Excuse Me While I Take A Pass On Being Nice Today
Is being nice so important? Are we so infantile and needy that we expect people to smile and speak to us in a sweet tone of voice carefully designed to make us feel comfortable? And don’t let it be you who doesn’t paste that smile on your face or baby talk enough to make the “nice” cut, because then you my friend will be the bitch. The villain. The leper. The one avoided by the masses. I’ll be honest, I avoid “nice” people like the plague, so what does that make me?
My favorite Asian supermarket is owned by a woman whose name I do not know despite shopping there for years. For the first two years, she would barely if at all acknowledge me. Ok the truth is she ignored me unless I said hello first. Then she begrudgingly murmured something, she could be saying “go to hell” in Vietnamese for all I know. I was appalled. Hey chick! I pay your rent by shopping here, you’re welcome! That’s what I was thinking. But after a while it became comical to me that this woman was so unapologetically stank and didn’t give a hoot. She didn’t feel like grinning and she wasn’t going to! Then it hit me, there was only one feeling that I could have for her. Respect.
Niceness is NOT politeness. Greeting someone who greets you is being polite. Even I will admit that that is basic decency. She did that, in some murmured language. Greeting them with a toothy grin and an emotive voice is what tips you into the “nice” box. She did not do that. I would ask myself what is wrong with her? What’s wrong with me? The answer to both of those questions is: I don’t know. Here’s the thing, expecting people to be “nice” truly is self-centered, because:
- You do not know what someone is going through.
Seriously, someone could have just kicked the bucket so no reason to smile there. They could be stressed out of their minds and just barely keeping it together. Or it could be plain old PMS. Believe me, the struggle is real.
- Other people are not responsible for giving you a great day.
You are! The web is full of gurus and their positive mantras. Between Google and Siri you are covered baby.
- Maybe it really is you.
I personally believe that people usually do not wake up thinking about how they can hurt your feelings today. Instead, they wake up normally and go about their business, and then here you come. Perhaps there is just nothing about your face, as cute as it is, that inspires them to work those face muscles into a smile. Maybe the best they can muster is a smirk resembling someone in need of a toilet quickly. That’s ok, I’m sure there is someone within whom you inspire those muscles to go all the way, and if not, refer to #2 above.
So there, while niceness may in fact put most of us at ease, it’s also ok when people miss the mark. Life is tough! And most people are dealing with some mess at any given time. So the next time someone fails to deliver the sweets just buck up and move on. By the way, Ms. Vietnam and I are like best friends now. Niiice.
Do you trust “nice” people? Let’s talk about it!