When I headed out the door to go to work, Roger would often call down the stairs, “Play nice with the other kids.” The older I get, the less I want to be nice. Nice is not for me. My Mother always said “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything.” Unfortunately, my quiet “nice” can fan embers of smoldering resentments into a raging forest fire. The kind of forest fire with zero containment, and threatening homes.
“Girlie” girls are nice, but very boring. I get a lot done when I’m pissed off. I can get the urge to clean house or worse! Nice is usually hiding something, like authenticity. I know please and thank you help social transactions flow pleasantly and smoothly. We coach our kids on please and thank you even when please sounds like “peas”, and thank you sounds like “Hank you”. If Aunt Edith gives them a shirt they would not be caught dead in, “thank you” is really a lie and so it begins…lying to protect other people’s feelings. Slippery. I am done going down that road.
Nice never seems to grow up, but I grew up and life got more complicated. Whenever I go on a “nice” binge, I find myself committed to cleaning cat litter boxes, or making 50 phone calls to let people know a meeting has been moved. I don’t jump out of bed in the morning, excited for all the opportunities to be “not” nice. Yesterday I brought a blueberry scone back to the barista and politely told her that it was dry and stale. What I really wanted to say was “This scone is like a rock , almost broke my tooth , and the blueberries are the work of dung beetles.” I don’t cut in front of people in a line, but I do point out when someone cuts in front of me. I don’t run over old ladies, and I often hold the door open for them. See? I am not a meanie.
Kindness is important to me, and I can be “not” nice and still be kind. I have boundaries and rights like everyone, and I don’t want to be submissive or passive. I hope that “Be kind” can
replace “Be nice”. Think about it.