Be kind. F*ck nice.

A friend recently asked me to write a letter to people who are always worried how they’re coming across to others. She doesn’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings by sharing hers, but she’s also sick of editing herself. In her awesome words, “I mean, when will I stop fretting over this sh*t?” (Oh dear, someone might be offended by my language. Oh well. F*ck it.) Sound familiar? Do you constantly censor yourself because you’re worried about other people’s reactions?

In our hunter-gatherer primitive nature, women especially have an inherent urge to nurture and protect. So it is completely natural to care about the feelings and opinions of others. What tends to happen, though, is that we too often put those feelings and opinions above our own. I’m not saying we shouldn’t care about how our words impact other people. Of course that matters. But the more we hold back our authenticity, the less connection we feel. How great it would it be to feel truly comfortable in your own skin, no matter where you are?

I love this quote:

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I tell my kids to be honest and kind. Over and over I say it, honesty and kindness. Because I don’t want them to fall prey to this unfortunate social epidemic of white lies. I guess it hearkens back to “if you don’t have something nice to say, blah blah blah” which has merit at its root, but that has morphed into never talking about how we really feel.

It’s created a culture of nice insincerity and political correctness.

If we are really going to be kind, we have to be our best, truest selves. We care about what others think; now we just have to work on caring about ourselves more. And it needs to be a social contract where we ALL do it. We speak the truth with kindness, and we believe the best of others. We need to give other people the latitude that we’d like them to give us.

Will you join me in showing our true selves with honesty and kindness? Let’s spread the word. #bekindfucknice. Or #bekindfcknice. Whatever floats your boat. I won’t judge.

Love and purple to you all,

Eve

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142 thoughts on “Be kind. F*ck nice.”

    1. Exactly. And a disagreement doesn’t have to be an argument. We all need to stop taking everything as a personal attack. What someone else says, does or thinks is about them, not us. Boundaries are difficult things to grow and enforce; too many people are walking around either spilling their guts in desperate need of connection, as I do, or burying their emotions under oceans of fear and pain. We all need help, we are all in pain, and we CAN help each other. Too much unnatural distrust exists. I think of natural distrust as recognizing a valid threat and putting up guards. Too many people do it with every. Single. Person. They meet.

    1. I hear you. You’re not alone. I like this quote from the Vaca Sutta about a “right” statement:

      “It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.”

      If we strive for that, we can’t go wrong.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I love your craftiness!

  1. Niceness is required if you want to get along with people, there is a reason why we censor ourselves to a certain degree. It’s true that there are people who do this to extremes, never voicing their true opinions, but getting rid of it altogether would lead to problems. We are naturally critical of each other, we are prejudiced in many ways, “niceness” is a social lubricant that dissolves potential conflict which would arise if we were always honest.
    If Cordelia had indulged King Lear, and been nice rather than honest and kind then the series of tragic events might have never transpired!
    Kindness, honesty, authenticity and niceness are all dietary requirements for effective social interaction.
    At least I think so 🙂

    1. I hear you, and I totally get that we have to temper our social interactions because we can no longer indulge in fight or flight. But I think nicety has taken on a quality of deceit that makes me uncomfortable. If you have kindness, honesty, and authenticity, niceness in the most benign sense of the word is already in place. It’s the niceness manifesting as a falsehood that raises my objection.

    1. Thank you! I checked out a bit of your site, and it really resonated with me! People ask me all the time how I can just “put it all out there” and I say, I have to! This is the only way I know how to truly live, by making each connection count. I bypass small talk about 90% of the time, and it usually catches people off guard. But it’s worth it to me to cut through social niceties and be our truest selves to really effect change.

  2. In the last few years I’ve made a sport of always being honest, yet never using the words “sorry,” “busy,” “work,” or “sick.” (I reserve the right to type them, just not use them in live conversation. One project at at time, baby.) I’ve had fun practicing verbal gymnastics by asserting my boundaries without resorting to any of the cliche lies people use.

    Example: I’ve terminated several unpleasant business relationships with clients over the years by telling them my current health situation has made it impossible for me to continue. I just didn’t tell them that they were driving me crazy and it was my mental health I was concerned about.

    Example: I’ve avoided people who annoy me for long stretches of time and when we happen to meet, I tell them that I have been very involved with a new project or relationship. The project just happens to be my happiness and the relationship is with me.

    Example: If anyone hits me up for money, I tell them I’ve just made a major investment recently (in my rent); if they want me to volunteer my time, I tell them I already have several volunteer responsibilities going (I volunteer my snarky opinion at the drop of a hat for friends, 24/7, and I hold the door open for everybody); and if they launch into an extended speech about some ongoing health woe, I interject as soon as possible with, “Did you know Coca-cola used to have real cocaine in it? Wouldn’t that be awesome?” It spooks ’em just long enough for me to change the subject to squirrels.

