Is it considered mature to be nice to someone you don’t like or is it two-faced and disingenuous?
I would really like my readers to weigh in on this issue in the comments, but of course, you’re going to hear my perspective first. And maybe it will surprise you.
If you grew up female, you absolutely, positively knew one person in your school who “acted nice” in front of someone but tore them to pieces behind their back. And not to discriminate, because if you are a guy, you probably experienced this too. The difference is that you punched that guy in the face and got over it. Us girls, well. I like to say that we’re a bit more creative about our revenge.
Anyway, the person who would raise you up to your face and raze you to the ground in front of other people was generally not considered to be a trustworthy or kindly individual by others’ evaluations. And, undoubtedly, if you were this person, you were on a fast track to not having any friends very quickly if anyone found out about your, shall we say, double dipping. To put it simply, you were two-faced. And to put it in even simpler terms, that’s not cool.
But in adulthood, I think being two-faced is a way of life and a survival technique. And actually, I think it is a sign of maturity. Okay, being open and friendly to someone and then catty and jealous behind their back is not very mature. But I think being nice to someone that you don’t really care for is.
I mean, it happens all the time. The barista at Starbucks could be rude, a co-worker may rub you the wrong way, a family member that you don’t like could be coming over for dinner. Does it really make you less of a person for not flat-out telling them what a horrible person you think they are? Why does no one get points for courtesy anymore? Did “keeping the peace” die out with the Vietnam War?
And okay. I can see the other side, too. Life is too short to be fake to someone. You should be able to be yourself without having to conform to other people’s expectations. And who knows? Maybe your honesty will motivate someone to change their ways.
I mean, it sort of comes down to what you want people to say at your funeral. Oh, she was really, really nice. Like, that’s it? You were nice? No! You want them to say, Well, she could be a total b*tch sometimes, but she said what was on her mind, and she accomplished things. She owned the space that she had been given on this earth.
So, I don’t have an answer to my initial question, and I don’t know what the best policy is. All I know is that we’re faced with the decision to hide our feelings or be honest all of the time. I just feel that we should be able to express ourselves without having to be downright mean and without wearing a mask.
But what are your thoughts?