I’ve been thinking about “the nice woman,” the role I was taught to play as a girl, and continue to play now in adulthood. Specificaly, I’ve been thinking about how the “nice woman” plays out in my interactions with others—not my close friends and loved ones—just people that I come across in work and throughout the day. The “nice woman” is overly friendly. She actually is genuine. She actually does care about being nice to the people she interacts with. But she also knows that she must play this role. Society expects it of her.
I have an acquaintance—she doesn’t fall into the “nice woman” category. She’s more reserved. I used to find myself overly sensitive about her reserved demeanor. I’d convince myself that she didn’t like me. She was always nice, just not overly so. After most of my interactions with her (that were always pleasant and enjoyable,) I’d convince myself that she didn’t like me merely because she wasn’t excessively complimentary or exceptionally smiley.
Her interactions are not the norm that I was used to. I’m used to playing the “nice woman” and interacting with the “nice woman,” after all—as a women, that’s what we’re supposed to.
After some consideration I realized, it’s not that she doesn’t like me, she just doesn’t play to my ego when we interact. She doesn’t play into the social constructs of what a “nice woman” is supposed to do. Instead of being overly nice for the sake of it, she’s just there and present with me, as she is, no gimmick or theatrics.
It’s nice. And yet, makes me uncomfortable.
Because it’s a different feeling to interact with an acquaintance and not have to define myself by my credentials, latest vacation, or other superficial qualifiers. Usually my guard is only down for my loved ones—not the person I come across at the coffee shop.
What I learned from my acquaintance who I thought didn’t like me was that she busted the social constructs. She is not worried about being “nice woman.” She’s not interested in my ego’s definitions of who I am. She’s only interested in meeting me on a human level, no expectations from our interaction other than a “Hey, nice to see ya. I hope you’re day is fulfilling.”
For this week’s mantra I’ll be focusing on leaning away from the “overly nice, please like me, look at my smile, aren’t I nice?,” interactions. I will release the “nice woman” role I’ve been told is correct.
Instead I’ll be looking for ways in which I can be more real in my interactions. I won’t ask about the person’s ego definitions, instead I’ll ask them how they are, and (the kicker)… I’ll listen. Not so that they think I’m nice. But because I care about them, not me in the eyes of them, just them—as a human.
In interactions let’s play to the person, not the ego.
In any interaction nothing more is needed
than the intention to meet another human just as they are,
in that moment, just as you are.
Have a happy & healthy week.