Story time: one of the first transformative experiences that I had in college was in a history class titled Creating Contemporary America.
Dr. Pollock was not a woman to mince words, and so when WASP behavior, the creation of the American suburb, ticky tacky houses, and ‘nice work’ became the topic of conversation, she didn’t hold back. “What is the POINT of ‘making nice?’ why have pointless conversations about the weather or peewee sports to be likable?” Is never having a ruffled interaction worth a 100 non memorable conversations? What about 1000? A lifetime?
I realized it wasn’t. I have to assume that I only get one life, one chance to EXPERIENCE. I don’t want to spend it biting my tongue, telling half truths to lubricate interactions or feigning interest or sweetness. If someone doesn’t regard me in a positive light, why should I care? Why be ‘nice’?? Why allow your defining characteristic be a lack of interesting experience? I can think of fewer things more distasteful than for this to be my descriptor. ” For fucks sake, BE SOMETHING, anything else.” I told myself. I did not/do not want to be a glass half full, rose tinted glasses person, because this person is in denial. They live in a pleasant Matrix and for this they have my disdain.
To be clear, being KIND is not the same as being nice. Sometimes people need an unpleasant but beneficial reality check. To avoid it, is Nice. To tackle it for their benefit or others is kind. To fight for things that are right is kind, but it is not nice and is often unpleasant. Sometimes ‘nice’ masquerades as kind or kind may be mistaken for nice. The difference is in quality.
‘Nice’ is vanilla. It’s sweet without intensity. The remaining taste in your mouth after a ‘nice’ interaction is as much about what you don’t experience (challenge, intensity, excitement, anger, passion) as what you do.
See things as they are.
Have more depth than superficial pleasantness.
Be more interesting than everyone’s cup of tea.
Be more challenging than likeable.
Be more than nice.
For many reasons this thought has been working its way through my brain. Too many times biting my tongue in the hospital setting? One too many times hearing “but they’re soo nice” as an excuse?
Maybe it’s being passed over for the easier/more palatable option too many times that has effected this post. Regardless, I will continue to be more than just nice.