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Phoney “Nice” People

I HATE phoney people… but even more, I hate when phoney people are phoney nice.  Yesterday afternoon I ran into a woman (let’s call her Kitty), whom I dislike greatly.  My dislike for Kitty is warranted (story to follow), and Kitty is not well liked by most other people I talk to.  I also happen to know that Kitty doesn’t like me.  Surprise, Surprise (wait for the story…)

Yesterday afternoon I was going on an elevator expedition through the hospital with A. while we waited for his and E.’s prescriptions to be ready.  I saw Kitty.  She saw me.  I acknowledged her presence, like I always do.   Instead of pretending like she didn’t see me, however, she smiled at me and said, “Oh, is that your little guy?  What a cutie!  He’s getting so big!”

Woah, Woah… Hold onto your panties, Kitty!

The last time we had any meaningful interaction, you threw an envelope in my face (um, yes, she is in fact, and adult).  Also, you’ve never seen A. before… don’t act like you know anything about me and my kids.

I smiled and responded professionally and appropriately to Kitty, and I was happy the interaction was short.  But then we ran into her again, at the bottom of the elevator (she had taken the stairs).  And, she was walking in the same direction as us… So we started chatting and she was talking to me like I was her best friend!  She was congratulating me on my awesome research from the summer, talking more about how cute A. is, asking how the baby is doing, commenting on how busy I must be and how she’s so happy to see that I’m making it all work… blah blah… Then she asks, ” are you applying [to our residency program]?”  I gaver he a blank look, seeing as how I’m not applying for residency for another year.  She looked surprised: “you’re still applying, aren’t you???”

Um, yes, Kitty, I am still applying… but only because you will be long gone!

More importantly… why do you give two flying figs about whether or not I’m applying to residency here?  You hate me and I’m sure you’d love to sabotage me… AHH! Yes! Sabotage! What better way to sabotage me than when I’m applying to residency???

Kitty falls into the lowest possible category of phoney nice people: “Genuinely evil with a weapon of kindness.”  These people are grumpy and hateful and they hate to see people succeed.  They need to have control and remind you where they belong in relation to you, which is often above you.  When you look them in the eye, there is nothing genuine there… Instead, you can see little gears turing behind their eyes: Calculating, cataloguing, planning their next strategic step to BRING. YOU. DOWN.

There are other categories of phoney nice people that aren’t so bad and can generally be tolerated.  The tame, “ulterior motivator,” who does nice things with the expectation that you will owe them something… usually at the most inconvenient time.  Most often, these people don’t give you the time of day, unless they want something from you.  Then you think, “what does this person want now???”  The good thing about the ulterior motivator is that they aren’t really that mean or unfriendly in general.

Then there is the “step on you to step ahead” phoney nice person.  These people know who they need to impress to get what they want in life.  They are usually despised by most people, but they are well liked by the people who matter.  They will be nice to you when they need your assistance to get something, or when they know that you are in a position of influence.  If you are none of these, this type of phoney nice person will just be mean and unfriendly to you; they may even go as far as to remind you of just how good they are in relation to you… making you dislike them even more.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, once they are done getting what they need from you, they punt you back into the “insignificant person” pile.  That med student who was shadowing my mentor a few weeks ago, she falls into this category…

I think I dislike phoney nice people so much because I like to think I’m a genuinely nice person.  I am also a very sensitive person and I don’t cope well when someone “pulls one over on me.”  And, if I do something nice for someone and it seems like I may have an ulterior motive, and often feel very guilty and ruminate about how horrible of a person that makes me…  Anyway, I could go on forever… I digress!

[The first few weeks into my first year in med school, I was assigned to shadow a resident in O&G for an afternoon.  I was really excited to potentially see a delivery or a c-section, or anything really.  The resident, Kitty, was initially very friendly and she invited me into the resident library to chat, since there wasn’t anything interesting going on.  During that chat she asked me why I was interested in O&G; I gave her a few of my reasons, one being that I absolutely loved my own obstetrician, KM.  The mood in the room changed instantly and Kitty started telling me about how horrible of a person KM is, how no one likes her, how she doesn’t care about teaching, how she fools her patients into believing she’s a good person… and on and on for 45 minutes.  As you can imagine, I was so upset.  I loved KM, I wanted her to be my mentor… and this resident was talking her down so badly.  Not to mention, she was also being very unprofessional: blatantly insulting an attending physician in front of a medical student.   Anyway, I talked to the shadowing coordinator at the med school about this in an attempt to debrief.  I eventually heard that other students were having problems shadowing in O&G and the program got banned from shadowing for a short time as a result.  I heard a little later that my “complaint” made it through the grapevine to the head of O&G, and he eventually had  a talking to with Kitty.  I didn’t see this resident for quite a while after this incident, but the next time I did see her, she made it very clear that she didn’t like me.  And the envelope in my face… well that was at a National O&G conference. 

