend will never burden you with inane thank yous and certainly not expect you to dress up in attire or behavior for them.
Am I advocating rudeness in non-professional, social conversations, then? Well, look at the alternative. I’d rather have someone tell me that they don’t like me or even just avoid me rather than go through the torturous rigmarole of the kind of behavior that I call ‘air-kissing’.
It started of course with an observation of the habits of those curious creatures that inhabit the third page. The pasted-on smiles, the ‘Lurrve-your-look-darrling-isn’t-that-last-year’s-dress’ attitude, the petty sniping, the honeyed words followed by poisoned actions….didn’t it just make you want to throw up? It did, me. Till I discovered that just like their clothes, the glam-set simply displayed the most ostentatious of what is otherwise common to most human beings. We’re all guilty of the soul-crime of niceness.
Oh and by the way, isn’t it interesting that the adjective ‘nice’ is more often than not appended to the female of the sex? Yup, I received those stringent lessons in Nice-Girl behaviour, same as my counterparts world over. My plaintive ‘but why?’ never got an answer and I was only told to shush up and learn to be a Nice Girl.
Nice Girls don’t protest. Nice Girls don’t talk back. Nice Girls don’t ask questions. Nice Girls are cowards.
Nice Girls don’t raise their voices. Nice Girls don’t laugh too loudly. Nice Girls are seen, not heard.
Nice Girls don’t get into fist-fights with boys. Nice Girls don’t get into scrapes with boys. Nice Girls aren’t human girls.
Nice Girls don’t swear. Nice Girls don’t drink. Nice Girls don’t smoke. Nice Girls are virgins. Nice Girls are repressed.
Nice Girls are polite. Nice Girls pay compliments. Nice Girls don’t tell you they loathe you. Nice Girls lie.
And the not-nice girl is supposed to be the vamp?????
And, don’t even get me started on those that use niceness as their most diabolical weapon, weaseling favours from others, playing on people’s guilt and stealing their approval or at least their agreement. Bloody mercenaries, I say hang them all! I’d imagine that true goodness of character comes from being, not from screaming out to the world about being good. Once it is shoved down the throat in the manner that Nice Girl behaviour seems to warrant, then it’s a compulsion, the sort of way a thug might slam you against a wall and demand that you treat him with respect.
Niceness is just the easy way out for people who don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of dislike, indifference or disrespect. Oh okay, I’ll concede, some of them aren’t all that bad. In fact I find I’m constantly having to tell friends to ‘quit bothering being nice’. This isn’t a clarion call to being boorish. But really, some of this niceness brainwashing has gone in so deep that it turns into masochism.
Just to re-iterate:
You do not have to do anything that you don’t want to. Doing something you hate, because you’re scared that the other person will feel bad is simply succumbing to emotional blackmail. Do that simply to be nice…but remember, you aren’t being nice to yourself, then.
I practise this as far as I can take it. Sure, people don’t always like the things I say (I’d hope not…they weren’t intended to make them feel good!!!) But there’s no doubting where I stand. And in my mind, any human being deserves the basic courtesy of knowing the truth. If a person can’t handle that…well, they can go get their wussiness pampered elsewhere.
* Incidently this post lay in my Drafts for a long time because I thought it wasn’t ‘nice’ enough. Someone called me a goonda recently and I almost didn’t defend myself. Almost. Because I was being too nice. Gah.