Niceness, politeness, and diplomacy are generally considered positive attributes. And for the past part, they are — if people weren’t as nice social relations wouldn’t run as smoothly, new environments would be unwelcoming, and life would generally be less pleasant. But the more discerning notice that niceness isn’t always what it’s hailed to be, and can even be the opposite of what it seems, that is, it can be cruel.
In my experience the Nicely Cruel manifest in three broad types, which can overlap but which each have their own particular motivations. The Nicely Cruel all have one thing in common — they expect something in return for their nice deeds.
The Martyr is probably the most obvious and well-known of the Kindly Cruel. The Martyr makes a lifestyle of doing things for others and sacrificing their own well-being so that others are taken care of. Somewhere along the line the Martyr decided that their life’s purpose was to help other people and become known as the “good” person.
The hitch to the martyr’s endless giving is clear after some time — they expect you to do endlessly for them as well. The problem comes when you’re not aware of this implicit agreement and take the Martyr’s gifts as just that. Then the Martyr attempts to guilt you into returning the favors or brands you a selfish and “bad” person.
The Good Guy (or Girl)
Not to be confused with The Nice Guy ™
The Good Guy’s niceness stems from an overwhelming need to see himself as a nice and “good” person, and to have others see him this way as well. This desire is so strong that the Good Guy will do what others ask without thinking about whether he really wants to do it or not.
The issue with the Good Guy comes when he realizes, or comes to terms with, the fact that he is just like everyone else; not so “good” after all and never wanted to do any of the things he did. Once he comes to this realization he will either take back his gifts or if that is not possible, bitterly denounce the persons who received them. People are left bewildered at how such a Good Guy could turn out to be anything but, and what they did to cause his passive-aggressive frustration.
Needless to say the Good Guy is often, if not always, a passive personality.
“Never Say No”s
The Never Say Nos are easy to understand — they never say no. And because they never say no they end up doing many things they would rather not. But why do they never say no? Well, because it’s simply not nice! And being nice is of the utmost importance.
What the Never Say No wants is simply for you to acknowledge that they are a very nice person. And should you ever imply that they are not that nice or that their favors aren’t that noteworthy, then they will suddenly begin to say no. Why not, since you don’t see that they are such a nice person? Their favors would be lost on such an ungrateful person.
Anyone else have experience with the Nicely Cruel?