Before anyone asks, this isn't a personal affront to anyone or any particular time in my life. Just something I've noticed lately.
Now that that's out of the way, to the task at hand. I have a question about life, and in particular, interpersonal relationships. When did we get so bad at interpersonal relationships? I'm not talking about being nice to people. I'm talking about accepting and trusting in someone who is being nice to you. I know, that's a weird question. It seems as if lately, people have stopped accepting kindness, but what happened?
I'm going to go somewhere that may offend people, but I'm allowed to say whatever I want on my blog until you pay my Internet bill. I think the rejection of kindness started with the Feminist movement. I truly believe that Feminism basically shut down the idea of a male being genuinely nice to a female. There was a belief among Feminists that when a male showed any kind of kindness, there were ulterior motives, imagined or otherwise. It's unfair that a certain sect of people can dictate how other people are perceived.
Another reason is that there are jerks out there that are untrustworthy. We think of the Bill Cosbys, Darren Sharpers, and other men who have used substances to take advantage of women. It's come to a point where no one trusts a nice person anymore. There's a feeling that someone wants something else. It's kind of bothersome.
I think the evolution of the family has a lot to do with things. Stay with me on this one. Way back when, the father stayed with the family. There wasn't nearly as much divorce or even cohabitation as there is now. Families are doing things backwards: having kids, moving in, then maybe marriage at the end. Anyway, when a father was in the home, they taught their sons and daughters to ask about intentions. Fathers would sit down with their daughters' dates, after they knocked on the door and were let in the home, and asked, "What are your intentions with my daughter? I want her back by 9:30, 10:00." That doesn't happen anymore. When you don't know someone's intentions, you really have no clue what to expect. The result is being taken advantage of to the point where you don't trust.
Also, the stigma of being alone isn't helping. This generation cries about being single so much. Being single doesn't make you a bad person. However, because being single is such a terrible vice nowadays, people aren't diligently researching potential partners. When potential partner hurts them, they lose trust. When someone comes along that is trustworthy and kind, they again dismiss them because of all the other times they were hurt.
Ego is a huge factor as well. What happened to humility? People are so egotistical that when someone just says hello, opens a door, or is just genuinely kind to them, it's automatically chalked up to that person wanting more than is being presented. I'll put it this way: you could be the most gorgeously baked, crispy peach cobbler with the most decadent of whipped cream. There are still people that don't like peaches. You have to stop assuming that your attractiveness is a factor in why people do things for you. Maybe for some, but not all. Take it on a case by case basis. Makes life easier.
My point in all this is that we as human beings have to stop shutting down the notion that people are nice for the sake of being nice. People have to stop judging people based on other people when it comes to kindness. If someone is being nice, it doesn't mean they want to take advantage of you. I think we have to stop thinking that we're so amazing that everyone who wants to be respectful to us is being phony. We also have to do a better job of teaching people how to understand intentions. We also have to do a better job of being trustworthy. We have to stop giving people reasons not to trust us.
Kindness doesn't have to be the means to something else, it can actually be the end.