On the Nice List

There’s only a few things in this world that really grind my gears:

Wet socks

Not grabbing a towel before jumping into the shower

Mean people

And the first two things always happen in the same place, so at least I know to expect them.

But mean people? No, they come out of nowhere. Stamping their feet, rolling their eyes, acting like they’ve never met you before, even when you’ve addressed them from across the street (wait, those aren’t mean people. Those are just strangers. Nevermind.)

And somehow, mean people confuse niceness with weakness. As if kindness and compassion aren’t the hardest things to do when you’ve spent all day fuming at the “public” and wanting to bite everyone’s heads off, but resisting this temptationI mean, talk about earning a gold star. Being nice takes courage.

And assuredly, this is how I perceive the world. One kind act can erase 1,000 evil deeds.

So, tell me why I totally dodged a super nice cashier at Target today.

That’s right. I totally went in another lane because he was there. I know him. I’ve been in his lane before. And he is so nice. He comments appreciatively on your purchases and helps you with that stupid credit card chip technology. I once had to wait in his line while he finished having a really pleasant conversation with the person in front of me. Like, if he were a candy, well, he’d be all of them because he is just that sweet.

And I purposely avoided him. Why? Maybe because I just wanted to check out without making polite conversation. Maybe it was because I saw that another lane was moving faster?

But, no. That wasn’t it at all. It’s because he’s too nice. Which shouldn’t be a bad thing, ever. But suddenly, it is.

Do you know why? Because people are so rarely nice that I’m not sure I know what to do with it. I’m all, what’s your endgame? I know what you’re trying to do and it won’t work. And they’re all, “I was just trying to give you a recipe for spinach dip.” And I’m like, Oh, really? Do I look fat? Do you want me to eat healthier by eating spinach? Well, joke’s on you! Spinach dip isn’t really that healthy!

And the worst part is that I know it sounds crazy. But it’s true. Especially as a woman. I’m always just assuming that nice people are trying to put me in the back of their white van. And I love my dad, but he’s not Liam Neeson (even though he thinks he is), and he isn’t going to be able to get me back from the black market that they sell me to.

And truly,  I don’t know how to fix this avoidance of nice people in order to keep myself alive. I mean, it begs the questions: Should the world be more nice so I get used to it? Or should we stop being so suspicious of each other? Is being too nice a bad thing at the end of the day?

I’m not sure, but I wished I lived in a place where these weren’t actual questions.

I do hope that guy knows that he’s really good at his job, though. So good, it makes me uncomfortable.


Two-Faced is Too Much

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?