Operation NiCE

I have been seeing this project promoted all over the place. It seems like a very innocent notion, but with a strong message. Sometimes the simplest message yells the loudest. I have been silently watching, but I think it’s time I speak up and share my views on this.

Being nice is something we learn young. “Don’t hit! Stop biting! Be nice!” It’s all taught to us early. But somehow we unlearn it. We start being mean, then when that gets easier, being mean becomes a habit. It’s almost expected.

For many years – maybe even since I was 12, when I first started riding public transportation – I have said “thank you” and “have a nice day” to all the service people I come in contact with. It’s second nature to me now, but I mean it no less just because it’s a habit. I sincerely appreciate their help and great customer service – mostly because I can’t be that patient. This thing that comes so naturally to me is going the way of the Dodo bird. That makes me sad.

I can honestly say that 90% of the time, the person I say “have a nice day” to, responds in pleasant surprise, straightens their slump a little and look brighter than before. Gosh, if there were any reason to say something nice, that’s it!

The thing that gets me every time (and yes I do notice it) is the surprise in their response. Why are they surprised? I wonder. What type of people are they interacting with that my simple comment made their day? It honestly confuses me and I’m certain my partner is tired of explaining why. I don’t know how many times I’ve left a store or restaurant and turned to my partner in naive surprise at the clerks surprised response to my comment. He always just sighs and says, “that’s probably the only nice thing they’ve heard all week.”

I wish it wasn’t like that. I wish that people were more pleasant to each other. But the idea of pleasantry is lost on today’s society. They prefer to “be nice” by not saying what’s really on their mind. I’m telling you now, it’s a whole lot better in the long run to tell people how you feel than to bottle it in. It not only gets you in the habit of being honest, but if you’re always telling people that you like something about them, you have less mean things to say.

Do you have a story to share about being nice? How you made someone’s day? Leave a comment and tell me about it. I’d love to hear it.

Have an awesome day! [smiles]