Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Deciding to be Nice and Other Niceties

Most of those who’ve been around me enough to say they know me think I’m nice.

I am. But mine is more of a deliberate, cultivated kind of niceness. It is one that comes out of a decision -- to be nice.

This is why I am not too nice early in the morning, when I am all impulses and reflexes and coffee hasn’t yet cranked up my willfulnesses. My kids, thus, know when it’s best to approach me for money or a night pass: post meridian or, better still, after sunset.

This is why under pressure, the shrew in me may come out unbidden, leaking carefully sealed toxins. Office colleagues have known to keep a safe distance while I crumble like badly-baked biscuit managing a big project.

My cute-smug reason for willing to be nice: it’s nice to be nice. When you get right down to it, when niceness persists in the workplace, don’t we get more things done? And more pleasantly?

But there are people who are really nice -- by nature nice. No matter the time of day, the season of year, nor changes in personal fortune. Respond to them or rebuff them, they keep going their nice and happy way.

Really nice people know not that they are nice and know not that they know not. So if you think you are, then you are not, or not yet.

I have met some really nice people. They quietly smile and listen. They are accepting of others. They assume people are good unless proven otherwise and they don’t pigeonhole, judge, and indict.

Truly good people are not the glad-handing, horn-blowing-while-do-gooding type. They don’t make a big deal out of their goodness.

When I grow up, I'd want to be truly nice.

Till then, excuse me while I fake it, fake it till I make it.


Gina said...

HAHAHAHAH Anna! Fake is good. ;P

Nah, it's good that you try your best to be nice. But nooooo, I believe you are really nice. Of course, seguro minsan may kasungitan lang. Like most of us naman, hindi naman seguro natural maging always 'goody two shoes'.

Julie said...

I try to be nice but I try harder to be not not-so-nice because I have the tendency to speak my mind and get irritated easily. I remember a friend telling me I seem to be nicer in my posts than in person! What? That bad?! :)

Do have a great week, AM!

myepinoy said...

ha ha ha ha ha.

Am I Nice? Have I decided to be nice? Or AM i by nature, nice?

But what is nice, being nice to who and why or how?

is it like an announcement in the board:
What: Be nice
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

or like every politician on a campaign trail?
Where: Office
Attire: Just fake it or just do it

very interesting post.

lady cess said...

hehehe. ako rin, long ago, i think this was before i got married, i made a conscious decision to be nice, because i wasnt really a nice-to-the-core person. there was a time when i felt the song "bitch" was so me.but given the impending change in my status, where i was no longer supposed to think of just my self, i had to at least project niceness, because i would be meeting hordes of new relatives.
but after many years, people have been saying/complimenting that i am "truly" nice. im not sure anymore if it's the conscious decision at work, or i have really changed and have at least appeared somehow pleasant to be with. i dont know.

ScroochChronicles said...

You, not nice? So far, you've been nice naman to me so I can't really say how you're like when you're not nice. Sana nga, sa iba ka na lang maging "not nice", wag na sa akin. Hehehe :)

Me, I'm both din ata. Sabi ng mga kakilala ko. My best pal thinks I'm a godsend but my husband calls me Bella Flores. So, most of the time I'm confused. Ano nga ba, naughty or nice?

noemi said...

In recovery principle it's called "acting as if". It’s a positive form of pretending. It’s a useful tool to use to get ourselves unstuck. For instance, I try to make a conscious decision to act as if I feel fine and am going to be fine. Same thing as being nice. I had to act as if I am nice until I got the habit. Nothing wrong with that though.

intsik said...

hi dear!

there are just some things that need a firm decision-making. and to be honest, this is the first time that i heard of somebody willfully deciding to stay nice.

i always thought that matters such as these come out naturally. possibly because everybody is naturally good.

and deciding to be nice is an extra effort that could only be mustered by persons who've matured and discerned well.

i laud you, as always. for opening this kind of paradigm.

let me think over this particular practice. :)

rowena said...

Hi, am I naughty or nice? I think am both. When I was younger I'm super taray, but when I get older (and wiser), I learn to control my temper and zip my mouth, he he. By the time I got into gov't work, I became "super nice" or I'll lose my job, ha ha ha.

Toe said...

Ako rin, when I grow up... well, actually, I want to be mataray. :) Okay, I just want to grow up. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I read the article about you in SIM. Can you please post where is the ukay wherein the clothes are just placed on the floor.

Please.. Thanks :D

YM: ingleserang_pinai_bitch

Annamanila said...


