I never realized until I read this Lifehacker article on why its better to be kind than to be nice that “kind not nice” is basically my entire life’s ethos. I have always had strict personal codes of behavior — I don’t like dishonesty or spitefulness but I also don’t suffer fools too easily. And I’ve always been wary of “nice” people. I often think of this Reddit comment:
Nice Person Syndrome is an exaggerated role adopted during childhood as a means of getting approval and affection… Because “nice” people have learned a non-functional approach to interaction and personal relationships, inappropriately considering others’ needs as more important than their own, their default mein is needy…. A relationship with a “nice person” requires untold amounts of emotional labor.
Okay obviously I am getting way deeper than the excellent advice in the Lifehacker article, so let’s go back to that.
What I love (hate) about this tweet is that it completely ignores that there is a Third Coast, in which people are neither nice nor kind, just passive aggressive. Honey, have you never been “bless your heart"ed before? That’s so sweet.
What is some other great advice? I used to have a teacher say all the time, "Be dependable, not predictable,” and that’s one I’ve taken to heart. Always carry a book (ACAB). Knowing where you fall in the paradigm of Ask Culture vs Guess Culture can help you in all kinds of interpersonal relationships (I’m a guesser and I am always, ALWAYS prepared to take “no” for an answer.) And finally, speaking of no, I’ve though about this Captain Awkward advice a lot over the past few years.
Yesterday we had almost 400 comments full of strategies and discussions and effort around telling ONE mildly irritating dude to shove it. But I think you can just tell irritating dudes to shove it and expect that they’ll get the message, and moreover, I think we must all practice this important life skill, when stakes are low and matters are small, so that hopefully we may practice it on a large (dare I say national) scale.
Reader, tell that man to fuck off!
Elsewhere on the Internet
The Stories of Those Who Lost Decades in the Closet
One subject was forced into a marriage by her mother when she was 14 years old as a way to “cure” her homosexuality. Her husband was 21 years her senior and abusive. Accompanying each profile is the number of years that person lost before coming out.
Collectively, the group of 12 lost almost 500 years.
Six Months of Soft Food Set Me Free
From the author: “Six months on a soft food diet forced me to confront and dismantle my many (many) food rules in favor of eating a ton of ice cream, and I’m never going back… I burned my esophagus (please don’t do this) and weaseled around my doctors orders even as I was in a ton of pain because I was messed up by years of food restriction & rules.”
I can’t stop thinking of Popula’s Maria Bustillos’ eulogy for her mother, who died in early January, on the day of the Capital insurrection and attempted coup.
People are dying of covid who never had it, and also I have been reckoning up everything else that was lost through the stupidity and venality of Republicans in this dark year. All the time we didn’t get to be together, if you were to add it up, beautiful things that couldn’t be made because of the dearth of happiness, peace or calm, songs written, slow dances in middle-school auditoriums and slumber parties and torrid affairs, unwelcome birthday surprises, evenings at the bar with a big gang of friends, a coffee date with someone you haven’t seen for years. All these, millions and millions. Pleasure, love and fun have been everywhere suppressed in these months… I don’t want to forget what they’ve taken from us all, millions of people, millions of families. There should be no pretense about whose fault this is and no attempt to diminish the heavy cost, which should be weighed up and reckoned and the blame squarely assigned and the price paid by those responsible.
Why a Recipe Is More Than a Recipe
What it means to take a traditional dish outside of its cultural context.