Over the next few years, I came to learn that this resident is not well liked by all the other residents in the program, and she’s made some bad blood with many of the attending physicians.  After attending the National conference I mentioned above, I was approached by another resident (whom I love) because she wanted me to write a formal complaint against Kitty.  Apparently, the residency program was looking to put her on academic probation for reasons of professionalism, and they just needed more written documentation to do so.  Who knows, maybe that’s why she is, all of the sudden, so nice to me.  That, and the fact that I am quite well liked by all the other residents who know me, as well as many of the attending physicians and the department head.  If you cant beat ’em, join ’em, right?]

19 thoughts on “Phoney “Nice” People

  1. I hate phoney people too. Or I should say I simply don’t trust them at all. There’s always some hidden agenda for them and it doesn’t bode well for me in the end. I collect face masks from all over the world, everywhere I’ve lived I’ve managed to find some unique looking mask to add to my collection. I think I have about 250 now and they hang on a wall in a room I don’t go into. I started collecting them over 30 years ago because I thought they represented people. Everyone wears a mask, like some in my collection, some are ugly, some beautiful, some dull, and some over sized and some tiny ones…like people!

    Kitty sounds more Catty than kitty. lol!!! Gotta watch your step around that one.

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    1. I think I went through a phase where I liked masks, too. For the same reasons, I think.

      I am certainly doing my best to stay away from Kitty and watch what I do or say when she’s around…

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  2. I don’t like phony people either. With the exception of in the work place, where I feel people should be at least polite to one another, I’d prefer if people would act how they feel. Not that you have to be a horrible bitch or anything, but just be distant. I hate it when people are two-faced.

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    1. I couldn’t agree more! There is no rule that says you have to like everyone and get along with everyone. However, it is just common sense (I think) that you put differences aside and work appropriately with the people whom you need to work with! No one said you have to go for coffee or lunch with people you don’t like, but when you’re working, be nice, be polite, and be respectful.

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    1. Exactly! I liked it better when she made it clear that she doesn’t like me. I can deal with that… Now I just don’t know. My best bet is to just be nice all the time, that way I don’t get caught as the villain!

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    1. You’re welcome!
      I think most people pretend not to notice these people because it is the “professional” thing to do… get along with everyone. When I see these other people pretending to be fooled, it irritates me to no end! Eventually the truth always comes out!

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  3. I don’t like Kitty. She and KM might have had an out or she just decided she didn’t like KM without knowing anything about her. To go on for 45 minutes about her to someone who likes and respects KM is weird. I think if you don’t like an Attending and that Attending is mentioned, you should just smile and go about your business. I know people like to talk about others, but that’s really crossing a line and possibly harming your career at least at that hospital. Not to mention dishing all her negative opinions to you, someone who knows KM, when Kitty herself doesn’t know you. Kitty definitely lacks smarts.

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    1. I agree… Kitty is not the smartest cat in the litter… I’m also glad that you don’t like Kitty. Anyone who doesn’t like Kitty is even more of my friend!

      As for KM, she is a tough love kind of person… but almost everyone I know absolutely adores her! That being said, O&G is high stress environment: emotions can run high and things can go wrong… fast. It’s no surprise that KM and Kitty would have had a run in. KM eventually found out about what happened between Kitty and me… she actually guessed that it was Kitty who was talking bad about her. She was even more angered at Kitty because of that and she admitted that she doesn’t care much for Kitty (this, of course, was in confidence). BUT, what makes KM so wonderful: She said that just because she doesn’t get along with someone, doesn’t mean she’s going to be rude or disrespectful, and it won’t stop her from doing her job – which is to work with Kitty and to teach her to be an O&G. BAM! How’s that for character???

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  4. Totally agree with you!And also the situation where you have to be all nice just for sake of formality when meeting people you don’t look forward to meet. The disadvantage of not being a phoney is the risk of being called anti-social.Sad story.It’s always great to see people who are genuine,breath of fresh air really.

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    1. Yes, I hate those situations so much! It does seem, though, that those genuine people are few and far between; and when you do find them, you are taken aback for a second because it is hard to believe they exist!

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