Sabi ng mga anak ko mabait daw ako sa office, masungit sa bahay. :(

Annamanila said...

Teacher Julie!

Nicer in your post than in person. hahaha Exactly, I think I might be misrepresenting myself in my blog as someone nicer than Polyanna or Julie Andrews in Sound of Music. Ay naku.

Annamanila said...


You can really take it to the extreme. LOL Memo or office order: be nice, with time skeds to boot.

Reminds me of the Courtesy Campaign in commercial Singapore maybe a decade ago. Ang susuplado kasi ng mga kababayan ng mother ko. It was turning off a lot of tourists. Aba, talagang nag-improve -- sabi nila. So when I was there for a few months, I didn't have unpleasant encounters with rude shopkeepers.

Annamanila said...

Lady Cess!

I have a problem thinking of you as bitchy. So help me!! :) So, marriage made you nicer? Awww, I like it that you agree with me that being nice is a conscious decision. Just like most of our behavior. Sabi nga, life is a series of choices and we define our lives by the choices we have made.

Annamanila said...

Bella Flores! I mean Schrooch!

Wow, am deligthed hanggang ngayon si BF pa din ang benchmark by which all villainesses are measured! Teka mas maganda ka naman kay Bella Flores ah. hahaha

I guess its nice to be unpredictable ha ... naughty this minute, nice mamaya. Pero, you better watch out, Santa Claus is coming to town. :)

Annamanila said...


I agree. Fake it fake it till you make it can apply to many aspects of our lives. Feeling fine, being nice,acting confident, changing for the better.

Maybe even loving? :)

Annamanila said...


Well, maybe you just don't notice it because there is such a thing as conditioned behavior. But if you get right down to it, almost everything boils down to making choices. Loving is also a choice, do you know?

Annamanila said...


I can see some taray edge in your sweet countenance. Kaya corekajan! But some taray is needed naman. Like me, some people used to think i was a pushover until i showed some teeth. hahaha

Annamanila said...


Ay, you are piercing my balloon! hahaha Am I too high fallutin? It takes a Toe to pull me down to ankle level. hahaha

Annamanila said...


I may have misled you and some readers to think I am an ukay2 authority. Am not really though I really enjoy going. Ay, I asked a friend and she thinks Baguio Hilltop is the place to go if you want to really make sisid and make halukay the clothes. According to her, mountains of the merchandise may be found perched on folding beds. Here in MM, the merchandise are hung on racks, ano?

Gypsy said...

I think I dobly appreciate those who make an effort (however difficult) to be nice, kasi nga they take the effort di ba..? Ako din, trying hard to be nice but like you, I have to fake it, bwahaha!! Greetings from the UK, arrived yesterday. :)

Annamanila said...

Awww gypsy!

Something tells me we won't miss you after all! Kaya siguro something pulled me from seeing you face to face, so i won't know the difference. I know there are at least two buddies hurting.

Feeling ko the last thing you did in Pinas was to comment on my blog and the first thing you did in UK was to comment on my blog.

If not true, never mind, don't tell me. hahaha

Ay naku, the other day .. tuesday ... i got your number from snglguy. I said I may just at least say goodbye. Guess what, I couldn't find the number when I was about to call. :(

chateau said...

hey, pollyanna!

Most of my friends will probably say I am nice. But ask my family, and they will probably respond like yours: depends, which time of the day? hehe

This is very NICEly written. I like the last two lines esp. :)

exskindiver said...

i don't believe you MC,
you can't possibly have to work at being nice.

in fact, you probably wish you were not that naturally nice because sometimes being nice can be tiring.
maybe right now you are just tired.

but you. are. definitely. nice.

Major Tom said...

I'd to be nice more often than possible. But most frequently, "No more Mr. Nice Guy." becomes my motto for it really ain't easy to be nice, always.

snglguy said...

I'm not a nice guy. Ask Verns and Abaniko... on the other hand, just ask my mom, she knows me better than I do myself. ;-)

Leah said...

People tell me I'm too nice. I guess, I might fake it too once in a while trying to be a people pleaser.

But you?....? Yeah, I can picture you (eyebrows raised and hands on your hips) being not-so-nice.

We get our off days, so you can be un-nice. I'm sure your niceness towards me was genuine.

geri said...

I think I am nice, that is until my temper gets better of me haha. Very interesting and honest post.

