For as long as I can remember, I liked to do nice things for people. Seeing others happy made me happy. Whether it was a joke in class or an act of friendship, I always wanted to be the one to save the day. Whatever I can do to help, just let me know.
In my mind, it’s a decent quality to have. They make bumper stickers and Instagram reels about the whole concept. After my heart surgery in 2012, that mindset ramped up a bit for me. I aimed to put more good into the world than I took out. This blog is a big part of that. I like to offer support for those who deserve and seek it. I just feel better when I do.
I find that most people face a lack of support out there in general. I can see it in the responses I get. I’m not fact-finding for a gossip mission or anything. When I listen to people, I genuinely care about what they’re telling me. I could chalk it up to the years of interviewing wrestlers, but I like talking to people. I let them vent their frustrations to me and watch them feel better as they do.
Sadly, support is often a stream that flows away from me, yet I still paddle on. There has been a slew of hands reaching out for my help that becomes curiously absent when I’m the one sinking. It’s just how it goes. Still, I help lift them up when I can, knowing full well that I will most likely be left to float alone.
Truth be told, I simply err on the side of politeness overall. I open car doors and pull out chairs. I stand up when someone enters the room, remove my hat in restaurants, and offer my seat to the dwindling number of people who are older than me. I have had women commend me for being “such a gentleman” when I had literally done nothing but act like a human being toward them. It makes me wonder what kind of cavemen are out there roaming the streets.
Do I have bad qualities? Sure. I’m not all gentlemanly rainbows. I’m sure you can find a list of people with a longer list of grievances towards me. The irony about that, though? For many of them, these kindness qualities I just mentioned count among my bad ones, not my good ones.
Those who take exception to these actions don’t care who I’m performing them for. Whether it’s my kids, my friends, or acquaintances, they view it as a weakness. I’ve been reprimanded for not “standing up” for myself or allowing people “to walk all over” me. In reality, I just don’t care enough to fight about petty nonsense, or, in many cases, I’m fine with doing whatever actions others might think are major impositions. To be frank, that’s my call, isn’t it?
If you seek out those disapproving people, you would probably find some with a unique spin on this foreign action. I know some who might claim these acts of kindness are not the “real” me, but merely a show. I could never understand that one, because there’s really no endgame to it. It’s not like I’m collecting niceness points to build an army. Helping my friend move his couch can’t have a nefarious goal if I get nothing from it and he gets his couch moved. Sounds like I’m being nice and those people complaining just don’t like me.
Then there’s the biggest gripe about this personality trait of all. It’s the big twist to this whole post that – let’s be honest – sounded a little bit conceited in the first half. It wasn’t and I can prove it with this one statement:
You’re “too nice”.
What’s so special about that sentence? Chances are, you read that and immediately thought about a time in your life when people said it about you. Everyone does. Every person walking the Earth has had a moment when they were told that they were being “too nice” about something, even in the most minuscule instance. This isn’t about something good inside of me that people try to squash. I’m telling you something good in all of us that people try to squash.
Perhaps you took your friend’s dog in for three days, but it turned into a week. Then it became a month. Soon, your partner was like, “When are you getting rid of this dog?” And you’re like, “I don’t know!”
It nearly blows up your entire household. Just as you’re about to file at the lawyer’s office, Frida finally picks up the divorce-inducing dog, and she has the nerve – the nerve – to say, “You used up all the treats?” Freakin’ Frida.
That’s the perfect example of when someone would say you’re “too nice”. You can replace the dog with a kid or a bank loan. It doesn’t matter because whether you give someone money, assistance, or love, there’s a good chance you’re going to wind up twisted in the wind.
It can be infuriating and I know every single person reading this can relate. That’s when those judge’s judges tell you to stop. They sit you down and talk like it’s an intervention. Your niceness has gone too far. You’ve been hurt before. You’ll be hurt again. All that being true, why do you do it?
To those people, I say that I already explained that at the start of this whole thing. I do it to put more good into the world than I take out. That’s the reason. Follow-up question? Why do I feel the need to put more good into the world than I take out?
Hmm. I dunno. Something to do, I guess.
I also know that for every person who takes advantage of my acts of kindness, there are people out there who will genuinely appreciate it. There are some in my life right now who appreciate it. I don’t want to give the impression that there’s not. There’s just been far more and are far more who haven’t. I know there will be more of both in the future. It’s inevitable.
Thinking about that gross imbalance, I keep my own personal balance for one major reason. I don’t want to let the world change me for the worse and turn me into those I strive to avoid. It costs me nothing to be kind. Even if I’m the biggest sucker in the world and 99% of people will take me for granted, that’s cool. I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for the 1% that won’t. I’ll endure the slings and arrows until I find them.
That’s why I do it and, hopefully, you do too. Look, I get standing up for yourself. When it comes to disrespect or people expecting you to forgo happiness for their own peace, that’s a different story. Stand up for yourself when need be, but never stop being the person you know you should be.
When Frida came to pick the dog up a month late, you had every right to go off on her. But, a month later, when she asks you to take it in again and you know she’ll leave it home alone if you don’t, you’d take the dog in. It’s the not dog’s fault, right? Right? You agree? Yeah. You agree.
See? We’re too nice.
I’m not going to stop being too nice. I’m going to hold doors, buy flowers, reach out to help, and offer a shoulder to cry on even when I have the weight of the world already on it. Just because people might take advantage of that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing it.
To be honest, it sounds more like their problem than mine anyway.
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