To be honest, I’m just writing this post so I can figure out my reasoning.
I think that being nice can be a waste. Sure it prevents conflict, but it also results in shallow compliments and empty words. When you’re being nice you probably don’t care about the other person’s feelings in the long run, you just care about maintaining your image as a nice person.
I believe that being kind is a good replacement for being nice. When you’re being kind, you’re saying and doing things with someone’s best interests at heart. You’re making sure they know important things that will sting now but will help them to improve their lives. By being kind you filter your words as to avoid offence without changing your message altogether.
I’m currently trying to end a friendship with an ISFJ who has decided he likes me. Why does he like me? I have no idea. I’m a mean INTJ who only actually likes spending time with about five people. In the process of getting to know this ISFJ, I have discovered that we are incompatible. He’s nice and means well, but I don’t see any future with him. The nice thing to do would be to continue talking to him and eventually drift away, but that’s just inefficient. If there is no reason to continue pursuing a relationship, why not just end it immediately?
I know that this point of view is controversial. My ESFJ mother has argued that it’s better to just let him be nice to me and let the relationship end slowly without hurting his feelings. I argue that I’d rather be remembered as a mean person than as a ‘what if’. With a ‘what if’, he could regret not talking to me more. He could develop a creepier fetish than the one he already has about me. He could be so filled with regret that he tries to talk to me again, so I can either a) pretend to be nice again, or b) hurt him by saying I never want to talk to him again.
I understand that this is harsh, but neither of us is benefiting from our relationship. To continue talking to him is a waste of our time. It’s a waste of time for me because I’m aware that the friendship won’t go any further, and it’s a waste of time for him because he will continue investing time and feelings into something that isn’t going to work out.
I believe that there are benefits to interacting with people who are different from me. I believe that it’s important to get alternative perspectives on my opinions. But these benefits usually come when both people are at least semi-mature before the relationship begins, and I don’t think we’re at that point yet.
I think that when you leave someone with a ‘what if’ you could be preventing them from moving on. They might still think they have a chance if they were only a little better, and that’s not healthy. If they continue to invest feelings in your relationship they could fail to see that while they aren’t compatible with you, they are compatible with someone else. If you cut them off firmly and directly, it will hurt for a while, but they will almost always move on without that ‘what if’.
I could be wrong about all of this. Perhaps niceness is important. Perhaps it is inseparable from kindness. Please let me know your opinions in the comments.