I was flipping through stations on my car radio the other day when I happened across a seasonal classic. The line that blared out before I zipped to the next station was: “Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice”. Consequently, I began musing about nice people. Nice people give others the benefit of the doubt, are always ready to lend a hand, or even chair the committee that he or she didn’t even want to be part of in the first place, simply because that no one else wants to do it. Nice people are considerate; nice people treat others the way they’d like to be treated. Nice people do it not because they “should” or because they will feel guilty otherwise, but because that’s the way they are. They’re sensitive to the feelings of others, easy to be around, and rarely argue. What’s not to like? But, come on, is there anybody who is nice all the time? I mean, really? Some of the “nice” people I know tend to be anxious, even somewhat depressed, because of the pressure, which they’ve internalized, to be nice at all times.
Growing up, the necessity of being a nice girl was drilled into my head. And I think that I’ve been nice much of the time. I want to be the person who holds her head up high, oblivious to the nastiness around. But I am not always that person. What does it mean to be a nice person? When you want to be a nice person and you’re not being one (in your own eyes or someone else’s), do you need to twist the logic to be able to live with yourself? Along my path to adulthood I figured out that there is honest-to-goodness-for-real-nice, polite-nice, polite-nice-even-if-you-don’t-want-to-be-nice, follow-the-rules-nice, and don’t-say-it-out-loud-but-show-your-feelings-anyway-nice. On any given day I can be any or all those things. What about you?