I blogged awhile back about the book THE POWER OF NICE. While the book doesn't offer anything particularly groundbreaking or new, it does serve as a good reminder of something we forget all too often. Just being nice. It is something so simple yet so effective.
The other day, I found a website all about being nice. It is called the Gift of Kindess. Anyway, the idea behind the site is that you should go out and do something nice for a complete stranger. Then, you hand them one of these free kindness cards you can order that encourage people to "pay it forward." The cards are generic and say something to the effect of "Someone has just done something nice for you...pay it forward." One example that they gave is to pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru and then ask the cashier to give the person the little card when they drive up.
I really like this idea. I want to try it the next time I go through the Starbucks drive-thru. Something as simple as surprising a stranger by buying a $2 cup of coffee could really make their day. For me, it's often something as simple as someone holding a door for me. Or complimenting me on how I look that day. I think a lot of people poo-poo the social niceties but it's little things like that that can change your entire interaction with a person.
I walked into a Sprint store last weekend to buy a charger for my phone. I was the first customer of the day and the guy was beyond grumpy. I decided then and there that it would my mission to make that guy smile before I left. I could have taken offense at his gruff and grumpy demeanor. After all, I hadn't done anything to deserve that treatment. But, instead I started joking with him. I poked fun at myself for being up at the crack of dawn to go shopping at the mall in pouring down rain. I thanked him for being so helpful. (even though he wasn't at first) By the end of our short interchange, the guy was not only laughing but he had also offered to open the packaging of the charger for me so I could use it right away. We both left with a smile on our faces. It was great.
I think the hardest thing for people to realize is that when you encounter a rude/grumpy salesperson or customer, it probably has nothing to do with you. And maybe just smiling and saying "please" and "thank you" can change that person's whole day.
I'm going to try to exercise the power of nice more often and practice random acts of kindness. We'll see what happens....