Such a blah word, “nice”: a simple, ignorable state of being; a disposition to take little note of; belongs in the category of elevator music.
Being nice to your spouse of partner? Who thinks about that with so many pressing demands to accomplish? Getting kids off to school, getting yourself off to work, assembling dinner (who makes dinner nowadays), and money matters flowing intermittently—soft, heaving, or turbulent as the financial weather of the household dictates.
Being nice seems necessary to summon on occasion, for example when company comes—at least when they enter your home—on parent-teacher night at the school; at the doctor’s office; sometimes, not always, at the supermarket checkout. In other words, with strangers or folks with whom you need to be nice to demonstrate that you are an agreeable person.
Why can’t we be this agreeable person to our loved ones? Agree but disagree agreeably. React not on a dime but a dollar, flat and steady, taking the time it takes to be, well, nice. A smile during this time interval helps that along. But take care the smile does not fashion itself into a sneer. The smile and sneer are brethren—a Cain and Abel brotherhood—and this does not help the neighborhood you want to establish. State your version of the truth at hand and stake your claim to it agreeably, as you might negotiate a deal. Demanding too much or too little can scuttle or skew your intentions.
Nice is difficult, if you are not from Kansas and it is not in your nature, and if you can’t pretend you are greeting company or in the doctor’s office or with your child’s teacher who is capable of making your child’s weekday environment miserable or munificent. But making the effort to be nice in an everyday way has rewards. Try it. You’ll be amazed.