Disclaimer: I definitely have no intentions to write about being nice unconditionally. So, if you are expecting me to build a strong case for spreading unlimited love and being nice unquestioningly, you’ll be disappointed!
Recently I came across a beautiful write up titled “Why you should stop caring about being ‘nice’” , which got me thinking about the genuine dilemma many people (including a few of my close friends) face thinking that saying ‘No’ is only equivalent to being rude. I was touched as soon as I started reading it because I could relate to it and in my opinion she did raise some valid concerns and gave some quality explanations to her thoughts. With this article I only intend to further add to it and not contradict her by any means. Also, you may not agree with my opinion; but, feel free to comment. 🙂
Misconception: To be a good person one must always be nice. Also, being good increases social acceptance.
The world is a materialistic place and the feeling is strong among people living in big cities. In general, we can never be certain whether a philanthropic cause is showing genuine concern or doing publicity (I am just generalizing here, there are many humble philanthropists too). I came across a few articles (of which I have referenced one below ) which says that NGOs are not meeting its purpose because only a fraction of the funds are being used for the real cause. We generalize and assume that everyone involved in charity are good people. However, I am sorry, I beg to differ.
For me, being a good person is to do something good and not expect anything in return. So, if you genuinely want to be nice, you don’t necessarily need to be generous to everyone; all you need to do is be honest and true to yourself. Why would this make sense? This is because Good or Bad is also relative, thus making it a matter of perspective. Ungrateful people will always try manipulating you for favors. It is for you to decide whether do they deserve your humble goodness? On the other hand, a grateful person always acknowledges the smallest of things you do for them; and even if you deny them a request, they will continue to be grateful for all the other things you did for them. These are the people whom you should be nice to because they realize the importance of kindness. To the others, you can always be nice by staying diplomatic. 🙂
Furthermore, think about it yourself; if you are really a nice person, should the opinion or acceptance of ungrateful people matter to you? Why yield to their whims, if inconvenient to you. Would they do the same when you are in dire need?
Summary: Being Nice means being honest to oneself. It is a balancing act of displaying kindness between the grateful and the manipulating pricks. You need to make a choices depending on your own convenience.
What is the meaning of being nice?
This is not really a difficult question to answer. Simply put, being nice means treating others with respect. One must be polite in their conduct and not harass or discriminate others because their deficiencies. I say this because bullying, harassment and prejudice are the realities of our society even today . Being a part of the society we often tend to judge people. While judging others for the right reasons may be essential in evaluating them for competitive or compatibility purposes; judging just anyone derogatorily without a reason just because their practices, though not harmful, may not appear in line with societal norms, is a very ugly thing to do. Even the thought of it is nasty! Live your life and let them live theirs. Also, I would even recommend you to stand up against such practices, of course without falling in danger yourself.
The next thing is, be helpful, whenever possible. The ‘whenever possible’ bit is the most important. I am stressing this because often ungrateful people have the tendency of taking undue advantage. This means that even though they are they are capable of doing certain things, they reply upon others to get their job done at the expense of other’s time and resources. If you deny assistance to such people, you are definitely NOT doing anything wrong! Feel good about it. The primary reason why nice people fall in the guilt trap is because they get emotional when they say NO. Think of it yourself rationally, who really deserve help? Is it the people who can help themselves or the people who have run out of options?
Summary: Broadly speaking, one can be nice to people around them by following two simple rules:
1. By being courteous and gracious.
2. By helping others, in their capacity. [Also, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t hesitate going overboard with helping someone who has given you a reason to be grateful to them.]
A few more thoughts:
Often, your friends need your true opinion to evaluate themselves or their work. They want you to be the judge because they can’t decide for themselves. This is the time you can be nice by giving your true opinion and not some sugar coated words. Remember, I had mentioned above that being good or bad depends on perspective? This is a typical example when something negative you say may have a positive bearing and you will in fact be helping out the person. You are better a judge of things you come across so always be rational; question yourself: What is the right things to do? Are you really doing something right, or trying to please the crowd? Are you being true to yourself?
One very important thing that I want to mention is diplomacy. This is more of a disclaimer, since I am encouraging you to be honest. Diplomacy is is a very specialized situation and being diplomatic is a virtue. You can be honest to people you encounter personally. But, when it comes to dealing with professionals, you might want be careful as honesty may not always be the best policy. The person seeking your honest option maybe trying to judge you based on what you say. Unfortunately, it can’t be generalized and one must trade smartly when faced with such a situation. Apart from flattery, a dignified silence is often a best solution in diplomacy.
Finally, I would like to encourage readers to learn to say NO. It may not be an easy thing, may make you feel guilty or may make you sound rude; but, depending on the situation, it may not be wrong or bad! It is an important attribute I would recommend you to learn . It is definitely not an easy thing, because you are likely to offend people. But, I am sure that with practice, you’ll get it right!
If you have to deny your close friends for anything (like if you want to skip a hiking plan on a particular day, and so on) make sure to tell them the reason. All true friends have one quality in common, i.e. they are understanding! 🙂 They choose to be with you irrespective of your tantrums only because you have their respect for some attribute they extremely value.