When sitting down to write outfit posts, I always try and think of an angle, so it's more engaging to the reader than the average "this is what I bought, here's where to buy it" type of thing. With this being in a cactus garden, "don't be a prick" came pretty quickly to me, and then I thought about what that means.
I interpreted it as "be nice".
I have a weird relationship with being nice. On one hand, I want to be that girl, whom everyone likes being around because she'll always have a spare stick of gum or be willing to help out. On the other, I want to mean business, and let people know not to mess with me.
Naturally, I'm not a great person. On a sliding scale, I'm about in the middle, maybe skewing towards the left side a bit. I think by nature, humans want to be good, though sometimes through twisted means. We're born selfish, which has a negative connotation, but in this sense, I simply mean that our first instinct and cares are for ourselves.
That's the way it had to work out throughout history; if we all placed others before ourselves, we would never get anything done and would have likely died off ages ago.
Most people are quite polite and well mannered in public, though I'm sure we all let loose a couple of f-bombs and snide remarks occasionally. Through our parents, friends, and consumption of media, we've learned what's right and what's not. With a growing moral compass, some of us stick to the rules, most of us interpret them, and a few of us are governed by our own set of moral values (Kohlberg's stages of moral development).
Applying it to myself
Going back to my earlier points, most of the time I will put others before myself, more frequently as I've grown up. I try to be empathetic, to not burn down bridges, to distinguish between when I should say the truth and when to tell white lies. All for the sake of "being nice", and being seen as such. Also because I would prefer to have friends and not be alone all the time!
But to what degree is being nice beneficial - both to ourselves and those around us?
I would argue that a healthy dose of selfishness and candor is needed in all aspects of our lives. Being seen as or being told that you're nice can make you feel warm and fuzzy, but in many aspects, I would choose the ambitious, strong woman over the nice one.
That's not to say that I don't value kindness and looking out for others, because I do. Some of my best friendships are with people who have these values. I believe that knowing when to display which traits is important, and that's good news since humans have been shown to be quite adaptive.
In fact, I would say my main problem with being perceived as "nice" is that people will think I'm one dimensional, that I can be taken advantage of without consequence. I want to be both - someone who can be depended on to always listen, who remembers birthdays, but also someone who voices her opinion and stands her ground. As with most things, it's a process, and I'm figuring it out.