I’m not a big fan of the word nice.

Well, I suppose, not the word itself but rather the connotation it implies. Nice is so fake, so superficial, so lacking in real substance.

Don’t get me wrong, I am generally in favor of being polite, considerate, friendly, thoughtful, or empathic. Those all sound like good things to be. But nice…never quite sounded so appealing.

I don’t think I want to be nice.

I’d rather be honest. I’d rather be genuine. I’d rather say things that are difficult to say and have conversations which are uncomfortable to have.

Nice is too clean, too sterile. It blithely glosses over the messiness, the grittiness of life.

I like that mess.

I want that mess.

Perhaps its okay to do nice things in the moment. Perhaps its okay to occasionally play nice. But as a general philosophy –

Well, I should be disappointed if nice was what I accomplished in life.

Being nice can be challenging, but there’s also some troublingly easy about being nice. As if the best thing to do is avoid confrontation, to avoid difficult decisions, to make sure everything is clean and pristine at all times.

The real challenge, I think, is to recognize when you genuinely differ with someone. To embrace that confrontation, to discuss, debate, and critique. To have those impassioned conversations, to raise those difficult issues, to disagree vehemently –

– and to emerge as friends.


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