I have this one friend who has the ability to describe anything in great detail at the drop of a hat. For years we have either leaved apart and/or had different circles of friends, so she has always relied on description to keep me up to date about people in her life. “I think you’d really like them! Their personality reminds me of Rory Gilmore, during the third season, save the seventh episode. She is genuinely funny, both in a subtle way and a way that will have your abs feeling it for days. Her voice is slightly raspy, but when she sings a cappella her throat is lined with honey, except for when she sings classic children’s songs, then she returns to her raspy roots. She can seamlessly hold a conversation with anyone and is quick-witted. She likes reading historically based novels while traveling out of the country, where she spends time with locals. It’s how she became proficient and self-taught in six languages.” And that would just be the tip of what she’s be able to whip up about a casual acquaintance. She’d probably follow up with, “You may have seen her in a picture I posted on July 14th four years ago. She was the one who is 5’4.25” with hair the color of an overgrown hay field. The song ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ may as well have been written about her, except the picture was from nighttime and at night her eyes have a sparkle of Santa Claus as he winks right before he goes up the chimney. Her skin is blemish free, except for a quarter inch scar on her chin that was from a skiing accident in Switzerland during her winter break of her junior year of college. Her arms swing slightly more than the average person’s when she’s walking, and she stands with her hands in her pockets, thumbs exposed. She always has her nails painted, typically a shade within the coral family.”
It took me way longer than I’d like to admit to create that description of no one, where as my friend would have just had it all flow effortlessly, as if she’s described the person a thousand times. And then there’s me…
“Oh, my husband? Yeah, he can be funny, I guess. What does he look like? Um, he has a face? Like, he mostly resembles a human. His hair is brown. I think. Nah, he’s not tall. But he’s not short either. He likes doing things. Like, things that he enjoys. Like what? Umm, well, fun things. His eyes? Oh, they are definitely brown. Wait, no, blue. Or, er, I’m actually not sure.”
I think that regardless of how great or truly pitiful someone is at summing someone else up, there’s a universal understanding when all you can muster up to describe someone is “They’re nice”. You know the type of person I’m talking about. It’s that person that you don’t dislike anything about. They are perfectly fine to be around, conversations aren’t forced, and they seem like a good person. Even so, you know that you’ll never be best friends with them or seek out their company outside of a group setting. You feel badly for not liking them more, since there’s nothing about them that’s unlikeable. It’s just that “they’re nice”. And when someone tells you about a “nice” person, you are left sitting there with that a wrinkled forehead and a slight grimace with widened eyes because you know you won’t be getting any more information. You realize that there isn’t anything remarkable about the person to extract or to be shared. And somehow you instantly don’t have any desire to meet the person. But why? Nothing negative was said about them. Heck, you were just told that they were nice. Turns out nice isn’t everything. Sometimes nice is just that. And sometimes nice isn’t enough of a personality trait. The wonderful thing about life is that someone else is bound to find that nice person interesting and I’m sure they have meaningful relationships. It’s okay to think someone is nice while also not wanting to get best friend heart necklaces. I have finally accepted the whole quality over quantity thing, and while I am responsible for being kind to everyone, I am not responsible for being friends with everyone.