Friday, October 2, 2009

In Detestation of Niceness

Nice people, being so worried about offending others, don’t upset the applecart. They will shrink from uttering truth or what needs be said or entering into any conflict.

Kind people speak the truth but in a manner most amenable as possible. The recipient of the speech may take offense but that offense will be directed against the content of the utterance and not in the manner of its delivery.

Nice people’s concern for immediate social peace paper over conflict. They strive to maintain this counterfeit peace, only delaying the inevitable boiling over of the festering conflict. The delay itself often makes the eruption the more bloody. I am not saying that delay is necessarily always a bad thing. Delay can often give time to all parties to arrive at a compromise or conviction that satisfies the underlying values and concerns that animate all parties. However, nice people tend to want to deny the existence of conflict or denigrate its importance.

The motivation for nice people in being nice is that this niceness reflects upon themselves in the eyes of the other. Those who are kind know who they are and their kindness is a reflection of their concern for the other’s welfare.

Nice people are boring and unmemorable. There may indeed reside a richness of thought and passion in such a person. But who would know the better?

Niceness is inauthentic. It is all too often the shell of civility coating a heart of animosity.