I know that this is not a technical post, but I don't have much technical to say today so I thought I would drop this in here. If for no other reason, it is a post to remind myself of my own beliefs (and therefore to follow them more closely). I just wanted to say that you should never be conflicted about being nice to someone. I have definitely had moments in my life where I really wanted to do something nice for someone or say something complimentary to them and have been very hesitant to do so. I am not sure where this conflict comes from. Perhaps it is rooted in a fear of judgement - as in, will my actions be judged negatively even though their intent in good?
After having gone through this inner turmoil many times, and often erring on the side of being nice, of doing the right thing, I can say that it has never led me astray. Yes, it has, from time to time, gotten me into some slightly complicated situations; but I have never done a good thing for someone and regretted doing it. If you think about it, the very concept of being fearful of performing niceties is silly. Put yourself in the other person's shoes; who wouldn't want something nice done for them? Ok, maybe Dr. Cox on Scrubs, but even he cracks from time to time. The bottom line is, everyone has a huge desire to feel important and having something nice done for them is a very easy way to help that feeling be satiated.
So, just a mental note to myself - learn from your past; never hesitate to do something nice for someone if you have an urge to do so. Even if you are afraid that they will find your gesture totally idiotic, realize that they will still come away from it feeling special.