Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is niceness overrated?

I'm beginning to wonder that.

I strive to be a nice person, to be friendly and polite and helpful, but I admit sometimes it just wears on me. People take advantage of me. I have a guy with a stupid work schedule in one of my classes. He missed a quiz so I had him make up the quiz. He missed today's exam and hopefully he can come in and make it up before I have to leave for my meeting at 3:30 but then I will also have to make time to grade it (I already graded all the others).

I took time to do an extensive pre-final review in my other class and I"m exhausted. (Remembering all that stuff, the highlights of an entire semester, is hard brainwork).

I also try not to be obtrusive in my daily life. I almost didn't call BC/BS over the bill thingy because I thought it was being pushy. I really, really hated calling the guy I had to fire back to fire him. (But, then again, as he said: he had told me he'd get back to me and he didn't, within a reasonable timeframe). Part of this reluctance is me being an introvert and not liking to deal with people I don't know. But part of it is that I LOATHE it when people take it upon themselves to "remind" me multiple times of things. (I don't tend to forget to do things, and calling me on the phone to "remind" me when I'm up to my haunches in alligators with other stuff just makes me either angry at you or feel like I'm a failure because you have to remind me)

But I'm also not very assertive, and not good at it. My dad counseled me to go down to city hall and tell them to 'cram it' (well, I think he meant for me to be more polite, but) over their note-thingy and the short notice and the bad timing. (Because really? Learning about this in May, I could have handled it. Learning about it right before the hottest week of the year, in the height of lawnwork season? Not so much.) And I tried to tell them: Hey, the guy you recommended? Flaked out on me but I couldn't say it forcefully enough to make it stick and I just got told, "Well, call one of the other people on this list. IT'S NOT THAT HARD." (Oh honey. Oh. You must not be an introvert with a fear of the phone.)

And I'm wondering: is being a nice person, is being mild and gentle over-rated? I cut lots of slack for other people, I'm there to help, but it seems like when I ask for help people are too busy to help. Or if I need a little slack cut, I don't get it. And I do feel taken advantage of at times, like when someone needs help and I wind up dropping everything to help and then I don't get my own stuff done.

And yeah, I know, on some level, this is a choice. But it's also a part of my personality because I kind of grew up with the mentality that the way to get people to like you was to do stuff for them. (And that seems to work about as well in adulthood as it did in seventh grade.)

And probably part of this is the tiredness and the fact that it's like 105 degrees out and really humid, and the fact that I used up all my emotional energy for the week yesterday in my dealings with different people. But I'm beginning to wonder: If I were less nice than I am, would I get more of what I wanted? If I hadn't been so deferential to the City Hall lady, would she have treated me as less of a deadbeat idiot?  IS niceness overrated? Is it a way to lose in this world? Because a lot of the time it seems like I lose in interactions because I'm not forceful or mean enough.

(Another ugly little question: If I had 8 more inches of height, a deep voice, a full beard, and a set of nuts (sorry), would I be treated with more respect by random bureaucrats than I am currently?)

(And yeah, I know, this sounds like a lead-up to one of the Fluttershy-centered MLP stories, doesn't it? I wonder how much of a monster I could turn myself into....)

I don't know. But I'm getting tired of being nice, just as I get tired of being responsible. And it's not a good place to be, feeling tired of something that is fundamentally who you are.

1 comment:

purlewe said...

I also often end up feeling defeated. And I often ask if it is b'c I am so nice that I feel this way. I am sorry you feel this way. It does seem that the buzzards of the world never have any problems, but the nice people run into quandary after quandary. I know I tried talking to you yesterday not to give advice (altho I did) but to try to allay your fears. I doubt I did much good, but I wanted to let you know you were heard.