I have a struggle with being nice. It is not that I am not nice, I am, but I am too nice.
Growing up, I was taught to be nice to other people. Use please, thank you, and your welcome into my daily interactions and I do. Along the way, I associated being nice with being liked. If you were nice to somebody, they would like you. Generally that is true, but for me, being liked became more important. As being liked became more important, I lost my way. I started to use being nice to be liked and when I did that, I was not always truthful – truthful to the other person and truthful to what needed to be done.
In dealing with other people, I would not always give them the full truth, or I would give them the answer I thought they wanted. I remember one time, I really liked a girl and she asked me if liked something in particular and instead of giving her the answer I believed, I gave her the answer I thought she wanted to hear and she said, “when you change your mind, come talk to me.” I felt terrible, if I had only been truthful!
Another example was when I was in high school, I was riding around town with a buddy and he took out a BB gun and started shooting at stuff. Instead of telling him to stop, because I knew it was wrong, I just let him. Later that day, the police were knocking at my door because we had damaged a car’s windshield. Lucky, I was an honor student and quickly paid for the windshield repair that I was given a second chance, or else I would have a criminal record today.
At a recent workshop, I was asked, “Are you willing to not be nice to get what you want?” and I really struggled with that question, because I did not see a reason not to be nice, but as I looked into the question more and realized that if I unattach being nice from being liked, I feel that most of the time, I can still be nice. In being nice, I am respecting the other person and being compassionate with how I deliver the information. Sometimes, it will mean listening to their reasons, while staying firm on the decision that has to be made. I think this will gain you respect from the people you are dealing with and respect is more important than being liked. Respect is a far more powerful connection than connecting with like.
I realize that sometimes you have to not be nice in delivering what needs to be delivered and when I detach being liked from being nice, I can live in that space knowing that sometimes not being nice is the only way to deliver the information and I am willing to go there when needed.