    1. Oh, I’m totally using the Coke comment! I love it. But then, in my head, I fast forward to them responding with “Oh, I guess you don’t want to listen to me complain.” And I’m at a loss. Because I do want people to feel like they can vent to me, but f*ck, some people just don’t have the tools to talk themselves out of a bad spot, and everything is a bad spot to them. I’m trying to help with that, one asterisk-filled curse word at a time.

      Also, “practicing verbal gymnastics” in your boundary assertion is genius. Love it.

      1. Thanks.

        Maybe this will help with your decision whether or not to let people vent all over you: A drowning person was never saved by another drowning person.

        If what they’re venting makes you feel worse, you’re starting to drown. You’re losing your strength, perspective, and homeostasis. Soon, you won’t be able to offer them advice or cheer them up because you’ll be swimming in the same toilet bowl right next to them.

        Ask yourself what kind of a friend enjoys sharing rat poison with their best buddies. What kind of person is okay with drowning the puppies in their address book? But kinship is nurturing. you say. Momentary kinship can also be achieved in a double suicide.

        Sound harsh? Good, I’ve got your attention. This is serious shit, your health and happiness is, and you are worth feeling good and having an outstanding life. If being of service to loved ones is vital, be a visual aid for them to emulate. Teach them how to swim by example.

        Keep this up and you’ll notice your own address book getting cheerier and sexier. Oh, yeah.

        1. Oh, you’re preaching to the converted! And you’re absolutely right about the address book. I’m thrilled with the amazing people I have found, or have found me, while on this journey. I feel some guilt about relationships I’ve had to exit, but I know that is my savior complex talking.

          1. I hear ya, lady. I was raised to save the day, too, and it’s effing hard to switch off. Especially when empathic and your own wounds are just a memory away.

            Just gotta remember: I’m my first rescue, I’m my first patient, I’m my first client, I’m my first love. Put the oxygen mask on your own face before assisting anyone else with theirs.

            *Dark imported chocolate works in a pinch for cocaine.

          2. Ohhh man the empathy is a killer. I used to actually go all Charmed and try to “block” it. (I’ve read too much supernatural fiction.) Now I know that focusing on myself is key. But then perceived narcissism rears its ugly head…

            *YES. IT. DOES.

          3. What a koinkydink, narcissistic personality disorder is one of my current research tangents.

            This oughtta calm you like two Ambien in a jigger of scotch: the very simple, very foolproof measure of a true narcissistic personality disordered individual is that they do not believe they have a problem. It’s all your problem, not theirs.

            So, if you are worried you may have NPD, it’s a good sign that you don’t. Otherwise, you’d be blaming everything and everyone within spitting distance in order to maintain your control over your victims. Twisted catch-22, I know, but a reassuring one, nonetheless.

            You can present narcissistic characteristics, even nasty ones (usually learned from the family), but it tends to only be under duress or when threatened. It’s a survival mechanism that was learned to protect the self from slimy people who fought dirty–and you can unlearn it, too. Takes time and a lot of patience with the self but it can happen, even without meds and shrinks. Cleaning out the ol’ address book comes in handy, here.

            Awareness is your talisman against the farts of the world. Pretty soon, you get so used to feeling good that one whiff of them, and you’re gone.

          4. Thanks. I take a lot of pride in the fact that it’s my flight suit. There’s something very empowering about a pinup session in uniform.

      2. I have a good response for this, when someone says something along these lines to me I respond with, “don’t be silly, I don’t mind at all, but there is a time and a beverage for venting and unfortunately I am without either at this precise moment. Are you available at 3pm? We could have Irish coffee hold the coffee and if you pay I will even provide you with advice” :). This has allowed me to get out of lengthy discussions with co-workers that want to talk about how bad this or that is with their job or how much trouble they have with a client that I never have trouble with (because seriously I don’t have time for lunch most days let alone that), but it still gives them the opportunity to actually spend some time with you outside the office and express themselves… plus you get coffee!!! 🙂 Winning!

    1. Offense is in the eye of the beholder. We make a choice to take something as an attack, internalize the comments, and then get offended. I believe that speaking truth with kindness and a complete absence of judgement is the only way to effectively communicate, make real connections, and effect change. Adjusting your language to come across the way you think you should results in a false expression (and therefore a false impression) of who you really are. Because there is no such thing as “the way you should.” You won’t please everyone, but the ones who truly hear you will be the ones that matter.

    1. Indeed. But I’m starting to view “the world” as a collection of individuals just as lost as the next, and I’m finding that to be less and less of a challenge.

    1. Agreed. There are so many things we can be saying or doing that can make a real difference in someone’s life instead of the BS we feed other all too often.

