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'Mr Nice Guy' persona could be cover for 'Mr. Manipulative'

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

'Mr Nice Guy' persona could be a cover for 'Mr. Manipulative'

On people who claim to be "too nice": There is nothing nice about never opening yourself up to possible disagreement while others around you do take that risk. If you think about it, it's a form of manipulation, control and superiority.

If you never speak your mind, then you get to retain an image of kindness when you might actually not be kind. Not that you aren't, necessarily, but a lot of people seem to confuse niceness with kindness. I know "nice" people who would never speak up to defend someone being mistreated in a group, for example.

I would ditch the "nice" label and instead think about what you are avoiding or hiding by not speaking your mind. Besides, speaking your mind isn't the opposite of nice. And avoiding conflict isn't about trying not to hurt other people, it's about trying not to have someone think negatively of you. You can have "conflict" without being a jerk.

Portland, Ore.

Parents not 'village people,' but kids still need discipline

On parents who resent having their children disciplined by others: Accepting correction from adults other than their parents is a very important skill that preschool children should be learning. Family time is a great opportunity for kids to learn that different rules apply to different households and situations, and when Uncle Jim says, "Johnny, stop kicking my chair," Johnny needs to respond to Uncle Jim's direction. Of course, if any adult is way out of line or cruel, a parent should step in. Otherwise, consider it a learning opportunity.

I am an elementary school counselor. When I see children entering kindergarten who have no experience listening to other adults, it makes for a very hard transition. Some parents keep the only-I-can-discipline-my-child approach through school, and in that case everyone (family, child, teacher, school) ends up losing. These parents might not be "village" types of parents, but unless they plan to keep their kids in the woods their whole lives, they need to introduce their children to civilization.

M.

Give-and-take of dating helps you learn what works

On distinguishing mountains from molehills: I recently e-mailed you during your chat about a moment of frustration in my relationship, and to see whether I overreacted.

I think I did overreact. I felt hurt and disrespected in that moment, but, when I look at my relationship, he treats me with love and respect.

So this really was just a moment of frustration. However, he acted in a way that he sometimes does when he's frustrated. I have seen it before, and this was just the first time with me.

So, we talked about it. We also talked about what to do if he had that same reaction again, which I am sure he will, although infrequently.

I guess that is the beauty of dating. You really do keep learning more and more about the other person, and what works and what doesn't work. Maybe the key is just how you adjust, and how you decide what is worth adjusting for.

Maryland

'Mr Nice Guy' persona could be cover for 'Mr. Manipulative' 12/26/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 2:24pm]

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