July 30, 2012 7:36 AM Subscribe
Is it ever ok to tell a friend or loved one to "be nice?" Or is this an big old oxymoron?
posted by kettleoffish to human relations (47 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe an example will help illustrate what I mean.
Let's say you're out to dinner with a friend. The friend orders fries, but gets a big plate of onion rings instead. She glares at the waiter and says very angrily, "I can't believe this!" The waiter looks mortified and, with shaking hands, knocks over a glass. "This is ridiculous. Come on! Get with the program," says your friend angrily.
Is there a gentle way to just say, "cool it" without offending your friend?
I get that it's hard to answer this. Different friendships have different styles.
For your friend, let's say this is literally an experimental phase for her-- your friend is experimenting, as people do. She is interested in trying to be perceived as a tough, demanding woman, and with pressing people to get results. But that doesn't mean she wouldn't be super hurt if you spoke up and said, "that's not nice."
Let’s say your personality is the opposite. You don’t like conflict. But when conflict starts, you usually jump right in, telling everyone, “let’s just get along.” This annoys people a lot but is not likely to change, ever.
In general-- is it worth it to ruin the peace over these little social moments, which nonetheless can feel so big? Or can a friendship accommodate these "moments" and smooth them over? If anyone has lived through these kinds of moments with friends, does the tendency to get hung up on them go away with age/practice?
(Full disclosure: I was definitely not one of the popular kids in school and have been way bullied in my time, it sucked, that's partly why I do this).