There are a great deal many uncomfortable and cringe worthy words and phrases in the English language (see: Moist) but there aren’t many that can get my hackles raised faster than “Be Nice.”
I’ve been hearing it all my life. Be nice. Be nice. Be nice. It’s been used as a warning for upcoming events. Be nice, she’s new here. It’s been used, more often than not, as an admonishment. Be nice. And I hate it because it implies that I’m being mean. I’m not. I’m being me and whether you like it or not I’m often moody, standoffish, aloof, and irritated. I like to be alone. I don’t like talking to people. I like silence. I like being left to do my own thing and those that interrupt that are often met with silence or an unamused stare. I’m not trying to be mean, most days, I just rarely care or have a stake in anything that’s being said or done. I don’t care.
By whose standards are we being nice? I often wonder if I was male if I would hear that phrase so much. Should I be watching June Cleaver and taking notes? Should I fake laugh and carry on conversations with people I don’t like because it’s not nice to not talk to them? Should I feign interest in someone’s child because I’m a female and that’s the nice thing to do?
But still, I hear it. All The Time. BeNiceBeNiceBeNiceBeNice. Hold your tongue. You could hurt someone’s feelings, don’t say that. Don’t do that. Be happier. Be gentler. Be softer. Be positive. Why are you so angry? Why don’t you smile? Why don’t you talk?
Why Aren’t You More Like Me?
My sister gets away with not being nice because she’s funny and that takes a hefty dose of the sting out. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone tell her to be nice.
I’m a cinderblock wall embedded with blades. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m not being nice. It doesn’t occur to me that not laughing at someone’s stupid joke or carrying a conversation isn’t nice. I don’t see a point in presenting people with a façade that isn’t true to who I am. If they’re not going to like me I’m not going to come up with a more palatable mask. Why should I?
If that’s not nice then I can’t help you. That’s your problem.