Belle said...

anna, my younger daughter also said that i wear two hats: nice and cheerful at work and grouchy at home. kasi naman all they do is mess up the house and leave empty dishes all over...hehe. who wouldn't be grouchy?

email me your address at so i can send you a beanie baby.

vernaloo said...

uhhmmm you are nice to me...I hope it didn't take a lot of effort hehehe :)

Me...I don't think I'm naturally nice. I treat people nicely but if you're not nice to me I will not be nice to you too...

Gypsy said...

Hey Anna, sorry to hear you werent able to call when you wanted to...however, the thought is much appreciated (aha! you are actually NICE! hrhrhr...) People are nice in my temporary neck of the woods here in the suburbs of England, strangers actually smile at you, wow.

annamanila said...


You cannot be not nice.

The last two lines are my faves too. :)

annamanila said...


Believe it or else. hehehe But its not difficult being nice with you. Didn't have to fake it. :)

pining said...

nice to be nice if it's being reciprocated!
I'm nice by nature and I try to please but there comes a time when I say to myself, "I'm being a sucker here..." , and then sod it... that's the time I know when I'm being abused.
To thine own self be true, that's what I believe...
Once again Anna, such a thought provoking post :-)

auee said...

If one swears a lot, prone to frustration and irritation, would
he/she still be considered nice?

Annamanila said...

Major Tom!

Exactly. As you say, it aint easy to be nice always. My point is that for the truly nice, niceness is second nature and thus effortless. No sweat.

But I think you are. Your posts say you are.

Annamanila said...


It is easy to see Verns and Toe are very fond of you. Type nila bad guy ano. Eh di type ko na din. hahaha

Annamanila said...


You got my eyebrow (one only) lifting a centimeter higher with that comment. Nabuking mo na pala ako. hahaha

You nice? Hmmm lemme see ... you're nicer than nice!!

Annamanila said...


Something tells me you're nice and I'd really like to know more about you. :)

Annamanila said...

You are nice in the home, only nicer or more diplomatic in the workplace. Like me. hahaha

Awwww .. you took my hint. But that wasn't a hint, was it? A barefaced "pahingi."

Ty ty.

Annamanila said...


It's not that you're nice but that you have a magnetic personality. hahaa. serious.

Annamanila said...


I am glad that you're with warm friendly people who smile in that new place. It makes all the difference as you begin an exciting new life there. All best. Will look forward to your blogs from Shakespeare country.

Annamanila said...


I was also thinkig if by my efforts to be nicer than what I am makes me "plastic." But I remember that we are creatures of will and of choice (something which distinguishes us from the beasts) and so I should think theres no harm in trying to improve nature. hahaha

Annamanila said...


Your question made me esep-esep. I should think I'd still think someone who swears as nice as long as he doesn't personally cuss another without reason. I mean I say "buisit" or "putcha" when I make tapilok or miss my ride ... which I think is harmless because there's no person at the other end of the cussing. Irritable people can still be nice as long as they don't offends others with their downmoods.

Hey Auee. You're blog hopping. I hope that means you're feeling better. :) YOu snappin out of it ... slowly? slow is good because surer.

kathy said...

My sisters and I are reconciled with the fact that we are naughty and definitely *not nice.* We poke fun at other people and wouldn't think twice about finding mistakes about others. Plus some other innate meanness. :P

But seriously, here's my opinion on niceties and being nice: for me, the higher virtue would be honesty. I'd rather have the person bitchy but honest than nice but insincere.

But that's just me. ;)

rhodora said...

What I detest is having to act nice because you are expected or required to be nice. Naku, I experienced this when hubby got into politics. I just had to smile and wave, kahit ang sakit ng mga paa ko at napakainit ng araw!

Annamanila said...


It seems to me if I always act out what I really feel, I would be sowing too much chaos all around. So if I really want to badmouth or punch a guy, I just avoid and keep quiet. If I acted with too much honesty and say what I really thought of him, then I would be so restive, anticipating the consequences and when it happens will still be in tenterhooks waiting for the opportunity to hit back

That is why we are advised: between the stimulant (meeting an unplesant person or encountering the offensive behavior) and our (sincere and honest) reaction, there is a CHOICE. I'd want to exercise that choice and not just impulsively respond.

I don't have to beso-beso the offensive person. A quiet nod ... that's already contrived niceness.

Annamanila said...


Niceness on the campaign trail .. ibang klase na yan. I am sure nakakapagod. But then that is a consequence of your choice to support your husband's political bid. So magdusa ka. hahaha And the crowds naman -- its easy to smile at them di ba, wala naman kayong history of illfeeling. I suppose mas mahirap pag political enemy na yung nasa harap mo na alam mong masama ang nasa isip para sa yo.

sasha said...

