Sunday 30 April 2023

Nerd Church - Basic Levels of Niceness

(Warning: this blogpost discusses low self-worth and mental health problems. It also briefly discusses toxic/abusive friendships.)

Title: Basic Levels of Niceness. Background: pink cupcake

"Oh My God! You remembered!" 

She's holding the chocolate orange, still partly covered by reindeer wrapping paper, like it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen.

"Yeah?" - of course I did, she and our friend spent a good half an hour a month or so back discussing how sad it was that no-one ever gets them chocolate oranges, how much they love chocolate oranges, and that they hadn't had chocolate oranges in forever. 

So, when I was buying their Christmas presents, I bought a couple of chocolate oranges. No brainer; no biggy.

"You're so sweet!"

...Am I?

She seems genuinely touched. 

Which... perhaps it was more of her manipulations -

(She was... not a good friend, not really a 'friend' so much as a toxic nightmare that enveloped people in her abusive web. 

Quick note for anyone who may need it: you should never be afraid of a friend - that is a sign that something's not right.)

- but it certainly seemed like real feeling.

Our other friend seemed likewise surprised that I would remember something like that.

And... I am confused.

It's not the first time, or the last, that someone will be noticeably touched, or more grateful than I think is warranted.

I get called kind and considerate a lot - that's not a brag, it actually makes me feel uncomfortable 😅🙈

Them: 'That's so sweet!' 'You're so considerate!' 'You're such a good neighbour' 'You're such a kind person!'

Me: **Squirms** - Hey look! A distraction!

That might sound like I'm a people pleaser but... that implies a lot more attempts at garnering affection/validation, and wanting people to give me attention, than anyone should really give me credit for 😅

A quick flick round Google search results shows a distinct lack of agreement over what 'counts' as being a people-pleaser, given that it's a vague social term at best, but in most descriptions there's usually some sort of seeking validation or positivity from others.

...And that's not really what I'm talking about here. 

What I'm talking about is something that for me is a lot more natural, almost automatic.

Mostly I just... do the thing? 

If I see something that I think someone will like, and it's within my power to give them that thing, then I'll do it.

...Why wouldn't I? Most of the time it's as simple as picking out a birthday card that I know they'll love. Picking up an extra snack when I'm meeting up with someone.

It's that kind of thing - not exactly putting me out, barely any effort, and a lot of the time a lot of fun to do.

I remember things that people like. I always have. *shrugs*

Where all of *waves hands* this does fit in with people pleasing is that I don't think it's really helped with my whole *more hand-waving* low self-worth thing.

It's definitely not the only thing going on in my mentally ill brain, far from it, but I think sometimes it feeds into the self-worth thing.

Because I find this level of - I'm going to call it 'niceness' just because I've decided to - I find this level of niceness really natural.

So for most of my life I've assumed that everyone else also considers this the bare minimum of being a relatively decent person.

...Hence my confusion at the level of touched and grateful that people are sometimes, when all I've done is brought them a cheap snack or whatever.

But it turns out that everyone else does not consider that the base level of niceness.

...Which is sad, really, when you think about it. It's such a small amount of compassion and empathy to show.

...Anyway, so the lack of automatic consideration shown to me that I automatically and naturally show to other people, and me not realising that a lot of other people don't see things that way... 

I think that really hasn't helped the way I view myself. It confirms the self-negativity in my brain.

Like, my effed up subconscious is over here thinking: they can't even show me the basic level of niceness - see, I knew I wasn't worth it! I must be pretty awful/useless/valueless.

Which makes no sense, but Depression is a liar and a bi**h.

So, hopefully, now that I've realised that people don't actually not care about me, they just don't have the same auto-consideration that I do, I won't take it so hard.

...I mean, a girl can try 😅😉😎

Did this post make the slightest bit of sense?

Are my standards of basic niceness too high, or are some other people's too low?

Talk to me! 😊💬

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  1. I understand where you're coming from Cee. For myself, I will try to remember ppl's birthdays to the best of my ability (I have a really poor memory thanks to intrusive thoughts) and will send them a message. But, sometimes it's happened that ppl I would call friends forget my birthday, and my self-esteem immediately says: "oh they don't care about you." When in reality, ppl are human, and maybe they forgot too! It doesn't mean that they're not a nice person. I know this doesn't exactly fit with your examples, but that's my personal interpretation lol.

    1. Lol, it's a similar vibe, and I totally get you. (Though it depends how close a friend - your bestie, for example, should remember your birthday! Lol.)

      And my memory is often swiss cheese - it's infuriating.

      I'm trying (*trying*) to not take things so personally when the obvious (to me,) basic niceness that I show to other people doesn't occur to them to show to me. Like I said, a girl can try!


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