Saturday, August 31, 2013

If I were just a little meaner, my world would be a nicer place.

I am just too darn nice.

I am nice to friends who borrow expensive tools and never return them, I am nice to the asshole at the ATM apparently attempting to refinance his house, I am nice to the child in the movie theater during a screening of ARGO, squirming and talking loudly because the adult movie was way over his head and he didn't care one little whit about any of it. (Parents...hel-loooooo?)

I am too nice.

And when one is too nice, other people have no boundaries, no clearly defined lines in the dirt, no rules of engagement. So they do whatever the hell they feel like.

And it's not going to be wasting time being considerate of me.

I have taken nice to a level where people feel no obligation whatsoever to give a tiny little shit about me. They simply expect me to "be nice."

The unavoidable and depressingly real result of being too nice is that other people feel that it is perfectly within their right to take advantage of you and if you say anything, if you expect them to be more responsible or more considerate, YOU are the bad guy because society values your "niceness" and your "tolerance" more than it values their consideration or maturity. And they know that.

And when it gets to the point where even the most dull-witted realize that they are stepping all over you, they pull out the "I've been so busy" card. Well, that wipes the slate clean, doesn't it? You've been busy.  I certainly have no right to expect you to live up to your promises and obligations, what with you being so busy and all. Then when I have to make time in my day, day after day, to do what you won't, my life's "busyness" is not an issue. Somehow, my time isn't as valuable as yours.

Can you tell I'm not happy?

I am currently in a spot where, without giving any details and certainly without naming names, I have stepped up, ponied up, put up, and shut up until I'm FED UP.  But I'm nice. Too nice. So I do not speak up. So I am getting used up. And I'm afraid I might blow up. But for now, I'll just drink up.

But I do think my situation is analogous to our society today. We are all expected to put up with much that we don't approve of, much we don't agree with, much that we believe is damaging and harmful, but if we speak out, if we speak up, we are called names and denigrated as horrible people. And those holding all the cards, those making the accusations of racism or homophobia or xenophobia or whatever, are the ones doing whatever the hell they want and expecting the nice people who have been cowed into silence to just keeping putting up with whatever they dish out.

I'm crawling into The Drinking Closet now. If you want to join me, then YOU have to be nice. I'm all "niced" out.


  1. Yep. Sounds about right.

    I stopped talking to my elder younger sister a few years back because I was tired of being told how evil I was when I disagreed with her, and that I wasn't being "nice".

    My father was trying to convince me to start being "nice" again, and I asked him flat out if he would expect me to keep talking to/being friends with someone who treated me like that if they weren't related to me.

    He didn't answer, but he's never brought the subject up again. And if you knew my father, you'd know that that is almost in miracle territory.

    We're the older siblings, the responsible ones, and as such we're supposed to put up with the little ones running riot. We're not allowed to discipline them, because that would go against Dr. Spock and the whole permissive parenting thing (forgetting that later in life he was on record that he wished he'd never told people that they should never spank).

    I'm not having a drink right now, but not because it doesn't sound good.

  2. Thing is, being nice doesn't equal being good or being decent. As a matter of fact, I've found that to do the right thing I sometimes have to be distinctly NOT nice - some would say even nasty.

    It's NOT selfish to be not nice. We *all* (including me) want to be thought well of but I've found that for me at least the cost of being nice is too high when balanced against doing the right thing.

  3. I remember sort of laughing when I found out that the reason my sister gives for her behaviour towards me is that I made her friends cry (by stating a commonly held position on abortion and not accusing anyone who has had one of anything) and her friends are "nice" people. I don't want "nice" friends. I want "good" friends and "decent" friends.

    And then there's that origins of the word "nice", in the 13th century, which are "foolish, stupid, senseless", which seem to be pretty good descriptions of a lot of the "nice" people to whom we're supposed to be "nice" back.

  4. Coincidentally, this is a post by my friend in today's LJ.

    I guess I was not behaving nice when I told a loud Chinese woman to control her child who stood up on the seat next to me on a subway and started jumping.
    And you know what? I can care less.

  5. A lot of people have a knack for saving themselves time and effort. Sure, they could spend an extra 5, 10, 15 minutes doing their job properly the first time. Or they could take a shortcut that's easier now and let somebody else spend hours unsnarling the mess when it becomes a problem later. Sigh.

  6. @Library-Gryffon...same here. My older sister and I hardly speak because she is a very privileged and well-off Marxist who thinks I'm a heartless money-grubber because we have our own company and want to MAKE A PROFIT! HORRORS!!! That's REALLY not nice. If stupid is a five letter word, profit is a four letter word to an effing communist. And I LOVE the origins of words. Always enlightening. "Don't tell me words don't matter." HAHAHA!

    @Morris -- spot freaking on. There is a HUGE difference between being nice and being good. Nice almost always involves allowing someone to do something that ISN'T good. My point exactly.

    @CreakyPavillion -- I'm with you and your friend on kids. While I love my own kids, I never for one second expected anyone else to even so much as tolerate them. They either behaved, or they were removed. Period. Sometime ago I was in a store where a particularly charming little demon was throwing a fit because he hadn't managed to convince his mother to get him something he thought he needed for his very life, and while I applauded her unwillingness to be exhorted by the little monster, I was appalled by her subsequent inability to shut the fucker up. Saying no is great. Saying "Be quiet or die" is quite often just as necessary. The kicker was when they got to the door. He was still hysterical and she threatened him with going to the car. About freaking time, I thought, except that it was no real threat. They had finished shopping and where the hell else was she going to go? So go to your car already! But no. She suddenly had a brilliant idea. AT THE DOOR OF THE STORE she decided to threaten him with NOT LEAVING until he could behave himself. This tactical brilliance made me absolutely lose it. I burst out, "Or for God's you actually think THAT'S punishment? The only people being punished by letting him scream in here another minute are the rest of us!" She was highly offended. So was I. We were even.

    @RG -- has a poster that sums up your comment perffectly. Mediocrity

  7. You are nice and also very good, and that's why I like you. As for the situation at hand, since I know the details I'd like to add that you're not just being nice, you're being GENEROUS, and that generosity seems to be something the receiving party feels quite entitled to, for no rational reason. And that's what's so vexing about it. The complete lack of recognition of what you're doing on a daily basis, which benefits them but certainly not you, and basically it's just shitty of them. Shitty!

    I've had to shed friends in the past because of this whole "you're not being NICE" nonsense Library Griffon mentioned. I cannot handle people like that, so needy, so demanding that you comport yourself in exactly the way THEY deem "nice", which is usually nothing of the sort. Ugh.