Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thoughts On... Being Nice

Despite my best efforts, I'm a nice guy. And while I tend to broadcast an air of "leave me alone", that underlying niceness makes for an approachability that makes me seem "safe" to people. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

About a year or so ago, I was sitting on the front porch of my mom's house, trying to escape the heat of the summer night. My neighbors had gone to their houses, and I was spending some time alone. Seemingly out of nowhere, a girl shows up asking me for help. She was really messed up, tears were streaming down her face, her yellow dress was ripped in several places, and she was unsteady on her feet. She told me that she had just gotten away from a bad fight with her boyfriend who lived across the street, and needed to get to the store where her mother was so she could go home. But she wasn't familiar with this area, and needed the number of a cab company.

I called a cab for her, and then sat & waited for the cab with her. I tried to keep her talking in an effort to calm her down, and to get her to stop crying. When the cab got there, I made sure the driver knew where she was going, and then they drove away. Despite the state she was in, the girl was very beautiful. And several of my male friends, after hearing this story, told me I should have made some kind of move on her. Any other guy would have gotten her phone number or something. But during the whole time I was helping her, the thought never crossed my mind. She was hurt, scared & alone, and needed help, so I helped her.

In the days afterward, I was angry at myself, because that incident is conclusive proof that I don't have that air of "danger" that seems to be necessary to attract a girl. And it just seemed like one more thing I didn't have, one more thing missing in me that other men had. Once I got through the anger and started thinking again, I came to see a very interesting fact. Despite the fact that the girl was obviously freaked out, and had no reason to trust ANYONE, let alone some strange guy sitting on a porch, she came to me. That is an act of trust. And here's the funny thing: I LIKE being trusted. I LIKE knowing that when people are in trouble, they feel they can come to me for help. And even stranger, I LIKE helping people.

Everyone knows the saying, "Nice guys finish last", right? When you think about it, finishing last is not a bad thing, really. Nice people help others in times of need, like the example above or the incident that spawned this post when my sister did a similar thing for someone yesterday. Just like people have helped me through my times of need. And if the cost of that is that I "finish last" as the saying goes, it's an easy price to pay.

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