Ever since we were kids we were told to be nice. In grade school we were often told that if a kid was bullying us we should ignore them. Then, we were told in high school that if a teacher graded us unfairly then we should just respect the teacher and be nice. As adults , we are always told that if we are mistreated at work the boss is always right and that we should be nice. But, is being nice always the smartest option?
What do you do when a woman pushes in front of you in a line, or a man speeds right passed you in a car so fast that he causes you to feel like you are plummeting to your own death? Do you just be nice to them? What if a person has spoken about you behind your back yet they insist on talking to you like nothing has ever happened, do you still be nice? What if someone lies to your face, do you be nice and not say to them that they are lying?
Probably you are nice in all these situations and I am nice too, but this is not because we are saints. It is only because we have just been so pre-conditioned to be believe that being nice means not speaking up. So, we smile and act politely.
We even live in a world where speaking the truth is considered rudeness. In a line, if a man tells the woman cutting in front of him to go to the back, then the rest of the people in line would probably stare and frown at him for making a scene. If the driver whose life has been put in jeopardy by another shows a hint of frustration, then the speeding driver would cause a scene and everyone in the street would tell the first driver to move on and ignore. If we just refuse to be nice to people who are not nice to us then we are told that we are rude or even immature.
So, within such contexts the terms nice and polite are synonymous with hiding one’s true feelings while honesty is associated with rudeness. With the frame of reference regarding the terms “nice” and “rude” being so muddled we can always expect people to get away with being wrong, especially when pointing out the right course of action is considered not being nice.
Isn’t it time for us to stop considering being nice as the equivalent of ignoring wrong doings. Let us be honest because by being honest we are not being rude we are just creating a world where being wronged doesn’t slide so easily. Being nice should only mean being kind and being rude should only mean being harsh. Honesty, integrity, and going by one’s values should not be mistaken for rudeness.
So let me ask you this, if you were to choose between being nice and frustrated and being honest yet sometimes harsh , which one would you pick?
Food for thought.