Sunday, June 17, 2012

Being the Nice One


People often call me "nice". This isn't TOO much of a problem most of the time. Actually, I kind of like being nice. The term "nice" is so often couple with "boring" or "safe" or whatnot. I actually believe that I am a step above "nice" and step into the "kind" and even "genuinely caring and warm-hearted" category.

Unfortunately, being nice has so often made me into a spineless jellyfish kind of girl. The proverbial doormat in the lives of other people. Sometimes I feel like I have flashing lights on my forehead screaming at the world to take advantage of me. Times like these make me want to turn to these assholes and just have the nerve to tell them to fuck off. So often there seem to be less scrupulous people who take advantage of any kind of kindness I give them and suck me into their trap by pretending to be vulnerable and in need of a friend. Or simply pretending to be nice too. And well... Some outcasts can be very nice. Others can be strange and possessive. Looks like I found one of those people, although he's turning out to be one of the strangest yet.

He seemed nice at first. Most of them do. An old friend from elementary school who friend-requested me on Facebook, I looked forward to meeting up with him and reminiscing with him. For a while, I did but... Then he startedto get weird. Really weird (scroll past this paragraph and the next if you want to avoid the story).  I brushed off the statuses about porn, masturbation and general horniness as a guy thing and maybe an attempt to fit in with certain peers. When my sister (who never liked him even back then) showed me certain posts he made to a girl that seemed creepy and stalkerish, I told her that it could've been something between them but that I would be careful. Clearly, I gave this kid a chance. And then... Then he messaged me about socialism and wanted to talk about why I was one (I said so under my political beliefs). Again, it seemed normal at first and even seemed intellectual. When we were both on at the same time, we started to really chat. And hen it got weird. He started saying how he supported many of Hitler's ideas and how Nazism most closely resembled his beliefs. Weird but I asked him why. And then... Then he talked about "removing the weeds from his garden to create a more perfect race" (this didn't include Jews, gays and black people like it did with Hitler but "useless people" like addicts and mentally ill homeless people).When I asked him if he was trolling, he said he was completely serious and continued. People would be monitored to oversee their uselessness. I unfriended him when he said he wanted to take over Colombia rather than the U.S., being as it was a more vulnerable country. This same kid said earlier that he preferred less government involvement in business.  That's when my creep-o-meter went on full blast and I knew that I just had to unfriend him already.

So what does this have to do with me being nice? Well, I felt guilty about this. I felt guilty about it while I did it. I kept telling myself that he was probably doing this for attention and that he was lonely. Being as I just unfriended him instead of blocking him entirely, he messaged me back and seemed hurt. He said he just wanted a "professional conversation" and that I "was just like the people who wanted to hurt [him] and change [him]." Not to mention how five friends had already unfriended him that week and how people like me made him hurt himself. Okay, grade-A wacko for sure. I really should've known. Those last comments made me feel really guilty and wondered if I did the right thing with him. Various people assured me that I did but I still felt bad. I still do feel bad (even though he started a conversation about me with his also-crazy friend in the status he originally tagged me in about my beliefs about socialism).

Why am I always the nice one? Of course, there are times when being nice is genuinely... well nice. Sometimes it's nice to make people smile and to know that I've made their day. It feels good being there for my friends and for my family. Sometimes it's just nice to know that I'm the one person who hasn't hurt them and who continues not to hurt them. Being nice means that at least I do things that aren't TRULY regrettable; my mistakes have not been in deliberately hurting another person.

Then there is the downside in being the nice one. As the saying goes, the nice guy finishes last. In a world often dominated by psychopaths, it's hard to be nice. Being nice often means giving up opportunities, taking the hit and leaving yourself open to be taken advantage of. All a nice person has on their side is a fluttery feeling in their stomach and an inability to be mean.

And boy, people take advantage of the nice! So many people pretend they are vulnerable, showing some plight of theirs to pull me in to some sick thing that have in mind. Or they beat me down because I find it so difficult to fight back. Or they pretend they are genuine and that they care because they know that that will draw me to them and then they become passive-aggressive. Much of the time people mow my wishes down because they don't even realize they're there, something that's my fault as much as it is theirs.  I am less of a gullible nice person than I used to be, but I have my moments. Sometimes, I still feel like my bleeding heart is fair game for so many bullies here and that it's only a matter of time until I encounter my next bully. There are so many different things they can do. Hell, even pseudo charities and online cyber criminals take advantage of the nice much of the time. As far as the nice thing goes, we're screwed.  

A lot of my problem is that I associate "being nice" with "having no backbone" and I am not sure if the two have a correlation. A lot of the time, that's the case. I'm slowly but surely working on that, though. Still, I wonder. There must be a little bit of bitchniness need to tell someone to just fuck off and leave them alone. Or to simply tell them to cut it out. A bit of selfishness there, almost. That's alright and even preferable, but that still stands. If I became less passive, I probably would become less nice which would cut down on many of the cons of being a nice person. 

Ultimately, though, I think there is more to be gained by being a nice person rather than being a mean one. If I had the choice between being the uber-nice person I can be and being a total bitch, I would choose being the uber-nice person. I still wish sometimes that I could be a little bit meaner, if even just for self-defense or something of the sort. Or maybe just a more confident nice person. Either one would do, I am sure. Maybe these things would prevent these things from happening. Nonetheless, I believe that being kind is something that is ultimately rewarding and my acts of kindness and caring towards other people does make the world a little bit more of a better place.

Being nice might have its drawbacks, but that's not all it is. So I might have to deal with the occasional weirdo, but hopefully it will pay off in the end.  Maybe the nice guy does finish last, but at least the nice guy started the race. At least the nice guy would turn around to help someone else if they fell down on the race. At least, those people make the world better for everyone else.

Oh, and kids, strangers aren't the only ones who can hurt you on the Internet. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Tori. Well thought-out, structured, and written--and on a very interesting subject. I, for one, think you were right in unfriending this guy...not only does he seem prejudiced and intolerant and the like, but he also sounds kind of, well, stalker-y. While not wanting to paint myself as a constantly-nice person, sometimes I'm pushed around because I'm willing to let bygones be bygones and give people second, and third, and fourth chances at friendship. But you're right. I would never give up my honest friendliness for a little protection against bullies and people who'd like to take advantage of me.