Before we start, I have to explain why I chose an image of Ed Sheeran for this article. In a piece I read a long time ago, the author described Ed as a typical “nice guy,” a moniker that – if it was given to me – would push me to commit suicide.
A lot of people struggle with the idea of being “nice.” Not in the sense that they’re unable to be kind, but they don’t understand what it means. It’s not about the action; it’s about where it’s coming from.
I’ve heard people say on more than one occasion, “I’m sick of being so nice to people and then having them treat me like shit in return.”
I usually don’t know what to say to them; not like they want to hear it anyway because they’re typically venting.
Some people are always “nice,” but they don’t get respect because they’re not kind because they want to be, it’s more that they’re unable to be mean to people.
If you’re not real, then you can be as kind as you want, a lot of people won’t respect you, and that’s that.
However, I’m willing to admit if you secretly hate a person, for example, but you’re always helpful to them out of respect and basic manners, there are a lot of people who consider that to be “fake.”
It depends on how you look at it. The way I see it, it’s best to be kind to others because you never know what they’re going through.
Not only that but if you think about it, in many instances, each person is an individual piece of a whole, a set of pieces which are interconnected for the function of the whole. This is a mouthful so let me explain:
In a workplace, for example, it’s better to be diplomatic for the sake of getting a job done. Isn’t that what you’re there for? To put aside personal bullshit and finish a job for which you’re paid?
I’m willing to concede that it’s not always straightforward.
However, it’s kind of like the old quote from Marcus Aurelius where he says you should be kind because you don’t know others’ problems.
But there’s a balancing act. You shouldn’t be kind to someone who doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated.
Admittedly, it’s hard to draw boundaries at times. It’s like you’re not sure if you’re being disrespected or not at the moment, but when you think about it later, you realize that you have been.
Those instances are possibly the worst; when you go home at night and realize you should’ve said something else, because, at the time, you didn’t even know the person was dissing you.
When you’re at home, you think to yourself, “Fuck, I should’ve said that” but hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
Anyway, I digress.
Contrary to what Thomas Hobbes may say, humans have the instinct always to be kind to other people. They’re inherently good.
This idea reminds of the scene from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, where the serial killer and Daniel Craig are speaking at his mansion. Daniel is standing down on the patio after he just discovered an essential clue regarding the identity of the murderer.
The killer, who played the creepy professor in Good Will Hunting, invites Craig in for a drink and he complies despite the fact that he knows it’s not a good idea.
It’s this scene right here:
The psychopathic weirdo asks Daniel, “why don’t people trust their instincts more often?”
People understand something terrible is about to happen, but they’ll through with the action anyway. The weirdo in the clip claims it’s because of their desire to please others and be kind. It’s about wanting to be liked.
Ultimately, their inclination to be kind to others is what causes their downfall. Jordan B Peterson talks about this at length in some of his videos, especially regarding the trait, agreeableness.
People who are agreeable often have a terrible time getting what they want in life, and rarely speak up when they feel wronged. It’s partially the reason why women are usually Ok with the pay rate they receive for a job #IJustTriggeredAFeminist.
In the media lately, Michelle Williams revealed she volunteered to do re-shoots in Ridley Scott’s new movie, All The Money In The World. Michelle only received around $1,000, and the actress admitted that she told producers and the directors she would do it for next to nothing because Michelle was committed to the movie and wanted to help out in any way that she could.
However, Mark Wahlberg was not having any of that shit. He demanded to be paid $1 million otherwise he would not do it. In case you didn’t hear, Scott had to replace Kevin Spacey’s role in the movie with Christopher Plummer amid Spacey’s misconduct crisis.
The cast and crew had to scramble to reshoot all of the scenes because the release date of the movie was imminent. Films have to be on schedule; it’s a part of their deal with the studio’s which fund them.
Anyway, in summation, Michelle didn’t ask for money, but Mark did.
The media fiasco which came out as a result of this incident blew my mind. Williams VOLUNTEERED to do the job for next to nothing, but when she found out Mark demanded to be paid top dollar, she takes to social media to complain about the “wage gap,” as if it was a result of institutionalized sexism rather than her OWN DECISION. Unbelievable.
Anyway, this idea plays into how agreeable people often feel victimized by others and the system. They accept a shit role for shit pay, then complain about it afterward as if it was everyone else’s fault but their own.
What I’m describing is known as the “victim mentality,” and it’s been discussed to death so I won’t go into it.
To bring this all back together, a person has to have the capacity to defend themselves. It would be great if we lived in a world where people didn’t try and take advantage of each other sometimes, but the truth is the world I’m referring to doesn’t exist.
It’s not because people are inherently evil, it’s that we’re emotional creatures and sometimes we take out our anger and resentment on others, despite the fact we might not even want to do so.
Just the other day, I was sitting in Tim Hortons doing work, and I watched a teenage girl working behind the counter berate a new male trainee, treating him like shit, talking down to him as if he was a worthless piece of shit.
The kid just took it, because in all fairness, he’s young and he doesn’t understand that nobody has the right to talk to him like that. It doesn’t matter if you’ve made a lot of mistakes on your first day or not. You don’t have to take that shit.
You have to bear your fangs sometimes. If you can’t “be mean” to someone when you need to be, no one will respect you when you’re nice. It isn’t until they’ve seen your bad side that they realize that they want to be on your good side. To be on your good side is validating to their sense of self-esteem, they feel like they’ve worked for it.
It feels like an honor to be the friend of someone who is hard to befriend; it says something about you, or so you think.
Authenticity is ultimately what makes a person “cool.” It’s when you’re always congruent with your words and actions. Even if you’re a nerd, and you rock the fuck out of the fact you’re a nerd, people will still like you.
It’s real, authentic, genuine, and people can relate to it. It gives them a sense of freedom to be around you because you have the confidence to immerse yourself in your own character.
People who are always “nice” complain about not getting respect, and the reason that’s the case is they’re not authentic. We can feel your resentment and bitterness. People know you’re not keeping it real.
It’s all about the capacity to keep it authentic in the face of difficult and varying circumstances. It’s best just to say what’s on your mind and recognize that the person you’re with may not be compatible with you at all. Easier said than done though.