Monday, October 24, 2016

Just Be Nice

I go through life thinking that I'm invisible to 99% of the population, and I'm fine with that - I have never been one to want attention, fame, or adulation.  But on Saturday, I got a good reminder that how you interact with people stays with them, along with the realization that I'm actually not going through my days without being noticed - at times, anyway.

Backstory is that I went to a baby shower for a runner friend, Kasey, hosted by another runner friend, Rachel.  I only knew Julia and the two other runners there, but as with most events like this, you mingle with others.  We ended up sitting down for a light lunch (side note:  don't invite me to a light lunch after I've run seven miles...those little chicken salad sandwiches disappeared in a heartbeat), and we chatted with a new-to-us person.  As Kasey started opening her gifts, we all discussed them, of course.  I tried to not be the person who kept saying "back in my day, we didn't have that" but dang, some really neat baby products have been invented since 1987! 

Anyway, one item that was discussed was the baby swaddler - back in my day (see?  I can't help it) we just used a receiving blanket to make a baby burrito, as Jeff called it, but now they have specific swaddlers with Velcro, which seems much quicker, especially when you have a flailing baby and/or are dealing with sleep deprivation.  I mentioned that we sold these very swaddlers in the hospital gift shop, and that's when the new-to-us person said "THAT'S where I know you" - while I have no recollection of this (C.R.S., people), apparently she was in the gift shop a couple of weeks ago, and said that both Rosalie (my co-volunteer) and I were very nice and friendly to her, which, yay!  We try to always be like that and I'm happy to hear that it was noticed.

I know it's been said time and time again that it doesn't hurt to be nice to others; you never know what is happening in their lives.  And while I can be *ahem* a tad bit vocal while I'm driving (especially when I'm trying to make that unprotected left turn out of my neighborhood and the hordes of vehicles just.keep.coming), in person I really try to be pleasant.  Hearing from this woman that she felt good after our encounter made me feel like great - an affirmation that I am doing OK with this thing we call life.  Because honestly, with all of the terrible things being said about the upcoming election, coupled with our bad experience with the shoplifter at the gift shop, sometimes I start to feel pretty negative about people, and that's not the place I want to be...and yet I do go there at times.

I need to remember that even if I'm simply blowing up some balloons and making friendly small talk while doing so, it's having a positive impact, in some small way, on other people's lives.  I don't have to be saving the world to do good - just being nice is enough.

I think I can manage that.  

28 comments:

  1. You just never know who you'll run into! Last week at CrossFit, a woman came up to me and asked me if I worked where I work. She told me I took care of her kids and said I was fabulous. Whew.

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    1. Totally understand your "whew" - but congrats, that was a great compliment! :)

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  2. I hope there was cake to chase those tiny sandwiches, especially since you'd run 7 miles LOL!

    Being married to someone who was born and raised where I live taught me that lesson. Because people often do not recognize me when I am alone but then I'll be with my husband and they suddenly know who I am. I also learned very early on just dating him, don't flirt with someone in a bar - they probably went to high school with your boyfriend. ;)

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    1. Cupcakes and cookies, but honestly, I just wanted FOOD. Runger is real, LOL.

      Your flirting story made me laugh - ahhh, hometowns.

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  3. I love this! It is so true. You never know when someone needs friendliness in there life and you never know when you will bump into them again. :) So great to remember!

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    1. It was a good reminder for me - glad you liked the post! :)

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  4. "Just be nice" is what I had to tell myself for about 6 months when I was unfairly targeted at work by a former friend. I felt like everyone was talking about me, and felt very alone. (They probably weren't talking about me, I just felt that way.) Anyway, Just be nice is just a good way to move through the world. And you ARE exceptionally nice socially! And the car language? That doesn't count :) The unprotected left turn is my nemesis. I try to avoid them if at all possible, but there are several up here that I have to make on a regular basis.

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    1. I'm so glad you made it through that awful work experience. THAT is a really hard time to be nice!!

      Car language was my kid's second language. ;)

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  5. It's true, it's so much easier being nice than being an asshole and you get so much more out of it!

    I try really hard to see the good in people, but this election has made that challenging, to say the least.

