Please

I feel uncomfortable when someone calls me nice. It’s not as if I have something against being likeable. It’s just that the connotations associated with this tag have altered drastically over the last few years. This sobriquet is mostly reserved for someone who agrees with our perception we have of our own fabulousness. So, someone who rarely disagrees with us and has only good things to say is considered nice. 

Truth be told, niceness these days has rarely anything to do with the individual and his/her character or the lack of it. It has more to do with how he/she makes us feel about ourselves. 

The same holds true for us. In our desire to be liked, we often refrain from saying what we feel. So, when a friend shares her latest literary masterpiece that reads more like the scribbling of a six year old, or invites us to her brand new home that’s decorated like the house of horrors, we’d rather gush politely than blurt out that we’ve yet to see anything worse. Of course not. That’s harsh and we don’t want to come across as judgmental, do we? 

I understand that the idea is to not hurt someone else’s feelings even if we didn’t agree with them. So we’ll continue praising Sneha Aunt’s snazzy new hairdo even if it makes her look like Paresh Rawal and insist that our tone-deaf cousin sings just like Lata Mangeshkar. 

We want to be nice so that others are nice to us in return. 

Precisely why we are overtly sweet with people we barely know, especially our friends on Facebook. We become more generous with our compliments and ‘heartfelt’ emotions. After all, the more we like, the more others will like us, in turn making us feel good about ourselves. 

Even if we feel slighted by someone, rather than approaching him/her directly, we are happy posting generic updates, cribbing about insensitivity and meanness of the world at large. 

Sadly, we reserve our true selves, read our worst side, only for those closest to us, snapping at them or throwing tantrums without the slightest provocation. I feel the ideal way of gauging someone’s true character is to observe how they behave with people they don’t need to impress. A lady who treats her household help as her slave just because she’s paying her a salary deserves contempt. The chap in his gleaming BMW, who’d rather resort to fist cuffs than admit he was in the wrong, is far from educated despite his made in USA qualifications. 

On the other hand we have people who do not shy of telling Aunty that her new hairdo makes her look like a Poodle or that your masterpiece is a piece of trash. But rather than calling them nice, we are quick to dismiss them as rude, opinionated or even jealous of our success. 

It’s as if speaking the truth has become the greatest sin of all. 

Sadly, many of us would rather revel in false praises than pay heed to well-meaning criticism. It’s easier to be stung by censure and deceive ourselves into believing that it’s just evil machinations of a jealous mind. 

I think the way we react to praise and criticism defines us. Believe in your greatness and rest assured you’ll be swimming in the sea of mediocrity for the rest of your life. Only if we learn to sift out well-meaning concern, accept it gracefully and work on it to become better, are we truly deserving of praise.  

We can only learn from our mistakes only if we accept that they are mistakes, right? 

Precisely why we need to surround ourselves with those who are ready to tell you the truth no matter how much it hurts. Your worst critic is perhaps your best friend. 

So, if you are someone who really cares for me, please don’t be nice, be yourself with me. I may like you less but I’ll certainly respect you more. 

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32 thoughts on “Please

  1. Here’s me being myself about your post. I liked it, especially how you differentiated between being polite in society and nice. But if your being nice prevents them from being heartbroken or feeling humiliated, I’d say ‘be nice instead’. There’s no harm in little lies. But of) course, when you must say the truth, you should not cling to ‘niceness’ is order to please others. The above two I learnt the hard way. So for me, being nice is more about diplomacy. If the situation permits, Indulge the others.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My motto of the story was ‘Don’t be nice, be yourself’. I meant the same of whatever you said in your comments pradita. I like blunt truth irrespective of any situations. Thanks for your views 🙂

      Like

  2. Every word, every sentence, every phrase used in this passage reflects the truth, the harsh reality of us becoming more of a pleaser.
    Being truthful is as necessary as being considerate towards others. Maybe not always, but mostly, our truth will help the other person way longer than (falsely) praising him/her exaltedly.
    I, especially, liked few sentences like,
    So we’ll continue praising Sneha Aunt’s snazzy new hairdo even if it makes her look like Paresh Rawal and insist that our tone-deaf cousin sings just like Lata Mangeshkar. 
    This made me laugh.😄

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds like you have waged war within yourself. You appear upset by this all. Truth verse polite, but I was drilled to be polite. I get where you are coming from with all this but I think you need to accept the fact that you won’t always get the truth. Even if you are guilty of not always being truthful yourself. You do need to be cautious of when you tell the truth tho, because sometimes it does more harm than good. Also, I believe it is the intention to do good and be good that counts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes I tell the truth in extremely hurtful way and rudely only to hurt someone. But it has nothing to do with the truth inhere in but the one that I am hurt in a way that… perhaps, out of self pity. Sometimes, it’s good to keep a distance from some people. Yet, I understand that I need to change the way I do – when it flushes out without control. It’s ugly then. All the same liked the post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘Your worst critic is perhaps your best friend’,I adored you brought up the subject of being true to yourself rather than to fade away in the ‘nice’ loving word who accept everything packaged and ignore every painful truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At the risk of coming across as self-servingly nice, I love this post! Also, I hear you…there is a difference between being nice and being kind…kind is altruistic and nice is in service of winning others over/being protected/approved of….etc etc. Just my opinion…also, this post made me laugh so hard inside (the opening bit about false and undeserved compliments). You have a wonderful way with words and a wonderful heart….thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very well said, we do sometimes practice self censorship. I do think however that there is a difference b/w being rude and being honest. If telling someone their hairdo looks horrendous just for the sake of honesty then one should also provide solution. That’s just my two cents.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’d like to be myself and get it right. Sometimes I’m “nice” then people tell me I’m too nice, and when I keep it real, people complain I’m too mean. I used to get stuck sometimes and just reserve my comments and smile. But I’ve come to learn that being me is easiest, so too bad for people who won’t like me just becoz…

    Liked by 1 person

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