Nothing kinky here...
With the holidays approaching I find myself balancing the double-edged sword that the holidays bring.
I love gift giving. I enjoy the challenge of finding gifts that the receiver will truly enjoy within budgetary constraints. I believe that giving a good gift is a sign that you can truly understand someone... what makes them tick... and why they like the things that they do.
The major downside I tend to find with holidays is dealing with family. I am not close to my family. I despise the "game" of it all. Seeing people that pretend to be nice knowing full well how they actually feel will differ from what they display.
I've been accused over the years of not being "nice," which I can agree with completely... but rarely are people able to say that I am not "good." I'm the friend that will drop anything when a friend is in need. I will be there through thick and thin, good and bad, and able to step up and be strong when they need me. Growing up in the midwest... which is the hotbed of passive-aggressive behavior has always been rough on me. I don't pretend to be nice. I don't give false compliments. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. This catches many people off-guard, and it isn't long before very few people see me as "nice."
On the flip-side, I don't pretend to be nice to people I don't like. If they ask me why I will give an honest answer. I don't go on and on with empty praise, only to tear them down behind their back as soon as they leave the room. This sort of behavior is one of the easiest ways for me to lose respect for someone because it leads me to believe that I can't trust their words at face value... and I also know that if they are talking shit about someone to me, they are talking shit about me to someone else.
In some ways I tend to straddle the two coasts. I'm east coast enough to be straight forward. I'm west coast enough to only care when it's something important. In either case, I will take "good" over "nice" any day of the week.
It is during the holidays that I get most acutely aware of this game. In my day to day life I tend to avoid it as much as possible but knowing that this sort of interaction is inevitable tends to sour my mood even before it happens.