Playing Nice

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We’ve all found ourselves at conflict, or yeah, even competition, with one another. We see it in our children. We feel it toward our own family and friends at times.

This post from Food Network personality, Melissa d’Arabian, was so jam packed with wisdom for life, I had to share a snippet. Whether you’re a corporate executive, a room mother, or the next food network star, these are great lessons to learn in treating others — and ourselves — with dignity. Melissa had these words:

Perhaps even more important: playing well with others just feels better. I’ve certainly had my share of cranky moments in life — we’re all human — and I can tell you unequivocally that I have more fun being decent and considerate than steamrolling my way through life, leaving behind a wake of bad feelings for others to absorb. Ask anyone who volunteers their time to a worthy cause; giving is very empowering and uplifting. In my experience, when I am empowered, I play my best game.

It’s easy to forget all of this when you are in a competition. I get it. But don’t confuse the joy of you winning with celebrating others losing. Others losing is the cost of you winning; it is not part of the prize.

While I don’t participate in many competitions or contests, I know that feeling of wanting to have my voice heard in a situation, of wanting to be acknowledged or accommodated, of wanting to be right. And I also know how it feels when someone barks at me, insists on their way, and otherwise, tries to take advantage of a situation.

Playing nice is most definitely the way to go. It’s what I want my children to learn, and it’s what I want to live.

Do YOU make extra efforts to play nice?

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  1. I absolutely make the extra effort to be nice. Sometimes to much but I am the peace maker in my family and if I wasn’t I would be in a constant fight with my sister (who I have to throw in NEVER apologizes for anything). Sometimes it is frustrating sure but I would rather have peace and harmony over turmoil any day so if that means saying sorry when I am not so be it.

    I also take that same attitude with me in my job and honestly it has work wonders with my career and my life as a working mom. My bosses know I am willing to make the extra effort so they then always make the extra effort with me when I need flexibility with my family.

  2. True, but perhaps showing only part of the picture. What about times where there is a huge disconnect between two people? A strong disagreement?

    I think honesty is the best answer, but not only honesty. Honesty mixed with a good dose of Allophilia. If you don’t know that word, look it up. It is exactly what we need in times when we clash with another person.

    What do you think?

  3. I do. And when I sense that others aren’t behaving fairly or “being nice” I generally choose to avoid them.

    I actually left a mommy site after I was censored. I had no problem that her position was different then mine. My problem was that she censored an opinion different than hers.

  4. It is important to be nice (and polite), I think it’s one of the cornerstones of our society. I agree with Tammy that my ability to play nice has helped tremendously with y career. However we do need to make sure that our ‘niceness’ doesn’t put us in bad situations. There are times we ignore our gut instincts about our safety (either emotional or physical)because we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. However when it comes to our own personal safety or that of our children we need to put aside some of that niceness.

    Thanks for sharing the post, that was very nice of you 🙂

    1. @Liz, absolutely. I don’t think “nice” means being a doormat. But, rather, taking the higher road in terms of respect and common decency. I guess I wasn’t very clear. Sorry.

      1. @Jessica Fisher,

        I didn’t think you were implying we should be door mats at all, sorry if that’s how I had written it. There was an article recently that I had read that spoke about how much more vulnerable women are because they don’t want to be ‘rude’. I’ve seen this myself in my own life whether it’s not wanting to cross the street when you see someone who makes you uncomfortable, a friend or relative who continually takes advantage of you because you don’t want hurt their feelings or young kids going up to a van to help out a stranger. My daughter (who is really nice all the time) and I have had multiple talks about when it’s ok to not be nicea and to be more aware of her own safety versus the other person’s feelings. I worry about her as she is on her own more frequently (she’s 14).

  5. I don’t think you were implying being a doormat at all. I think it is good for every mom to serve on some kind of committee or leadership team. I also think it’s good (and I realize not everyone has good administrative skills) for every mom to be in charge of something that requires you to work with others. Five to six years ago I could be very strong willed on committees and do way more talking and listening. After a conflict with a friend (and I don’t think our friendship has been the same since) my heart was humbled. Although I was not totally at fault, I realized I needed to listen more than speak as well as show grace when one makes a mistake. Our kids learn “cooperation” on Sesame Street and we need to carry it into adulthood.

  6. Jessica, what a great post. Thanks for pointing me towards the food network blog (the original post is excellent and worth reading in full, even if you don’t watch the show).

    I think “playing well with others” is such an important life skill that everyone should be able to put on their resumes, whether it’s for a corporate job or a homemaking career.

    I’m trying to show my kids (and not just tell, per Melissa D’Arabian’s advice) that there are more important things than being right and having your own way.

  7. I’m such a competitive person. I thrive on it. But I’ve enjoyed realizing that most things in life are a team effort. And sometimes its best to step back and encourage others ideas and creativity rather than insisting on being the leader. Taking charge when there is a need is great, but watching others grow can often be even more rewarding. LOVE this post!