There is something amazing that can happen when you actually listen to people.
We’re not talking about the usual kind of listening where you are waiting for your chance to add in your two cents, or the kind when you are simply shaking/nodding your head to display mild agreement and let the person feel listened to. Real listening.
Now’s the time to welcome My Brother to this post.
As a police officer there are many amazing qualities and traits he brings to not only his profession, but also his day to day life: confident, open-minded, fit, loyal, compassionate, observant, direct and wise. He can not only work the crowd, read people and situations, or seek to discover new things, he learns from mistakes he has experienced (which could have fairly large ramifications in his working world).
With a substantial portion of his profession revolving around interacting, supporting, talking and intervening with the general public, we often talk about the people we deal with each and every day. His day to day interactions take place with people from a huge variety of background and stories.
He knows and understands people.
So, when he came out with,
People don’t have to be nice to be good
I was a little taken aback. I hadn’t ever considered this.
All of the kids I work with are good. They’re all nice too.
Well, most of the time.
But, if you are good, you would also have be nice – they go hand in hand, right?
Can you not be nice, but still be good?
Surely it depends on the situation, what you deem to be important at the time (or if you are working towards a goal), what unwritten rules you follow, the people you are with, who you are trying to impress, the voice in your head, plus another six million influences.
For even more complexity, what’s ‘Good’ and ‘Nice’ depend on who you are and is changing all the time…because you are changing all the time.
Like, the difference between 30 Year Old Me and 16 Year Old Me. Back then I had it all sorted out and knew exactly how the world operated: being The Nice Guy was what mattered.
Supportive shoulder to cry on? Of course!
Oh, you like me, just not like that? It’s not me, it’s you. I completely agree, thank you!
Don’t you just think [Insert Name] is a joke? Ah…well, I know you want me to agree so I show support to you and establish us as a unified force, but they’re actually a pretty great person…but I am supposed to be nice, and if I disagree with you, isn’t that not being nice to you? (Queue non-committal action of pretending mobile phone beeped and a need to check it).
When we make decisions or interact with people we are constantly shifting through what we think is good and nice as well as what’s accepted in the situation we’re in.
It could look like something like this:
The above diagram outlines the four main areas that people choose to act like or be throughout the day when dealing with all the different people in their world.
I don’t think we are ever just in one area, it’s not like that. What we are constantly shifting around these areas…imagine it is like a chessboard and you are jumping between the different squares as the Queen/King of your life.
Let’s get to know each of these a little bit more, with the help of Game of Thrones of course.
Not Nice, Not Good
Also known as the “Being a Jerk”. Usually involves passive bystanders or people forgoing their values or what they believe in due to a moment of weakness, which happens to everyone.
Can happen when tired, coffee-less or simply over it.
You can still be a good person, you’ve just let your standards and values dip that little bit lower. Decisions you have made during this time probably go against the rules of the group surrounding you, as well the rules of the Big Group you are a member of.
Everyone goes through this part at some point and at some time.
However, if you keep lowering your perspectives and beliefs of what is nice and what is good you can turn into King Joffrey.
Don’t be a Joffrey.
Nice, Not Good
You know that person, the one who smiles and consoles you, rubs your back when something terrible has happened, but already knows how they can get ahead from it. That’s what being Nice, Not Good is about.
Acting nice, but doing it for ill intent reasons (or being nice when someone isn’t being good) would usually be considering themselves instead of the bigger picture. Narcissistic or selfish reasons can drive these choices such as promotions, bonuses or not wanting others to see us in a bad light.
Or the ambition to be Lord and Master of the Eyrie.
The saying, “I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them” probably originated from these people.
Don’t be a Littlefinger.
Or a Cersei.
Oh God, please don’t be a Cersei.
Good, Not Nice
The tough one. Almost the opposite of the part above, this area is concerned with how the big picture affects everything else.
People making these decisions weigh up and consider the overall ideas of what good could come out of something, and if so, it overrules the niceties of the group and its unwritten rules.
Calling a good friend on something that is racist, sexist or anti-Game-of-Thrones? The good outweighs the niceness, so pull them back into line.
We think of these times as “Making the tough call” or when you know someone is going to be upset…but for the right reasons.
