Monday, September 24, 2012

Nice vs. Niceties

I love doing things that are nice.  I love doing things that I know will give my neighbor a bit of pleasure.  I'm cooking for the Lions' Club tonight, and one of my members is a Lion.  She digs my deep dish pizza, so deep dish is on.  That's... nice.  She didn't expect it, she didn't demand it - but when she heard that I was doing it - she was excited.  There was joy - I was happy, she was happy, it's all good.

I disdain niceties.  What are niceties?  Well, that would be the extra work that one has to do because another expects them.  If I had someone who just absolutely insisted that if I have them over to diner the napkins would just have to be folded in a fan pattern.  Or else.  It's a nicety - and it annoys me.

Of course, if someone would get a kick out of that, and it would be a joy - then a little napkin folding could be fun.

You see, the difference is in the expectation.  Is the service freely given, so that there might be joy in giving and in receiving - or is the service a hoop to be jumped through, busy work that I expect of you in order to show me the respect I think I deserve - and there will be social hell to pay if you don't meet my expectations?

Don't demand niceties.  Don't make people jump through hoops.  That just burdens them.  Rather - let them be nice.  Let them freely serve, however much or little they do -- and that way there will be joy in what they do and what you receive - whether it is something wondrous or something small and seemingly insignificant.  You will know that it isn't insignificant - it is something nice done for you - and it will be a joy for you and a joy for them.

Likewise, strive to do things that are nice for others - bring them little bits of joy.  As for doing the niceties -- well... if you are under them, bear with them.  If you can teach them... maybe skip them, but only if you are willing to pay the hell that there will be to pay, for their sake.

But man, the niceties can get to me sometime.

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