Friday, July 3, 2009

Learning to be nice

I am not nice.

I mean, I am a perfectly wonderful individual and a great friend. I've got your back in any situation. In a crises, I'm pretty good as long as the hysterics are minimal, then I'm kinda at a loss. I'm quite sure that if any of my friends even get stricken down with some horrible disease, I'm going to be the one organizing the casserole brigade to make sure she doesn't starve. I pick up trash off the street when I walk, and smile and say hello to strangers.

But I'm not nice.

In a relationship, I do all that too - the support, the encouragement, the making hummus from scratch so we have something to take to 4th of July picnic, the birthday weekend planning, nice dinners made with a loving hand... But, I don't say nice things often enough. Apparently. I think that doing nice things should be enough, but I'm not sure that it is.

Actually, it isn't.

I can totally understand his point of view. He says nice things to me all the time: how he likes being with me; feels happy when I'm around; he comments on my outfits and tells me I'm cute; tells me I have beautiful eyes, feet, ass, eyebrows and whatnot (no, he has never really told me I have beautiful eyebrows. I am just illustrating a point here, people). I totally and completely know how he feels about me.

I, on the other hand, do not say these things to him. I don't think I know how to. He does cute things, and I note to myself that he is being cute, but I don't tell him. I don't tell him how it feels to be around him; I don't tell him that I think his eyes (eyebrows?) are beautiful. But, I will point out if he is ripe, or sweaty, or has deodorant on his shirt or has told a joke that simply is not funny (happens a lot. Although there is an occasional good one in there). I think its ok if I say these things, then laugh and kiss him. But, it might not be. And if it is ok, it won't be for long.

Its been pointed out to me that I don't say nice things - so, it is starting to bother him. And, absolutely, for good reason.

But this is my ingrained behavior. This is my thing. This is how I operate. You be sweet to me; I suck the life blood out of you. Any wonder that I haven't had a real boyfriend for more than 6 months since 2002?

So, it has been recognized. And it has been discussed, a little bit. And regardless of the reason, I need to get over myself and start saying things out loud that I am thinking in my head if I want to keep this one around. I have vowed to say nice things tomorrow - even if its just one. His heart will probably stop from the shock. And then I'll have to start all over again...


Unknown said...

So a little homework for you guys...

Try and get past the religious aspects of the book and read "the five love languages" - it actually cab help you both figure out how you show and appreciate loving gestures words etc.

I am pretty much anti-religion and I got a few things out of it.

Unknown said...

I read a book about that once - "the 5 love languages" or something like that - its all about how there are 5 main ways people show their feelings - some people are verbal, some give gifts, some DO things for people, (I can't remember the other two). If you are with someone who 'speaks' a different language it can cause problems but once you understand you can do things in their language - although it sounds like you've already got most if it figured out!

PS - and I think you're nice :)

Ms Behaviour said...

In my experience (granted, not great experience), I think I have learned that men prefer to be told when they are being useful/manly/hot. So if he even does one tiny thing that makes your life a bit easier, you could just articulate, "hey thanks, that made my life a bit easier" or maybe you could hand over the wine bottle and corkscrew more often? Or you could randomly tell him that you think he's a hunkahunka burning man love, even if there's no reason for it. You know?

trish said...

you are getting great advice here. i agree with the other posters although i don't know if i could make it thru that book. how 'bout you read it and tell me what it says? another tidbit here is to tone down your inclination to tell him when his jokes aren't funny and when he stinks. once in awhile is fine (although i hope for your sake that he doesn't smell that often). i think it's great that he's so open with his thoughts and emotions. i suspect he's going to be very good for you!

Anonymous said...

I just read a book on this, but I don't think it was the 5 languages. (Maybe the same author?)

It said people act out their love in one of four ways. Everyone's either:

1) goldfish (do things for them and they're happy)

2) puppies (praise them and they love you...criticize and they cower)

3) canaries (all they need is for you to spend time with them)

4) cats (show them affection and they're content)

The point is to figure out what you are and figure out what they are, and then either adjust your behavior for them if necessary...or run.

And this is akmoffett, btw. I just don't remember my password and didn't want to go through all that.

PS...You may be "snarky" (as you always say), but you're also the most reliable friend when things get rough. That's a much better attribute if you ask me...

Elena said...

You're not funny. And you smell :)

Susan said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone. And FYI Elena, I hardly smell at all right now.

I'm actually reading a relationship book right now - and its quite good. Different book, but similar concepts. I think this whole thing is helping me grow.

That's friggin scary.