It’s nice to be nice–at least that’s what I was raised to believe. I think it’s a good approach to life but sometimes the reflex to be nice is inappropriate. I am in agony every time I return an item to a store. Last week I put off returning a $100 item I ordered online because it involved calling Customer Service for a return label and I hated to let those people down.
There are other situations where it doesn’t make sense to be “nice,” if that’s the right word. Years ago I took my company car to be repaired and the owner of the shop wondered aloud “which boss I slept with to get the job.” I should have taken my business elsewhere but instead I was so shocked that I couldn’t think of what to say.
Here is a recent example. A few days ago I had a consult with a doctor regarding back pain. In the room was also a female medical resident, listening and learning. In the course of the interview he asked if I felt pain “during the day when sweeping, doing the laundry or gardening.” That really griped me. What century was this dude born in? But I let it pass because he was a kind man, meant well and I wanted to be nice. The urge to please, not to be thought of as a bitch, is very strong.
Luckily, I did get a second chance. As I swung my legs off the exam table, the doctor observed that I am “quite limber” and asked if I “did a lot of gardening.” I took the opening to tell him that I do a lot of carrying heavy camera equipment up mountains and assured him that I had recently acquired a lighter camera and no longer haul a tripod around. I wish I could describe the look on his face. I hope the medical resident learned something about not stereotyping patients during interviews. They may not react nicely.
Note: Angel illustration courtesy of ZWANI.com via Photobucket.