That app idea you’ve been going on about? Honestly, it doesn’t make sense and is pretty confusing, keep working at it.
That dress you’ve just put on? Ah, I don’t think it actually works with all the other stuff you’re wearing. (Please don’t say this unless they ask).
Those couple of friends you protected, trained and were ultimately betrayed by, resulting in your death before you were resurrected? Yes, there will be dire consequences.
Be like Jon Snow – he knows everything.
Good and Nice
The simplest one – where the situation doesn’t require you to make a tough call, misdirect or plot against anyone. Things are all going well, people are laughing, high fiving and all round frivolity is taking place.
Everyone is upholding the unwritten rules of the group: people are being genuine and authentic and you are probably just following the usual script of most happy social interactions.
When acting like this, you will look out for others, speak up in a way that allows everyone to not lose face and will keep the big picture and little picture in check. When you are acting this way you are making the world great.
Simple things can be examples of this, like holding the door for people.
Let’s just say, people who hold the door are amazing.
So, Hold the Door.
What is the area you spend most of your time in?
What about the people you admire? What area would you group them in majority of the time?
Which is the area you think is the most important to be able to be?
If you enjoyed this post, please take the time to share, like or comment on this post. Please provide your thoughts, disagreements or completely different perspectives…comments make our world go around.
Go on, spread the love. We know Hodor would do it. Be like Hodor.
7 Replies to “The Enemies of King Joffrey: Good and Nice.”
So true! I love the goodness and niceness quadrants…. I’m going to chat to my class about this tomorrow! X
Enjoy! Wonder what parts they would see as the hardest to be…I’m thinking good, but not nice when they have to speak up against friends?
Very interesting and thought provoking. The part I don’t agree with you is where you say Good and Nice don’t require you to make tough calls. I think it is exactly the opposite. To be good and nice requires you to have your principles in mind while interacting and dealing with your peer group. They (the group) may have different values and you as an individual is expected to conform. How do you live by your principles and maintain your position in the peer group. At what point do you say I am prepared to trade a particular principle ( because it is only minor) to maintain my peer relations. However on another occasion a similar principle causes you to cross the line and rebel against the peer group.
I think one aspires to be nice and good but the more important aim is to have empathy with everyone you deal with. Try to put yourself in their shoes when you are confronted. What is driving and motivating the reaction. If you can do this and deal with the issue without having to comprise your principles you will then find yourself a long way down the pathway to the destination of “Gooa and Nice”.
Hi Ray, that’s a really interesting perspective which I hadn’t fully considered. The need to dismiss or forgo our principles within our friendship circles is one that hasn’t impacted me over the last few years, but thinking this through that may only be with close friends (who we usually have many shared underlying principles and values with). It sounds like you are talking about our wider circles of friends and acquaintances? From experience these are the people that you usually have different values and principles with, but if it gets to a point where I feel pressure to sacrifice key principles I think thats when we make the choice to limit our connection with that person and see the relationship as a professional or acquaintanceship…which I guess would leave us to still treat them nicely, but also maintain our sense of what is good…which I believe is what you were arguing all along?!
I really enjoyed the concept of having the 4 quadrants of good & nice we find ouselves in. I can see how good & nice comes easier with like minded peers, family or friends. But i think good ultimately is the tough one we need to see more of with empathy. ‘Empathic Good’ There seems to be a rather tragic deterioration of society in seeking to intentionally do good or ‘the right thing’for fear of hurting someone. (I work with parents & young children I see it a lot) The greater good , the longer term benefits for a friend ,peer or family member is being sacrificed for short term gains of always trying to be good enough and NICE. Being liked is seems to have greater value than being respected.
Kaz, you’ve seemed to hit the nail right on the head with a need for greater amounts of empathy being needed. I know with a wide majority of students I have been working with we are really stepping up the wellbeing side of things with a huge focus on considering others’ perspectives and helping them know how they can call others on things they disagree with. Do you have similar experiences with the children and parents you work with?
Empathy as a quality & skill is dying the research tells us so. Particularly for health professionals & parents which is tragic. I think we need a love revolution. I think The Script have it right in their song ‘Give the love Around’ https://youtu.be/EhSMgzzhWaY