  3. I’m going to be honest, I struggle with this somewhat. I am getting a lot better at it, but this year I also decided to be really honest with myself about my short comings and try to be a better person AKA funnel all that energy usually reserved for road rage into something more valuable – like for example epic car karaoke to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. So whilst yesterday I felt like informing a co-worker that her behaviour was a fine example of bigotry instead I said that unfortunately I did not agree with her that clients being noisy was the same as them making racist remarks at each other and that I felt we should take a stand and refuse service to any client that displayed prejudice, discrimination or bullying of any kind – she still didn’t like it, but I think she would have liked being called a bigot a lot less 🙂 So does that mean I am being successful in being honest, but still showing tact… also keeping my job 😛

    1. Yes, it definitely sounds like success to me! I think there are two extremes on either side of the kind honesty I propose: 1) Social niceties that are complete lies and ignore the elephant on the room, and B) Harsh and judgemental comments that are likely to cause strong reactions. Sounds to me like you are navigating between the two quite nicely!

  4. Hey what an honest writeup living upto it’s topic. Yes you are….it’s always better to be real than fake…..I like your style….I am following you….you can dig into my articles s I feel you might like them…..though different worlds we do share same sentiments.

  5. This is great! It’s important to know when to censor ourselves, say in a work environment, and when to be truly honest. It may hurt, but I believe that if it’s with your loved ones this does more favour than harm.

  6. Great post and fantastic message. I can’t stand people who are nice just to keep people happy. People are not always going to be happy, my work as a journalist has shown me that! The best we can do it be honest, upfront and polite with it. People will respect you a hell of a lot more for this and in the long-run you will find it far more helpful than sugar-coating everything for them. #bekindfucknice is a great message because you’re right, we should always be kind to others, but being nice is fake , being nice is lies and being nice gets you nowhere. I love the quote.

    1. You are absolutely correct. And truth repeated reaches more souls each time. If I can help one person step into her power and own herself just a little more each time, I’ll repeat truth again. And again. And again.

    1. And thank you for visiting. By the way, you have an amazing pestle and mortar collection, and your lemon meringue pie looks very tasty.

  7. So true. I work in a male-dominant world so I can be an insensitive bloke and just say what I think! It’s the females at my work that are hard to deal with – I have to temper truth and feedback with nice or I get called a bitch. *Argh* Oh, and I am not being nice but I enjoyed my visit to your blog site 🙂

  8. I agree with some of the commenters that we have to temper honest with kind AND nice. However, having grown up in the South, I know my mom (a very successful woman, incidentally) always told me “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything ” as well as “Pretty is as pretty does”. Partially as a result, I have always had difficulty being assertive, rather than passive or passive-aggressive,but I’m working on it. Anyway, great, thought-provoking post. And I love the hashtag #bekindfucknice!

  9. I try to strike a healthy balance of being considerate and honest. Sometimes being blunt isn’t being nice and I don’t need to shove my own opinions on someone else under the guise of being honest if it hurts them. There are ways to handle things as I’m learning in my “older age” lol! Thanks for a great post that got me to think about how I react to someone.

  10. I will absolutely #bekindfucknice Actually, I think I’ve been doing it already for a very long time.. ha! It also astounds me when people are looked down on for speaking their minds. When push comes to shove, some matters of opinion are neither right nor wrong, and we have to be respectful of the fact that everyone has the freedom to think whatever they want. We should also be THANKFUL that we live in a country where we can think and say what we want- so use it!!

  11. Reblogged this on gotstufftosay and commented:
    Seriously! #benicefucknice!
    As long as we are honest we shouldn’t have to hold back what our thoughts are because they may offend others. We need to step up and share what we think! Despite how other people take it. Jeez, even put, “no offense but…”, before everything if it really bothers you. But get it out there!

  12. Umm, ya, I’m down. My entire blog is built around this premise. Be kind, be HONEST. My mantra is “construct a life, not a profile. (Re) connect our hearts. I think being “nice” really just equates to being fake these days. It’s a word that means “oh, so you are being phony then? Mmkay, got it.” Well done piece! #befindfucknice

    Best~ Julie

  13. I appreciate the comment, and I have nothing nice to say! So…well. You are right we do not then talk about how we feel. I do not think we need to love ourselves “more”…there is too much “loving ourselves” as in selfish, my rights, carry my guns into your cafe…but we need to “love ourselves.” Which when we are nice we do not love ourselves. We placate, pacify, and are yes…N*ce. Damn it all.
    So, we can help each other. But we also need to confront those who are very NOT nice, rude, and critical and say shut the Face up.
    so…thank you.

