Nice and Nasty
Posted November 3, 2010on:
Try this game, “Playing With Status”, to prepare yourself for any of life’s conflicts. Take a playing card from the pack and adapt your behaviour to fit the card you’ve drawn. If you draw a high number, or a king or an ace, behave in a confident manner. If you draw a low card act meek and submissive. Try playing this out in an imaginary bar. The high card holder will behave with confidence, shouting out your order. The low card holder will stand around holding a £5 note hopefully in the air.
The thinking of this game is that if you get used to acting a role based on a random card draw, the whole business of expressing your personality will become more like a light Ealing comedy thank a gut-wrenching Ibsen tragedy.
Nice people live their lives as though every time is a time when the worst possible consequences will occur.
That kind of take-cover mentality can have dangerous results. Excessive exercising of self-restraint and tongue-biting builds up a vast munitions dump of anger and resentment that occasionally explodes at some totally inappropriate moment – and then requires cringing apologise and redoubled applications of niceness in order to heal the wounds. This kind of niceness leaves you feeling invisible and powerless. It makes you nod and smile and say, “Yes,” when everything inside you is screaming, “No way!”
Are You Too Nice?
- You want to be liked by everyone, even though you don’t like everyone.
- You smile when you are giving or receiving bad news.
- You apologise on behalf of people close to you when they’ve done something you think others won’t like.
- You find it hard to accept compliments gracefully.
- You give your phone number to people you never want to see again.
- You always imagine the person in the car behind you is critical of your driving.
- You eat food you don’t like in a restaurant rather than send it back.
- You imagine you know what other people are thinking.
- You try to be the peacemaker when other people are arguing.
- You expect to be told off when someone says: ”I have something to tell you.”
- You feel responsible for everyone having a good time.
- You replay conversations you haven’t even had yet.
… And Ways Not To Be
A double-glazing salesperson rings just as you are about to sit down to dinner.
Say, “I’m going to interrupt you…it’s a waste of you time to continue.” Or tell them you’re only renting the house and have no authority to order new windows.
You are stuck with someone at a party; both of you are bored but don’t know how to get away.
Put the blame on someone else. Say: “My wife/husband/friend has asked me to mingle, so I better had.”
Someone on the train is playing their personal stereo at annoyingly loud volume.
Make it seem like it’s your problem, not theirs: “I’m sorry, I’ve got a terrible headache, would you mind turning your music down?”
You are standing at the bus stop, you are in a rush and someone starts to engage you in conversation.
Keep your body turned away from them and say: “I’m sorry, but I’m not feeling very well and don’t want to talk.”
You need to negotiate a fee for some work you are doing.
Don’t undercut yourself with some phrase like: “I know this may seem like a lot of money.” Just say: ”My normal fee for this kind of work is X.” Then the person at the other end has room to manoeuvre.
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