I’m probably in the top 2 nicest people you’ll ever meet and I’m not number two. For some people, they imagine that being extra nice is the best manner of approach. You have people begin sentences with;
Please don’t be offended oh, I just want to…
Wait a minute! Why are you instructing me to not be offended? What did you do? In fact, I’m already offended! What’s your problem?
Feigned niceness. Some of the niceties stem from a huge cultural indoctrination. People have been taught that being nice is a sign of respect reserved only for the elderly. Worse still, half the time, they don’t even mean it. How else can an individual say?
With all due respect sir, I think you’re one of the dumbest individuals I’ve come across in my twenty rainy seasons here on earth
Not nice. Some people have mastered the art of not giving anything away even at your worst.
Excuse me but did you unplug my phone at 5% charge to plug in yours that’s on 99%? What happened to home training?
Wait a minute! it’s not even your charger!
Worse still, I once had an examination to write and in my haste, I forgot to take a pen to the examination hall.
Gottfried: Mac, can you lend me a pen, I see you have two and I don’t have any!
Mac: What if one of them runs out midway into the paper, what would I use?
Gottfried: Well it hasn’t happened yet!
Too nice. My dad has a knack for giving things away to charity almost at the expense of us his children. I’ve lost quite the number of items of clothing through this initiative. Talking about you’ve been enjoying it for all these years and there are some children that have never had full cream powdered milk.
I once visited an inn and at midnight I woke up to the cold air on my skin. I knocked on the innkeeper’s door to ask for an item to keep me warm.
Gottfried: Hi there, I’m a bit cold, got anything I could use?
Inn keeper: There, you can have my wife!
Gottfried: Woah! Slow down cowboy, I want something inanimate that wouldn’t try to strangle me in my sleep thanks!
Inn keeper: (begrudgingly hands me a blanket)
I hear stories like this are common in the Netherlands. As bizarre as this sounds, remember that Lot from the good book was willing to hand over his virgin daughters to an angry mob in place of strangers he just met. I imagine dinner was hectic for everybody that night.
Ultimately, the key is to be able to strike the balance between being not approachable and being too nice. Don’t be so nice that people walk all over you. And don’t be so stern people literally scream and run at the sight of you. So the next time your mom shouts at you, serve her a cup of iced tea, smile, whisper in her ear…
watch your back
And walk away.
© Gottfried. All rights reserved.