You know the world's in the crapper when being a nice person is a bad thing. It's disgustingly frustrating. I'm fresh out of high school and just getting into the real world. I'm a nice person. I don't say this to my self, people say it to me, that I'm a nice person. It's a compliment I get all the time. I just don't have that "killer instinct" when it comes to knowingly screwing someone over just because it benefits you. But now that I've got a taste in the real world, it seems that screwing people over is the best way to move up in the world. That really sucks. What happened to empathy and looking at things from the other person's side of the story? It's all "I want this, I want that, this will help ME, I don't care about you, and why should I? Helping you won't help ME so I won't do it." It's kind of depressing. Maybe I just need to move out of Jersey, but the self-centered-prick percentage is really really high from where I see things.

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I'm sorry that it is this way a lot of the time.  Unfortunately you will also find that people are surprised that you are nice "even though you are an Atheist".  Keep being nice.  Just don't let yourself get stepped-on.  My husband would ask me for years why I was surprised when someone would be horrible or do something mean, etc.  I would say because I would never act that way or do that.  Unfortunately there are a lot of not-nice people.  It IS kind of depressing, you are right.  I think you'll find people like that no matter where you go though.  Fortunately there ARE some nice people out there, and you are one of them! :)

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