I was never much of a fan of M.A.S.H. growing up, considering it to be somewhat boring and depressing. I know it was an incredibly popular show back then, with the finale sparking tears and joy as the series came to an end. But one thing that stood out was when major Frank Burns uttered the line, “It’s nice to be nice.” The irony is that I think I’d love to sit through the series now, viewing it through adult eyes as opposed to a bored kid with ADHD. But I digress…
The quote in the title is one that’s followed me all my life. My mother used to say it all the time, whether she gleaned it from the aforementioned series or otherwise. And I can easily say that my mother is undoubtedly the nicest person one could meet, so she often encourages others to do the same. But is it possible to be TOO nice? For most, the argument would be that you can always be nicer and in some cases, that may be true. The issue is when being nice leaves you vulnerable to people who would take advantage of it.
Maybe it’s the winter weather, the time of year or just the fact that I’m unnecessarily reflecting on things that have happened in recent years, but being nice has often bitten me in the ass. For the most part, I always treat people as nicely as I can, until I’m given a reason to do otherwise. Some good examples include individuals asking for a favour than becoming aggressive about it in terms of when/how you’ll complete that favour. I’ve unfortunately had a couple of those in recent months.
The biggest example are the work-related difficulties that struck me in early 2018. COVID-19 wasn’t a thing yet and I was at the top of my respective game. I was working regular hours, making a decent salary and doing work that I loved. Little did I know that being nice in the way I did would bring it all crashing down. How was that possible? Well, buckle up because I’m gonna bitch about it…
I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I wasn’t there to make people’s lives more difficult. As a result, i allowed myself a level of understanding, empathy and friendliness that was never echoed by my counterparts. Although this sounds like an ideal scenario, it led to a number of problematic factors. As a result, it left me vulnerable in some very specific ways and someone chose to take advantage of that vulnerability. To this day, I honestly don’t know what this person was trying to achieve or what they hoped to accomplish.
My point, and believe me when I say I’m not trying to be morose this close to Christmas, is that the world is not a place where vulnerability is rewarded or left alone. It’s nice to be nice but not at the cost of one’s life and/or livelihood. And the harsh reality is that for every person who’s nice, there are several who will seek to take advantage of them for doing so. Sad but true.
Be nice? Absolutely. Believe in the value and worth of that kindness you’re imparting by being nice? Certainly. But protect yourself. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable. Make sure that while you’re being nice, that you ensure that you don’t allow the option for someone to take advantage of your kindness. Food for thought…☯️