Forget Nice; Be Respectful

What I wished I’d known when I started my career – #6

by Marketplace Designers via

Nice is yucky

The word ‘nice’ really gets under my skin. Merriam Webster says it means “pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory.” BLEH. Even before I knew that women are expected to be nice at work more so than men, I had outgrown nice.

Why? It’s benign. It’s agreeable even when that’s not the right thing to do. It’s pleasant without being meaningful. I may hate this word more than I hate saying ‘moist’. UGH.

Why do we expect women to be nice? Because we expect them to be supportive and nurturing; these are long held societal norms fitting in with our maternal role in society. Movies love to play against type showing women who challenge others. Ooh sassy!

Nice is patronizing for you and me. Nice glosses over the real issues in favor of amiable chitchat. Nice is boring, the lull in a conversation when we no longer find each other interesting.

Nice never got me anywhere but ignored. And Sassy is always in trouble! What’s in the middle?

Respect as a tool

This article is short because I’m traveling tomorrow. I am not being mean. I’m being respectful of the reader’s (your) and the author’s (my) time. We are both worthy of consideration, and I am duly recognizing our needs and feelings. That’s respect in play.

I love respect. It means I can treat you like an adult (which you most likely are), and you’ll treat me like one. We can consider each other’s differences and admire them. We can discuss our opinions and reach common ground. We can be each other’s #1 fans without sacrificing our individuality.

For me, respect is an extension of empathy. I am listening to you, I am imagining what your journey has been like, and I honor it. To me, that’s way better than nice.

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