    1. I agree about confronting others’ rudeness and/or falseness. However, rather than shutting them down, I usually turn their comments around. I’ll ask questions or dig a little deeper. Never take anything at face value when you know in your bones that it’s not truth. I’m a boundary-pusher and always will be. I fought it for a long time, but I know now that it is my gift. I make people see themselves more than they allowed themselves previously; they don’t always like it (or me), but they always – ALWAYS – thank me later.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  14. worrying about others opinions of ourselves is like pissing into the wind. One of my favorite quotes is from Coco Chanel and goes something like this “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all” what a classy way to tell someone to stuff it.

    1. Amen! I love Coco Chanel. She is a great example of a woman who would not let anyone else dictate how she lived her life, and she was never predictable. She once said she didn’t marry because “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” But once you know more about her, you know it wasn’t about the men; it was about her independence. If she never relied too heavily on a man, she could be the mistress of her own fate.

      We should all be the masters and mistresses of our own fates. And being truly honest with ourselves and others, as difficult as it may be, can make that happen.

  15. I love this post. Being someone who has always worried about hurting someone else’s feelings. Constantly being hurt by the very same people in return. While always censoring whatever I have to say, I can completely identify with your blog. I just finished HS and have done much better over the yeas with using my voice. However this post was a helpful reminder to stay on track. I look forward to reading more of what you’ve written!

    1. It is impressive that you are already getting so comfortable with your own voice. It took me 40 years to finally say f*ck it and embrace my true self! So thank you for being ahead of the game, and please come back and visit or write me if you ever want a little help staying the course.

      Thank you for stopping by and writing!

  16. I have found a kindred spirit in you! I have lived for 21 years with an ex sailor because he doesn’t curdle when I speak my mind. Never did like buttermilk boys.

  17. Agreed. The instinct to unleash brazen honesty provoked my current blog project. I’m tired of keeping real things quiet because they aren’t pretty or nice.

    Compassion or understanding might add a good filter, but they should never be a gag.

    1. “Compassion or understanding might add a good filter, but they should never be a gag.”

      I love this so much. Can I please quote you on the MoveOverMen.org Facebook page?

  18. I have always been like this i think and always struggled with keeping friends. I just couldn’t understand what their problem was when they would get mad or upset after asking me a question and me answering them honestly. Needless to say I was already a huge fan of John Lennon’s and his quote has just heightened this!! Tganjs for sharing … Great topic!

    1. “She remembers that she only looks for approval from others when there is work to do on accepting herself.”

      Love that so much. Thank you for bringing your wonderful self to my attention! Following.

  19. In a culture now a days when unless we are exerting an exuberant smile between the teeth and embodying a totally agreeable personality then we can be seen as rude or unkind. It is better accepted to be false in your familiarity rather than being true to ones feelings. As my writing has taught me, if i am censoring myself then i am ultimatly lying to myself. if i practice lying to myself then i will soon practice lying to others…which is not an action i wish to maintain practice of. There isfreedom in raw unedited truth. Therefore fuck filtered communication. Understand the power of adjectives that dont embody bad language. …and roll on with the truth

  20. It’s too damn hard to fall into the cracks of ‘damn, i dunno what to say so i’ll just be polite’. I honestly wake up and i’m already anxious about talking to people. I always try to be nice, i’m totally taking your advice 😀 Thank you!!!

  21. I completely agree. I have been brought up to consider other people’s wishes and put them before my own, and for a few years I was depressed because I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. Now I realize that this is hurting me, but it has become a habit that is hard to break. I have put walls all around me and cannot break them down all at once; i can only hope to chip them a little at a time.

    I think it’s good that you teach your children to be honest to themselves. Cheers!

  22. We tell our daughter that she does not have to be nice to be polite. Use basic manners and be kind. Trust and friendship depends on honesty. Everyone may not always deserve kindness, but do the right thing and you will never walk away with regrets.

    1. I love that! Sounds like conversations with my daughter, too. My hope is that she will always have a strong knowledge of who she is and what she stands for, and that will be her compass. Thanks for commenting!

  23. This strikes a chord with me, I’m new to word press (as of yesterday) and this afternoon I uploaded two pieces that I wrote last year onto here so I have everything in one place.

    I showed a colleague my “The Education System” post and his first reaction was “where did you initially post this and how did you get away with it?!” So I told him, we parted ways and I went back into the article and edited it.

    I know there is controversy around how and why “bad” language is used, what it is and isn’t supposed to indicate about the user but your post makes some pertinent point… Thanks for the good read 🙂

    1. Thank you! I hopped on over to you, and I love your writing too. “Her fatal flaw is her inability to find fault in anyone who thinks she’s funny.” YES! Me too!

  24. Diplomacy in personal character is nothing less than a self chosen propaganda; it is disguised with nice and pleasant word. Can you believe it that I often come across people who are ever sweet and nice but often kind. Kindness is something unique, it is deep and profound and more in actions than words 🙂

    1. Absolutely! I am often kind but not necessarily nice. And sometimes that’s the only way kindness will manifest. Thanks for commenting!

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