Dr. Cate Milton: Whereas you, on the other hand, have a perfect score. You are nice. responsible, human. And yet, you’re House’s best friend.
Dr. James Wilson: Hold there. Makes you think he’s secretly nicer than he seems?
Dr. Cate Milton: Makes me think you’re secretly a lot less nice than you seem.
Dr. James Wilson: You always insult your doctor?
Dr. Cate Milton: It’s not an insult. Indiscriminate niceness is overrated.
Dr. James Wilson: No wonder he likes you.
House M.D, Season 4 : Frozen
I used to be careful. Very careful. You never know when you’ll need the good will of a person.
I used to be very easy going. I wasn’t an easy person to wind up, an easy person to alienate, an easy person to make angry.
I’ve suppressed my emotional reaction to people. I’ve been restrained and polite, as far as it was in my power.
I never believed it right to hate a person. I never believed it right to dislike a person. It was always just a matter of understanding them.
Things change. One particular example illustrated how much.
Being forced to deal with inane and obstructionist people irritates me. Dealing with people who contribute nothing but take all they can raises the bile in my throat. Talking with people who have nothing to say, but are compelled to say it makes me clench my fists in rage.
In the perfect world, where I live to my Ideals, I would take a deep breath and let it go. I would accept that these things reflect on them, and not on me. That all I control is my own reaction. And that my reaction should be dignified.
Now no more. When the inane leave chinks in their armour, I feel no shame in striking with a rapier tongue. Where the ignorant are proud of their errors, I feel little regret in swinging in to correct it. Why should I suffer patiently? What use is my suffering?
The only balancing exercise I now engage in, is whether doing it will make me an asshole. Sometimes it does, and I back off. Sometimes, it’s kicking someone when they’re down, and I back off. Sometimes a good person is having a bad moment, and I’m honoured to help.
But it’s no longer the general rule. Sometimes people deserve it.
And to do otherwise is boring. It’s bland. It’s unnecessary. Indiscriminate niceness is overrated.