Even though I'd never have the arrogance to say it, I'm a nice person. Apart from that.
I'm currently writing my first solo comedy show for The Edinburgh Festival, an hour of stories and sketches about me being a nice person and how to know if you're doing the right thing. It's a tricky quandary, because, as a human person, you never know who you might upset, like making tea for a work colleague without realising they can't drink liquid or buying a pack of Duty Free cigarettes for your girlfriend's father without realising he has just given up and your gesture has unintentionally been interpreted as the first move in a very long and uncomfortable game of life chess.
Whatever the issue, just follow these four easy steps and you too can BE N.I.C.E.
If you want to. I won't insist.
When you're at the pub, don't join in controversial conversations about religion, politics, what two colours a dress are or Christmas films. If chat looks like it's going in any of these directions, it's best to say you have to go to the loo or buy another drink even if you've already got one. It's not nice to say "I like the one that has a god" or "Doesn't Vince Cable look like the thing from Five Children And It?" or "Home Alone 2's the best, why what do you-? Santa Clause 3? What the **** is wrong with you?! I'm going to punch you in the mouth, you **--" No, no. It's much better for people to think you have IBS or a drinking problem rather than opinions.
Nothing makes you comes across more nicely than sickening modesty. By saying "I'm just awful at this" whenever you're doing anything remotely successful will endear you to your fellow humans. Rock climbing, teaching, the Army, whatever it is, be out of your depth. Even if it's that moment when you've just bought Mayfair and Park Lane and everyone knows the dull inevitability of the next two hours, just say "Oh, is that good?" to really get people on side. Don't lose the game of course. That would be patronising. Unless your girlfriend's father is there. You'll win the game, but it won't feel like it.
Everyone loves an underdog, so don't steal his thunder. Apologising unnecessarily isn't annoying at all. Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry. See? Even if someone has knocked into you in the street without apologising, and you've instinctively said "sorry" because it's woven into your intrinsic social etiquette that in that situation someone should be apologising, I mean it's just human nature and you suddenly realise you weren't in the wrong and you think why? Why did I do that? What is wrong with me? The answer: NOTHING! Regardless of what your girlfriend's dad says. Nothing. You're fine. You're a little prince. He can't hurt you.
BE giving . . . E
It's the thought that counts, but it's the thing that counts more! Thinking about doing a nice thing is great, but it's a bit like thinking about descaling the kettle - it's better to descale the kettle. Why not be generous even after you've done the nice thing? I bought my girlfriend's father an ironic T-Shirt for his birthday. He sent me a very long Thank You card. So, I wrote a You're Welcome card! I got an even longer card from him after that. It's good to give.
And there you have it! Follow these simple steps and you too could be as N.I.C.E. as I would claim to be if I wasn't following these simple steps.
Your Thank You For Reading This card is in the post.
Richard will be performing his show Richard Soames Does The Right Thing as part of The Edinburgh Fringe at 6:50pm in The Underbelly, George Square
You can also see him in Marriage at 2pm at Assembly, George Square