by Kenneth Justice
~ A few months ago a coffee house acquaintance of mine mentioned to me that she was thinking about breaking up with her boyfriend. They are both in their late twenties and have been dating for the past year,
“He’s just too into me” she said, “It didn’t feel this way when we first met, but lately I’m thinking he’s simply too nice and, uh, boring”
I hadn’t really thought about the conversation I had with the young woman until yesterday when a friend called and told me they quit their job. “Kenneth, I quit my job yesterday, I treated my boss like s**t and can you believe it; the boss called me up last night telling me I could still come back to work if I wanted!”
Do you notice the thread that binds both of those people together?
—) The guy who is getting dumped is ‘guilty’ of being too nice
—) The friend who quit their job, treated their boss like crap and yet the boss kept the job offer on the table
Ever hear the colloquialism “nice guys finish last”? Is it really true? Without going into all the details about my friend who quit their job, suffice to say, my friend told me the moral of the story is, “when you treat people like s**t you are more likely to get your way in life, but when you are too nice, or too compliant….people are more likely to walk all over you”
The coffee house acquaintance who was dumping her ‘too nice’ boyfriend wasn’t the first person I had seen do this, actually, I’ve seen this type of thing take place more often than you might realize.
If you ask me, there are a lot of examples of injustice in the world and this is definitely one of them. Why in the world does human nature lead us to acting in this manner? Is it really fair that if you’re nice you get penalized and if you’re an ass you get your way?
In another life, when I used to work in politics I saw this type of thing play out more often than I care to admit. Politicians who were greedy, nasty, and didn’t give a damn about their constituents seemed to rise to greatness, but the politicians who seemed to actually care about people often finished last in the elections.
Isn’t this what we also see in the business world as well? On a fellow writers blog yesterday we discussed the weird phenomena of ‘mean managers’. More often than not it seems as though people who should not become managers…..end up becoming managers. Men and women who have poor interpersonal skills and are poor communicators often rise in the business world to become managers.
A friend mentioned to me yesterday that if its slow at work he believes employees should be able to go home 10 minutes early…..but too often I have observed managers who treated the employees as though they were slaves and leaving ten minutes before closing time; they would never allow it.
I have the crazy belief that people in leadership should be held to a higher standard. If you’re a manager, a boss, a business owner, a politician, a priest, or fill-in-the-blank…..then I believe you have a greater responsibility in life to treat people with respect, justice, kindness, and grace.
Thus, when I see the ‘nice guys’ sink to the bottom and ‘mean guys’ rise to the top; to positions of leadership…..it annoys me quite a bit.
When it comes to relationships it gets a little bit more sticky. Obviously, a young woman who is complaining about her boyfriend being “too nice” might want to reevaluate her standards in life. Why does ‘niceness’ seem boring to her? Obviously, the young woman doesn’t want to date a dude that’s going to abuse her…….so what is it that she is really looking for in a guy?
One of my good friends has complained about this too me a lot over the years, “Kenneth, lets face it, I’m a nice guy and that is why I’ve always struggled in the dating world with women” he’s told me on more than one occasion.
There is definitely a balance in life we have to find in relation to this subject because its important that we each learn how to stick up for ourselves. When people treat us poorly we need to learn when its appropriate to stand up to them….But, that doesn’t mean we can’t be a nice person, it merely means we shouldn’t let people bully or intimidate us.
for now I think its time for my morning coffee,