Being nice to rude people

During our routine post-lunch chit-chat, my friend made a gem of a statement - “It is easy being nice to nice people, but how can you be nice to rude people?”

I had been thinking about it for some days now and I was shocked when she made that statement. It was as if she was reading my mind. Many people would term it as a co-incidence, but I believe that incidents happen for a reason. This was no co-incidence. This was His way of sending a message across. But, I digress.

So, as soon as she said it, the words struck me. Few of my acquaintances are extremely sweet to me- always ready to help in any way they can, and I too reciprocate. I try to be nice to them as much as I can and all is well.

For the past few days, I am trying to be nice to people, and no where near being successful. I try to think before uttering a word so as not to offend anyone. But, whenever I encounter rude people, caution goes flying out of the window. Their act might be intentional or unintentional, but the point is they are rude. I find myself reciprocating in this case too. I use harsh words, sarcastic tone and I get a warm, fuzzy feeling for settling scores with them.

I know a few people who are nice to everybody. Even if someone is rude to them, they smile and act as if nothing happened - not a glimpse of anger, no teeth-grinding. I wonder how they can be nice to people who are mean to them?

Harsh words don’t upset them? Or they do get upset, but are capable of hiding it so well? Do they smile and bear with it only to bitch later and vent their anger? Do they feel superior to the other set and prove their superiority by forgiving? Do they feel sorry for the lesser mortals and hope they rise above the sins? Or is the secret word empathy here?

I will go on asking questions, but will never get a definitive answer. In effect, we come back to the statement we started with: “It is easy being nice to nice people, but how can you be nice to rude people?”

Your thoughts?