Friday, October 28, 2011

When the occasion calls for it

Is it sometimes necessary to be mean?

The simple answer to the question is: yes.
The naive answer is: no.

I consider myself to be a nice person. I try hard to give people second chances, to make up for awkward social situations, to tell while lies and make a conversation flow, and to brush things off that really should bother me. Growing up, I had a great group of friends. There were a few very close ones that I loved dearly, but I mostly got along with everyone regardless. I also had a great atmosphere for cultivating relationships. I consider myself very lucky in this regard. There were a couple "pickles" for sure, but for the most part, every one of my friends was super kind.

When I ventured into the college and beyond, I learned that people are not as willing to be so awesome after all. No matter how much I was myself and tried to start friendships with certain individuals, I could see it would never happen. My sister and I discovered a paradox that continues to puzzle us. We truly believe that with certain females, they will not be nice to you unless you're mean to them.

I know. You might have to read that twice, but it's true.

Not necessarily mean. But definitely disinterested. Trying to be friends makes you look weak, eager, and desperate, apparently.

Don't worry, I refuse to start off a friendship that way. How can you ever give someone a fair chance if you're going to be rude right off the bat? Besides, it's easier for me to see the good eggs from the bad eggs if I just act like myself. If other girls need me to act somewhat witchy toward them in order for a friendship to click, they are definitely not people I want to involve myself with. There are enough awesome girls out there who are kind, sweet, awesome, and easy to talk to without having to change myself.

But I have sadly learned there can come a point where you have to stand up for yourself and not tolerate rudeness, dominance, or catty, petty behavior. There comes a time where you have to tuck away that ready smile and take out your angry eyes. When you won't stand for near-abuse in an elder care situation. When you won't pretend it's okay that an acquaintance is stalking you and leaving rude comments where everyone can see. When someone has clearly lied to you and tries to cover it up with a coffee date. When someone tells you you will never amount to anything.

There is always a time to "kill them with kindness." But there's also a time to put your foot down and stop trying with certain people. Make them meet you halfway for a change. It might have taken me a few years to understand that, but I'm glad to say I've found the right balance.


MB said...

I totally agree with this. There are a lot of awesome people out there, and there are a LOT of jerk, the balance between being kind and not being a doormat is such a blessing to have :) I've learned not to let anyone walk over me, but at the same time I am a very kind and helpful person. I love this post Maggie! :)

Sheila said...

I try never to be mean -- but I will step WAY back in a relationship if I feel I'm being walked on. That generally means not confiding, not initiating, and not telling the person "it's okay" when they give me a thousand excuses. They usually catch on that I'm displeased and either make an effort to make peace ... or step back themselves and the friendship dies.

I am willing to treat anyone with kindness, but *friendship* is something I share with people I actually like. So I don't feel I owe it to anyone to be their friend. I used to have a lot of guilt over this, but I eventually realized it's not my responsibility to get walked all over in order to save a friendship that isn't good for me in the first place.