Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Hate My Nice

by Judith Evans Thomas

No, I didn't mean Niece or any other N word. I meant Nice. I hate my Niceness, my civility, my willingness to please, my adaptablility. I am NICE.

Case in point. Last year at the Pennwriter's Conference I met an agent who wanted to represent me. He promised fame, fortune and contracts galore if only...... I would also hire him as an attorney to trademark the project name. Large bells should have started ringing in my ears. I have attorneys I work with all the time. Heck, we even have our own Pgh Sister who is an attorney. But I didn't want to upset the balance so I signed on. My gut told me he was too good to be true. I didn't really "get" what he was going to be selling. But, I went along, sent him the moola, did the web page, produced video and waited for the big sell. Nothing. I was too nice. I didn't push him to tell me who he had been talking to about our project. I suggested but didn't insist that we meet in New York where he supposedly has an office. I didn't barrage him with emails insisting on anything. At this point Nice became Stupid.

I almost didn't go to this year's Pennwriter's Conference because I was embarrassed. My Big Agent who bragged to everyone at last year's conference about what he would do for me, had done nothing and I felt badly. I was being Nice.

Well, thank heavens I went. The Sisters in Crime who had heard all his promises were eager for my results. Did I have a television show yet? When was a book coming out? I fessed up. Nothing was happening or was going to happen. He was a dud and I had been too nice.

But instead of laughing, the Sisters got mad and by the time I left the Conference I no longer felt nice. I felt like the businesswoman I should have been all along.

My certified letter firing Evan Fogelman is going in the mail tomorrow. And it feels NICE!!!!!!

Tell me your "too nice" stories.


Tory said...

Congrats on moving on, Judith!

I've been too nice many times in my life (though people who see me now don't always believe it.) The time that springs to mind was when, for a painful year, I had an absurdly paranoid housemate who would constantly rake me over the coals about things she convinced herself I was doing to hurt her. Case in point: another woman stole her boyfriend and I obviously had it all planned out when I invited that woman to our party.

In hindsight, I do think she would have been a lot happier if, from the beginning, I pointed out how badly she was treating me, how nothing I could do was right, and how I'd gotten to the point I didn't even want to talk to her because I didn't know how she'd twist my words into some evil intent.

Boy, did life improve after I asked her to leave!

Joyce said...

Good for you, Judith!

I have a tendency to be too nice, also. My problem is that I hate conflict and will go out of my way not to have to confront anyone about anything. I'll smile and nod my head when what I really want to do is punch the person in the face! Probably not healthy, but it saves wear and tear on my knuckles. Not to mention assault charges.

Gina said...

I used to be much nicer than I am now. In the 1970s, my ex-husband Terry and I shared a house with my best friend Theresa, who brought in her lover Tom, an older guy (she was in her early 20s, he was 42) who was separated from his wife and alcoholic. Theresa took a job out of state and Tom went with her until she finally got the sense to throw him out. He came back to my house, where he spent all his time drinking scotch and following me from room to room, weeping. Terry worked nights, and Tom wouldn't stop following me and sobbing, so I would go to my office at Pitt and sleep on the floor to get away from him. That's way too nice.