Is being nice a disease of our society? I have had two experiences this week that tell me it is. First of all, people tell you you don’t have to do what you do not want to. Yet, those same people will turn around and tell you you are the reason a male or female (usually a male though) went crazy and either a) started shooting people b) started hitting you c) raped you e) anything else they can come up with. Men also have to put up being nice in abusive relationships because they are not allowed to say “No, you should not be hitting me or being emotionally abusive.” Why? Because they are told to be strong, be a man.
No, I am not talking about being mean to someone else or disrespecting someone else. In fact, I am talking about respecting someone else’s decision to not want to be your friend, to not want to share their notes with you, to not want you in their life. We live in a society where it is very easy to take advantage of others. For example, I go to class every day as does an acquaintance of mine. She and I, both go to class and both take notes. Yet, at the end of the class period she always asks to take notes of my notebook. I feel uncomfortable with that. Yes, her first language is not English, but neither was mine until I was forced to be fully immersed in the language. I feel uncomfortable sharing my notes because I put a lot of effort and energy into them. I summarize what the professor says, color code and on top of that write myself notes to tell me what is going on. Especially since this is a math class, I do not want to simply give away my notes to someone else. It is basically saying “Work hard but at the end of the day share your hard earned grade to someone who does not do their share.” I would not have minded if she just asked me on the parts she was confused about or maybe once a week in class, but she did this every single day. To me, this felt like I was being taken advantage of.
I have been brought up to respect my elders, to help others and to be nice. Recently, I have become agitated at the word nice. Why are we forcing others to be nice? We do not have to be nice. We do have to respect others. Yet, because I was brought up in a society that tells children to “be nice” I feel guilt whenever I am telling someone that something that is convenient for them makes me feel uncomfortable. I block someone on facebook and they message me through another application telling me “I realized you just blocked me haha”. Still harassing me even though I have not responded to any of his emails, even though I have not accepted his friend request. Instead of being nice, we should respect each other’s decision. Respect that no one owes you an explanation (except the government because they are our representatives afterall). Accept that if someone does not want to be your friend they are not mean. Accept that if someone does not want to be your friend that they have the right to not be your friend and they most certainly have the right to not disclose why they don’t want to.
Saying no is just as hard as accepting it, but no one owes you an explanation. Accepting a no might just be as difficult and with our society pushing people to be nice, there are those that take advantage of people with a difficulty of saying no. Guilting others into doing something they do not want to do is not okay. Another solution to this problem would be to teach other individuals that guilting other people is not okay in any scenario imaginable. Right now this characteristic is acting as a disease. Giving individuals that want to be nice dread of going to school, anxiety of other people etc.