“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” – George Bernard Shaw
I’m still asked at least one a day where I got my polar bear mount. I’m nice enough to reply with a one liner which I made into a macro after being asked ad nauseam in the early days of WotLK. The macro says: ‘Rarely found in a bag of Hyldnir Spoils rewarded from dailies picked up in Brunnhildar village in the Stormpeaks.” More often than not, I get the same follow up questions – ‘Where in the Storm Peaks?’, ‘A bag of what?’, ‘Where’s Brunnhildar Village?’, ‘I only got Yeti Cheese and snowballs, how come you got a mount?’, ‘How come there’s no dailies for me there?’ Some questions I’ll answer, even pretty dumb ones, but I refuse to be a walking WoW encyclopedia for people who can’t be bothered to read anything WoW related ever.
I’m generally a nice person, most people I know wouldn’t even bother answering the above question, but the longer I live life the more I’m starting to realize that being nice isn’t an admirable quality. My first high school English teacher always started her first class with “I never want to hear or read the word ‘nice’. The sole exception to this rule is if you are describing a piece of lemon cake with an inch of white icing over the top that silhouette your teeth after you’ve bitten into it, but you may want to think twice before writing about cakes and icing in my class.” I use the word ‘nice’ about twelve times a day (link me a piece of gear or achievement and I’ll say ‘nice’ when I get tired of saying ‘gz’), but being nice is starting to feel reminiscent of teeth scarred icing. It’s ironic that I don’t particularly like nice people. Nobody’s really nice particularly not all the time and pretending to feel or be something you’re not is possibly one of the biggest faux pas in my book. I don’t do fake, or do I?
I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty honest, fair and reasonable person. If I’m offended, I speak up, but I don’t yell. If I’m angry, I take a deep breath or three or however many it takes and then try to resolve the issue rationally. If asked stupid questions, I tend to have polite, clipped replies. I’m a negotiator, happiest with an outcome that benefits as many people as possible. I want what I want without hurting someone in the process or making them unhappy. It’s a personal quality I embrace and like about myself, within limits. Occasionally, probably more often than I’m willing to admit, I cross the line from being nice to acting nice. It’s a very blurry line that’s difficult to spot and the first few paces on the other side is me at my worst – denial city. In my defence, that’s mostly because it’s more of a long bridge than a line and whilst wondering across I’m conflicted. I started out feeling genuine goodwill, but after a few paces I begin to feel taken advantage of and resentment surfaces, then dislike, then frustration, but all the while I tell myself that these are bad emotions I shouldn’t feel and so I try to hold on to what I felt initially, that desire to want to help because it felt like the right, good and pleasant thing to do. I step into someone else’s shoes and have a habit of forgetting about my own. It’s not a deliberate self-denial, but until my own shoes begin to chafe rather badly, I forget to remember that I’m still walking too.
Adapting is not a bad thing per se, not all the time, but spending time with the people I spend a lot of time with has taught me that adapting the world to you is often a much better approach. Everybody changes and life is one continuous game of finding ways to best make use of whatever is thrown at you, but when you’re in the right and the world is in the wrong, the world needs to change. I spent Saturday evening pugging Naxx 10 followed by probably the best MgT pet/mount run ever and Sunday night watching Chris raid whilst talking on messenger and casting a very occasional fishing line and it was two of the nicest evenings I’ve had in a while. If I was nicer, I wouldn’t have left the Naxx group who went on to farm heroics to play with someone whose company I prefer and I would’ve signed up for raiding on Sunday even though I wasn’t feeling well because it may have made the difference between 25 people seeing Yogg.
After I left the Naxx group, they grabbed a different healer and went off to do their thing and invited me back the next day. The guild raid I was watching cleared 4 bosses in the coliseum and then breezed through a few bosses in Ulduar afterwards and fun was had by all, judging by how much Chris enjoyed it. It was a nice realization to know that little old me didn’t ruin anybody’s evening at any point and saying no is sometimes the nice thing to do but even if it wasn’t, it would still have been the right thing to do. It’s taken too long for me to start shaping my world to suit me, rather than trying to adapt to a world that mostly doesn’t really care what I do. But even when it does and doesn’t approve, I don’t care anymore if strangers find me pleasant and isn’t the whole point of family and friendship accepting people just the way they are. Being nice just for the sake of niceness is not a good thing. I don’t like cake.