Ako rin tita I am nice hehehe... and like you, it is done by choice. True, it is nice to be nice.

Now this is the reason I sometimes feel ashamed to visit your blog tita. I can see how mediocre my writing is! Hahaha

Happy Sunday, tita! Sorry I don't visit often ha. But I read back and when I grow up, I want to be able to write like you :)

Take care po!

Jerry said...

I sometimes fake anger that I do not feel just to prove a point or teach someone a lesson.

Abaniko said...

Now it's confirmed that you're only trying to be nice when you allow me to beat you at scrabble after sunset. :)

Annamanila said...


X-deal? I will teach you how to write and you teach me how to monetize. hahaha

Seriously, you get by with your writing because you have the raw materials for it. You're fine!!

Annamanila said...


Ah that's anoher take on faking. A good one with a good objective -- to make the other person improve.

Annamanila said...


I can be nice and let you win the first game, but not the second, third, fourth and fifth. Ano ko -- hilo? haha

Abaniko said...

Annamanila, you're definitely right there. Hahaha. And in the very few times that I win, you're just being nice. ;)

Oh well, win or lose, you're nice.

Heart of Rachel said...

Hi Annamanila. I love this post. Another great one from your creative juices.

I wish I could be one of those truly nice people who are nice irregardless of the time of day, situation ... and let me add weather and climate. I just had to add those two 'coz I've been a little grouchy lately. I just don't like the sudden changes in the climate & weather. Sunny then rainy ... hot, humid then cold (artificial - a/c). It drives me crazy! haha!

Annamanila said...


You threw all our last games. How nicer can any one be?! Play you again soon!

Annamanila said...

I meant 'how much nicer can any one be.' :)

Annamanila said...


You? My gut feel tells me you're among the nicest around blogsville! But still subject to weather and other factors you can be not so nice. :) I bet you'll get where we both want to be sooner than me.

Annamanila said...

Hi all!

Lest you think that I am faking it when you meet me face to face and I smile and gladhand you ... it's not that way.

When I say fake it-fake it, I meant fake being naturally nice, to everyone and anyone nice, regardless of time of day, rain or shine, status of my wallet, relationship with my boss, chaos in the household.

Do you know the expression "walang masamang tinapay para sa kanya?" That's what I aspire to be.

Am I making sense. Perhaps later I will have the words for it.

I meantime, bear with me .. I am still trying to figure out pieces of this jigsaw puzzle. And enjoying it too. I just wanna share with you the adventure of putting these pieces together. :)

Hope I dont confuse u some more.

Marty said...

Nice is such a silly word. Having spent 35 years trying to explain it to French students, I should know. Anyway you are a great caring person, whether you are nice are not doesn't really matter. Seems like you no longer have time for scrabble. :(

auee said...

Yes annamanila, I am feeling better & energised. I can stay up late now & not be a vegetable the following day @work. True, I take things slow, I don't force myself to "go go" every time I'm bogged down. I'm taking little precautions na din.


karen said...

this is a really NICE post! =) i really liked it. who is naturally nice anyway? i think everyone just tries to act nice at first until it becomes second nature to them... i am still a work in progress though... i can't even effectively try to act nice... i have really bad social skills =)
will keep on trying though =)

Mixednuts said...

Hi annamanila, I know someone who is really nice even with 7 children I never see her grumpy. She takes things in stride.

I agree we should try to be nice, always.

Annamanila said...


Yes, nice is such a vague word. Actually, in this piece, I interchange niceness with goodness.

These days, as I told you, Iusually play by appointment only -- hahaha.

Annamanila said...


So happy you're gettingout of it slowly That's the way to go ... feel yourself ... see how much you can take, avoid the things that stress you.

Was down too ... still a bit down i guess ... but not in a worrysome way.

All best my precious!

Annamanila said...


Yes, the main thing is to just keep trying.

Naturally nice people? I know of a few. Maybe they're angels in human disguides? hahaha

Annamanila said...

i meant angels in human DISGUISE.

Annamanila said...

Mixed nuts!

See? I told Karen there are people by nature nice and good. They are benchmarks to which I aspire.

Thanks for sharing. I like nuts and they can be very good and very nice too .. and i just don't mean the nuts that are cracked. :)

lazarus said...

when you're nice, (i mean really really nice), it's very difificult to wear the toughie mask. but i think it is in the character, not even the smile we put in our faces.

Annamanila said...


How right you are. For me, the eyes say it all.

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