People have an affinity for saying stupid things. When using good as an adjective to describe another human it is important to listen to the qualifier in order to grasp the context of what they are communicating. Listen to what people say to and about others in public, while they may use good in a sentence it is important to understand that there are at least three levels of good.
1. He's a good guy.
Let's be clear, this might as well be a diss. People say, "He's a good guy," when they have nothing of substance to say. You can fill in the the preamble, "He sucks at everything else but at least he's a good guy." This level of good is bad. It's bad in a bad way. And by bad we mean it's a negative thing. Please, unless you hate me, don't ever use this statement about me. A good guy is the status quo, they meander through life and don't leave a substantive mark one way or the other. If someone describes you as a good guy, you know they hate you. Find some good dudes and get your crap together. If someone introduces you to a good guy, they are telling you to go meet someone else.
2. He's a good dude.
Now we are talking. This is what you say when you have genuine affection for someone and value some aspect of what they bring to humanity. A good dude has their faults but they contribute to society and they are working through what they understand to be their negative attributes. Good dudes are humans. Good dudes make mistakes but they also make life better. If you hear someone say, "He's a good dude," they you are being introduced to someone who is worth knowing. Good dudes are a mess like the rest but they have a genuine interest in trying to be better, they lead by example.
3. He's good people.
This is a level of noteworthiness. The is a phrase of praise for another human. When you declare to another human, "He's good people," you are saying that if you get to know this person you are getting to know someone who makes the world a better place. Good people are those who rise above the status quo, they often go out of their way to do the right thing, to help others and have likely done something in your lifetime that made you want to be a better person. Good people are not saints, but they inspire greatness. Good people are those handful of friends that would drop what they are doing to help you in a time of need.
Life is full of good guys, good dudes and good people. Knowing who you are and who you are around is important. Being and surrounding yourself with the right people are the types of decisions that can lead your life down a path of success or failure. If bad company corrupts good character, the wrong kind of good can be just as dangerous.
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Jon Isaacson has a monthly feature column with Restoration & Remediation (R&R) Magazine titled The Intentional Restorer