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    1. The election atmosphere has really made for some eye-opening revelations about people I know. Not sure if I will ever see them in a better light once this is over.

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  6. This was such a nice post. I have learned that while driving, I need to learn to be nice as well because that person who cut me off in traffic could potentially be one of my kids' teachers or someone else from the school. It hadn't occurred to me until a couple of years ago that the folks who drive around in my part of town are the same people who I might potentially interact with in a social setting someday since we all live in the same school district. :/ I tend to also be very vocal and sometimes I "talk" with my hands while driving. Oops!

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    1. Mostly, unless you can read lips, you wouldn't know about the rage happening inside of my car, LOL. But I do drive a fairly distinctive vehicle, so I'd never flip the bird or anything. And also, it's Texas, and everyone except for me is packing heat.

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  7. What a "nice" reminder. I am amazed by all the baby products we have now. I even did cloth diapers with my first! I do think we change into different people behind the wheel though.

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  8. You've had a positive impact on MY life.

    I think car vocalizations are pretty safe, but I made a never-repeated mistake of giving someone a middle digit wave once. He sped ahead of me and turned his car crosswise on the road so I could not get by, got out of his car and started coming at mine. I had to throw my car into reverse and back down the street until I came to a crossroad to turn around in and zoom off in the other direction. Yikes.

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    1. Why thank you, Jeannie - what a nice thing to say! :)

      OMG, your road rage story - holy moly on that!!! Scary, although I'm impressed at your reverse driving skills!

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  9. A good reminder, Shelley! I know I have run into folks out there that have been a bright spot in my day (the barista who asked if I wanted my beverage with "extra love" on a particularly horrid day actually made me leak a little gratefulness out my eyes...), and it would do me well to remember I can be that bright spot for someone else if I just be nice! Thanks for the post.

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    1. I'll bet baristas see a lot of people who could use some extra love...and in turn, they deserve it back. That's got to be a tough job.

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  10. Great advice, Shelley, and so simple. I try to do the same (but am an evil screaming banshee in the car!)

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    1. I don't know what happens in the car, but if people would just get out of my way and let me in, I'd be calmer. ;)

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  11. aahh, thank goodness it wasn't the lady from the dressing room a few weeks back..haha!
    I have no doubt you are a friendly person!

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  12. Amazing post--and I pray for the day, I also start running 7 miles like it was not hug :P
    wold love if you would drop by my little corner some time!

    http://slimexpectations.com/

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  13. Absolutely LOVE this post!!!! I love random interactions with people, or just making someone's day pleasant!!!

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  14. I love this :) This is a great reminder of why we should on default, if we can, be kind. (And on those other days, share the nasty with people who know you and know you're in a funk!)

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  15. I was a barista at Starbucks for a few years and I'm a little ashamed to say that when I first started out, I was naïve and immature and really didn't handle difficult customers as gracefully or graciously as I should have. BUT...by the end of my term at Starbucks I learned, matured and realized that I had complete control of the situation. Example: a lady stormed in one afternoon complaining that someone else had messed up her drink that morning and how she spends at least $100/month at our store, blah blah...anyway, I realized she probably wanted a complimentary drink--Old and Immature Gaby would probably have said something sassy and turned her off, but instead I said, "I am SO sorry that happened to you...can I make your drink right now on the house to make up for it?" Her face completely changed and after that, I learned her name, that she was a single mom and she was a loyal customer every single day after that. She even told me I was the reason she decided to keep coming. What a lesson at how your choice of words and attitude can make or break an encounter! By no means am I perfect and I know I'm not as nice as I could be on certain days, but I try so hard to look back on that experience to remind myself that, you know, sometimes that world isn't out to get me (lol) and that overall, people just want to be shown love and compassion, even through small tiny gestures.

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    1. I think that with maturity comes a better understand of how far being kind goes...I'm sure we've all done things that in retrospect, we look back on and cringe just a little. But the ability to change is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

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  16. I totally agree with this!

    It annoyes me how often people are rude on social media. It doesn't take a lot of guts to be rude behind the safety of your screen, most people wouldn't do that in real life. We even had a FB thing a while back called "be nice or leave" and that's how I think about it too.

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