I often run into this situation with strangers--mostly in a professional context.
The other person says or does something stupid.
I'm no longer polite.
People are always surprised when they're rude only to find that I'm going to be rude right back.
Usually their response is--
"You're not very polite."
But you see, they're wrong.
I just happen to know the difference between "nice" and "polite."
"Nice" is what my friends and family get (of course, if you ask my friends and family...)
"Nice" is not conditional. I am nice to the people I care about, because I care about them and they've earned me being nice to them.
"Polite" is what everybody else gets. "Polite" is a much more fragile state than "nice" is. Whereas if my mother was having a bad day and said something rude to me, I would remain nice and deal with the situation; if a stranger is rude to me, they're going to find that I stop being polite almost immediately.
I don't believe this makes me a mean person. I see no reason why I should treat someone I barely know who's being rude to me the same way I treat someone I care about.
When it comes to work, I'm very conscious that I have a job to do. I balk at people who say that "nice" should be your default mood. That's simply ridiculous. Most jobs need to be more about people actually doing their jobs, not just smiling at you while they tell you how they're ill-equipped, poorly trained, and almost completely incompetent.
And I'm polite.
Most people get paid to do a job, not to be "nice" or "polite." And yet, it's expected of them anyway. In fact, they're expected to be polite even when being treated like garbage.
I'm not sure how you put a price tag on being screamed at by some irritable housewife because you won't let her return the sundress she purchased, wore, and stained (just to use a random example).
To me, saying you get paid to deal with things like that is like saying you get paid to have someone drop an anvil on your head.
It's not something that should be part of a job description.
Only being able to do the job should.
Am I nice?
No, not all the time.
But I always get the job done.
So I ask you--
What's more important?
The Broccoli Blog
- Providence, Rhode Island, United States
- July 19
- Thoughts, musings, ramblings, and occasional insight from the outside.
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