Mistaking Being Nice for Being Weak

One of the greatest failings in human behavior is a recent trend of mistaking being nice for being weak. Somehow, if you are not rude to someone, but instead treat them the way you might like to be treated, it’s considered a sign of weakness by a lot of very misguided people.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the most dangerous people I know are also the nicest. They always treat people with kindness. Their Facebook profile pictures are smiling and convey happiness and security with who they are as people. And it takes a lot to rile them up. They are forgiving and tolerant of people with less character, honor, and intelligence.

Conversely, some of the weakest people I know are also the rudest posers imaginable. They never have a smile to share or a kind word about anyone. They spread lies created by others without having the courage to go find out through personal experience what the truth of the matter is. Their Facebook profile pictures are leering tough-guy-wanna-be frowns, or them bedecked in firearms, or wearing ferocious samurai armor, or some equally pathetic attempt at conveying some supposed degree of machismo. As they strut about puffing themselves up with their own hot air, espousing their own hype (and believing it) they try their best to project a rough-and-ready attitude, when they are anything but.

And when these rude posers talk trash about others, they then make a very bad mistake: they assume that just because the nice person doesn’t immediately put them in their place, or cave their face in, that those people are actually weak somehow. They don’t see the fact that the nice person has no reason to crash down on them. From the nice person’s perspective, there’s nothing to be gained from swatting an annoying little pest. After all, the annoying little pest will always be just that. Annoying and little. Their capacity to grow has been permanently crippled by their willingness and need to be self-delusional. The nice person, on the other hand, secure with who they are knows that there is always more to learn and explore; that there are always people out there who know more than they do. Rather than try to inflate themselves fraudulently, they instead seek the truth and aspire to always make themselves better.

Meanwhile, the rude people fly around buzzing about this and that. But then they make yet another, more serious, mistake.

They get too close. Or they become too annoying. Or their lies start spreading to the point that they begin infecting other people.

That’s when the nice person stops being nice.

Roadhouse was a truly awful flick, but I’ve always liked one particular line from it, when Swayze said, “I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice.”

People who would equate being nice with being weak need to remember something: eventually even nice people reach their limit. Eventually, even the nicest soul imaginable says, “enough.” And eventually, that person that you talked trash about for years and years and years will grow weary of listening to the same old bullshit.

And then that nice person will stop being nice. Instead, they’ll pay the rude person a visit one day. And a lesson will be handed out.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season, here’s a wee little reminder that if someone’s nice to you, it isn’t necessarily because they’re weak – indeed, they may be more than capable of squashing you like a bug.

Be nice to them in return. You’ll be better off for it.

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