Many years ago, I had a colleague and also a good friend who was well known for her kindness. She was very generous, friendly, compassionate, and cheerful. It was all the reasons why I was so comfort to be close to her.
And then someday, we had a big problem at work. She did a terrible mistake that could jeopardize her career. I had no heart to let her down, not after all the hard works she had put into. Not to mention that my team’s mistake was my mistake too. So there I took the bullet. I was very sure that I would be able to handle it way better than her. She would be devastated if she had to pay for her mistakes herself, she wouldn’t be able to cope with it.
I was right that I would be just fine. It was hurtful to me too, but I was fine. But then just a little while after that, somebody came to my desk and brought up that old issue to me and my colleague I protected. As usual, my colleague became pale everytime somebody questioned that one problem she created. I could see a strong fear on her face. So there I fought for her, again, until that other person gave up and walked away.
After that other person left the room, this girl I was fighting for surprisingly told me this, “If I were him (that other person who just left the room), I would also do the same.” She said it as if it was my fault to stand up for her! What was even worse, she started to try so hard to make friends with the people who attacked me for her mistakes. Maybe, she was just trying to be nice like she always did, but really? Didn’t she realize what she did only made me look like I was the bad guy?
As she left me to take care of the mess she made all by myself, I finally realized this girl might be kind, but she was not loyal to anyone. She always wanted to play safe, she would never take anyone’s side no matter how much she owed them, and now if I think about it again, her kindness was actually a shield to protect her interest. She tried so hard to be likeable so that she would always be protected.
Learning from my past experience with this one former friend, I started to be able to recognize similar traits on the people around me.
In the beginning, they look like a pure angel. They are kind, always help others, always see the very best of everyone, and they barely speak anything ugly about anyone else. They always try to look for the bright side of everything and sometimes, it can make us feel like they take side of the strangers rather than our side. With that being said, their kindness will make us choose to ignore that feeling thinking that maybe, they only try to help us to see everything positively.
They look perfect, until this life starts to get rough and they start to reveal their true colors.
This kind of person will never fight back. Never ever hope they will try to protect you because they won’t ever risk themselves for someone else. Instead, they will hide behind someone else’s back looking for protection. And then they will just stay quiet and watch the battle from their safe place until it ends.
They are kind, but not kind enough to stand up for us. Not helpful enough to support us when we need it most. It’s all merely because they refuse to fight their very own fear. They know they can help, but they prefer to stand still or even to run away. And they do not hesitate to make friends with enemies just to protect themselves. They do not hesitate to leave us bleed alone in the battlefield either.
It takes times to learn someone else’s true color. I might sound cynical, but it’s now hard for me to trust someone who seems too kind to be true. Someone who is averagely kind is often better than someone who seems overly kind. I’d rather be careful with the people who try too hard to please me in our first met. Maybe, they only need to use me as their shield. A shield they will leave behind anytime I’m no longer favorable to them.
Being kind is not about giving out some delicious snacks for everyone, telling good jokes to make people laugh, nor about asking how someone else’s weekend was going; it’s about doing the right things even when it’s no longer easy to do it right. And a good person will definitely take sides and give a full support anytime it’s necessary. A real good person doesn’t run and hide to play safe, let alone betraying the one who takes the hit for them.
I’ve come to learn that a real angel doesn’t always look like an angel. They might not always put a pretty smile on their faces, they don’t always try to please everyone they meet, and they don’t always do the sweet talk and baby nearly everyone they know. As always being said, don’t judge a book by its cover, you’ll never know how your judgment could do you wrong.