I know that I have mentioned this before, but of all of the things that Oprah has said, one line has stuck with me the most, mostly because it is the only thing I remember Oprah ever saying. She said something about how there is a thin line between a nice person and a pushover. She actually may not have said that at all, because this was while watching Oprah about fifteen years ago while half asleep. It may not have even been Oprah who said it. It could have just as easily been Dr. Phil yelling at some drug-addicted mother or something.
However, up until that point, I had thought I was a nice person. On that day, I realized there’s an equal chance that I’m just an asshole that’s too scared to stand up to anybody. If you meet a guy and think he’s super nice, there’s a very real possibility that he’s a terrible person. Do I hold the door for you because I’m genuinely nice or because I’m scared of the slim possibility that you are the daughter of Warren Buffett? Neither. I don’t hold the door for you because you’re sixty feet behind me and are also a 75-year-old man.
Seriously, if you’re going to be nice to a woman, make sure that you are aware of to whom you are supposed to be nice. You can’t just be polite to every person you meet in life. That takes too much effort and energy. 75-year-old men can open doors themselves just fine, but 27-year-old women need help. Your help.
Chances are, genuine kindness is a combination of both. You can’t be purely friendly without also putting some of your ego aside. You also can’t be a complete pushover without maintaining some amount of kindness.
I now know that I am also a combination of both. I’m not completely nice, and I’m also not a complete bumhole. I’m just a regular guy. I’m okay with regular, so long as I never accidentally hold a door for a perfectly capable elderly gentleman again.