More honey, less vinegar... why so mean?


Could it be that there are people that either don't know or don't get the old adage: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?

Earlier in the week, @CarolynEdgar, @Luvvie and @Afrobella and I were reflecting on our time at the BWB conference. It was definitely 97% positive and 3% negative. The negative feel into two categories - folks that acted some kinda way until they knew your twitter name (and then twisted themselves into pretzel shapes to be friendly) and the rare few "popular" bloggers who believe their own press and wanted you to kiss the ring.

What confused us more than anything is - why not just be nice to everybody? Regardless of who they are? This segued into a lot of other discussion one of those being about folks on The Twitter and The Facebook who can't seem to find anything nice to say about anybody of anything.

You know the ones... you say, "It's a beautiful sunny day today" and they say "Thanks to the ozone layer, we're on day closer to extinction on this planet." Wow. Really? Okay, thanks for sharing that. I'm not just talking about the glass half-empty folks. I have my half-empty days. I'm talking about the people whose glass has been empty, cracked and on the shelf for a while. My goodness, someone please get them a cup of happy?

Last weekend, I was on a flight back from Philly. My upgrade came through and I was seated next to the most sourpuss old Caucasian man. [Plus he had a flatulence problem but that's another post.] He said down and I said hello. He ignored me. He took out his phone and made loud important phone calls until takeoff. After takeoff, the flight attendant came over and started chatting with me. We got into a discussion about spa vacations and then she wandered off. He looked at me, "What do you do for a living?" Really? I told him HR and I was a writer. All of a sudden, he had nothing but smiles and two straight hours of chitty-chat. Is that how it works? I have to be validated as something or the other before you can break off some common courtesy? Boo, sir. Boo. 

There's an HR rep I work with who started out just nasty. I mean the woman talked to me like I was cow dung on the bottom of her shoe. The meaner she got, the nicer I got. I overcommunicated, kept my tone moderate and honey-coated every word in every email and meeting until other people noticed. "Michele is so sweet and you're being so unprofessional." Finally one day she said, "Okay, I guess I don't scare you." And that was that. Ever since then, she's been one of my staunchest allies. A test? Was all that necessary?

I'm from the South. And I'm bougie as as hell. My Mom's folks are originally from Georgia and my Dad's peep are West Indian. I'm genetically predisposed to be pleasant even if it kills me. I may secretly damn you to darkest, hottest circle of hell but all I will say is, "Well thank you so much for your input. You have a great day."  It doesn't kill me to say it and we can get on to the next.

So I'm asking, BougieLand... Have you encounterd the "salty for no darn good reason" folks? How do you deal with them? Why are some folks just mean? And how hard is it to just be nice? Please explain...