Be Proactively Nice

Looking for a great gift idea this holiday season? I’ve got a terrific one. No, it’s not a sweater—and it won’t cost you a dime. It’s the gift of being proactively nice.

Sadly, our world is becoming more impersonal each day. We’re consumed with busy-ness.  Phones and computers seem to command our undivided attention. We text and email instead of talk to each other. People enjoying meals at local restaurants pay more attention to their phones than to each other. Busy-ness has infiltrated our manners and our demeanor—especially in places like our freeways, restaurants, and airports where patience seems a rare commodity these days.  Compliments are rare—great service is expected, so why bother rewarding service providers when they deliver it? Anything less, and out pours the wrath.  

This holiday season, I suggest we start a little “rebellion” of sorts against the impersonal status quo. Here are some things I’ve adopted, to give a glimpse of what I’m talking about:

  • I say “hi” when I pass people on my running route, regardless of whether I know them or not
  • I let a driver who has waited longer go ahead of me
  • When asked by a restaurant server how my day is, I return the question (I always get great responses to this simple gesture)
  • I go out of my way to express appreciation and gratitude
  • I smile more
  • I call rather than text (okay, not always but I try!)
  • I don’t allow the rudeness of others get to me

Clearly, none of this is profound or particularly creative. I’m sure you can come up with better ideas than I did! Nevertheless, I’m struck by the reactions of others when I do it (especially at restaurants where they’re often startled). It’s amazing how these small acts of random kindness make someone’s day a little better. You can tell it in their faces.

What a wonderful gift to offer during this busy, and hectic holiday season!

What are ways you’ve been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness? How did make you feel?  Do you have any interesting ideas to share with our online community about how we can do this for others?

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