He’s So Nice It Makes Me Uncomfortable
Have you ever met someone who is genuinely friendly that you’re uncomfortable around their kindness? –Why are you nice to me?
The more significant issue is why do I question his generosity. What’s his motive, I think?
Survival instincts have taught me to be wary of overly kind people. Remember the story of the big bad woof and Goldylox?
The Big Bad Wolf is a fictional wolf appearing in several cautionary tales that include some of Aesop’s Fables (c. 600 BC) and Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Versions of this character have appeared in numerous works, and it has become a generic archetype of a menacing predatory antagonist.
We have been are conditioned since childhood to expect evil lurking around every corner. As we muddle through life dealing with dysfunctional colleagues at work, friends or relatives that hurt us, we become more guarded. Trust has to be earned, they say. This attitude pre-supposes you are guilty until proven innocent.
As an older, bitter, twisted adult, I assume an ulterior motive around super friendly people. Perhaps it’s just me, but historically, its the ‘nice ones’ eventually go for the jugular.
While I appreciate my survival instincts at play, this overly guarded attitude hinders the development of my authentic connections with others. I’m notorious at playing hard to get.
Can you relate to what I am saying?
It takes a lot of tries before I will accept a dinner invitation. Who looses out but me! Super generous people can quickly bring out the guarded child in me.
What I need is to develop my capacity to give and accept more transformative relationships in my life.
Transformative relationships cause lasting positive change in someone. Your motive is for the other person’s genuine benefit without expecting much, if anything, in return.
In contrast, transactional relationships are based on a WIFM dynamic; What’s In It For Me. It’s an attitude that I will give as long as I get something in return.
Our capitalistic, materialistic consumer-oriented society is based on the notion of ‘transactions.’ There has to be something in this for me; otherwise, I won’t get ahead.
On some level, this is true, and in business, one must always be strategic. BUT personal relationships are different. Perhaps I am having difficulty establishing boundaries between work and play. Could the child in me want everyone to be my friend?
A few boats down the dock from me, a new neighbour keeps offering me stuff; nice stuff like a big piece of freshly cooked wild Atlantic Salmon. Fish that costs more than a human kidney does on the black market, eh!
He’s always got a big smile on his face and finds humour in everything. He’s a confident world traveller with deep-seated roots in Newfoundland.
I hear he’s seen the thick and thin of the best and the worst of world events. — and I bet those experiences have profoundly shaped his character.
He’s keeps offering me a piece of what he’s just B.B.Q’d or a sip of wine or beer.
What’s up with that, I think. Cold salmon goes perfectly on a cold salad the next day. — Oh God has my mothers ‘child of the depression’ keep everything mentality rubbed off on me?
I say, ‘no I’m fine but thanks very much.’ and walk away perplexed why I said no when I meant YES!
The other day I asked him if he had a wine bottle opener I could borrow; he said, ‘sure here, take this one and keep it.‘ It was an excellent bottle opener.
When I went to give it back, he said ‘keep it’ I have another one — he insisted.
He’s the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back if he could.
Mmmmm, I sense a personal growth opportunity here, Dan.
Doe’s that makes him the better person because, at 58, I think twice before giving the shirt off my back to anyone. Could I change before hitting 60? I hope so!
The more significant issue is, why am I uncomfortable at generosity towards me? Surely it can’t be because I was dropped on my head as a child?
I will typically say no thanks at least 3-5 times before accepting an invite or anything from anyone. — I think that’s odd behaviour. What’s even weirder is that I won’t make the fist move on sharing unless I know and trust you. Have I sub-consciously flashed back to the sandbox kid who hesitates to share his toys because little billy threw sand in his face?
There’s a self-concept disconnect somewhere in what I just said—a difference between how I am now and how I would like to be.
My soul wants to be generous and altruistic. I think on some level, we all do.
Sharing and looking out for each other is a core tenet of humanity. Guarding against the big bad wolf is a type of misbalanced conditioning.
Please don’t take advantage of me versus take the advantage I just gave you.
We adore and admire Buddhist monks, saints, and heroes, yet few dare to walk in their footsteps.
Could striving for true independence be an admission that if I need you, I am vulnerable or if I take something from you, then I owe you?
I don’t need help, Mr big bad wolf is a type of misguided self-preservation. — being that guy who feels obligated to share his Halloween candy with the other kiddies on the schoolyard?
Could I have grown jaded and cynical of human motives? Afterall, 24/7 newsfeeds keep reminding me the world today was dangerous and messed up.
I have no frigging clue, but at times it puzzles me. Why? Because the world needs a hell of a lot more generous, cheerful people with no hidden agenda to their kind heartiness.
It’s just that simple! -eh!
There is nothing wrong with saying yes and thank you to another person’s generosity. After all, if they did not want to offer, they likely would not have offered.
As I wrap up the first draft of this post, the guy who’s so nice walked up to my docked sailboat and gave me this succulent extra pork chop he made — saying here buddy, taste this. — I said YES, please!
Of course, I accepted and asked if he had any humble pie to spare.
The story continues…..
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