Thursday, November 20, 2008

Not Nice to be ‘Nice’

Sometimes it is not nice to be ‘nice’. You are actually performing a disservice to the person to whom you are being nice. I had been ignoring the call for comment on the poems of a friend. His poems did not pass muster and hence I was maintaining my silence. However, there is nothing like persistence to get resistance down. I succumbed to his constant requests and gave a comment. It was a positive note that I sent. Really would have preferred to not have said anything. Did not think much of this either, because I think it is necessary to encourage people to do what they want to do.

However, a discussion with another friend brought the disservice I had actually done to the fore. She asked me whether I had really liked the poem and I said no. She then asked me why I had posted a positive comment. I said he did write good poems, some of them were very good actually, (I had read some of them in the past),and this one was not all that bad.

She was not convinced, because she knew from my eyes that I did not believe that this poem was worth responding too, regardless of how good his earlier poems may have been.

I knew she was talking sense.

So I decided from then on to not be ‘nice’. Little did I know that this decision of mine would land me in a soup the next day when I spoke my mind out to a publisher friend. However, wonders will never cease. Though he was very upset at the time when I spoke my mind, he later capitulated and we are friends once again. So if people can take the truth and still be your friend, that’s good. Otherwise, don’t be nice for the sake of friendship. Actually, you are not being the true friend that you should be if you are ‘nice’.

Constructive criticism is necessary. You need not be brutal, but don’t be a sucker in any case. If you can’t say anything good, then keep quiet. And if he persists, then show that you are made of sterner stuff. Continue to maintain silence. And if he still carries on, then tell him the truth as you see it and let him bear the consequences of his pushiness.

If you have to say what is needed, do so, and be done with it. Its better than being ‘nice’, and your friend will thank you for it in the end.