Tag Archives: being nice


*To heighten your experience, please read the title of this post in the manner of the “J-E-L-L-O” jingle and then carry on.

The word “hello” is only two syllables.

If you’re really feeling put out, the word “hi” is simply just one.

This means there really isn’t any reason not to say either one of those minimally syllabic words when they are thrown directly your way—even if said by a stranger. At the very least, you can finagle your lips into something that resembles a smile or nod your head in acknowledgment of said greeting.


It’s not that difficult.

However, I have noticed that there are quite a few people in this world that find the concept of saying “hello,” “thank you” and the like tantamount to reciting the Chinese National Anthem through interpretive dance.

In fact, some will go as far as to deliberately avoid making eye contact so they don’t have to flash a smile or return a greeting.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking for extended chit-chat—there’s about a five minute window for that in my day—but rather just a polite “hi” if I actually made the effort myself. 

For example, there are a couple of routes I take when the weather permits me to go for my walks. Depending on when I go, there are others who are evidently also creatures of habit and walk the same general route. Some are really nice and we exchange general pleasantries — “Boy, it’s hot!” or “I think that those two squirrels are humping!”— as we pass.

If nothing else, we can smile and nod and pretend not to look at the squirrels.

However, then there are a couple people who I always walk by that refuse to acknowledge my “hi” and then my second-try smile. We pass within inches of each other on the sidewalk and they act like I’m not even there.

While I’m used to being ignored in social situations and sometimes actually prefer it, I deem this repeat behavior from strangers who haven’t had the opportunity to judge me highly unacceptable.

But I’m all about solutions, people, not excuses.

So instead of getting frustrated or disheartened at the declining congeniality of societal strangers as a whole, I’ve decided to up my game. The next time a repeat offender doesn’t say “hi” back or at least try and give me a smile, I’m going to  bust out my jazz hands and perform a bastardized version of “Rent” from Act 1 to the end.

All I want is one syllable or a freaking little smile, dammit.

Don’t make me bust out the jazz hands.

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Paper, Plastic, Perspective

She was ahead of me in the checkout line on her phone and snapping her gum and orders at the cashier, all while looking as if standing there for five minutes was the end of the world. The cashier tried to make small talk, but was dismissed with a brush of this customer’s hand as she swiped her credit card through the reader.

I was annoyed just watching her.

When it was finally my turn to move up, the cashier began with the normal pleasantries as she started to scan up my order. I told her I was good and smiled, but made that little “eyebrows raised while looking at the back of the bitchy lady” face to let her know I felt her pain.

It was lost on her. She continued on with, “I’m great! How can you not be happy? It’s just always nice to talk to nice people.”

Now granted, I know for a fact from past experience that this cashier is a little bit “special,” and I mean no disrespect in that way. But seeing as she also tried to put canned goods on top of my bread, it’s possible she didn’t notice that woman’s rudeness. Maybe she did and she just didn’t care.

It was all a matter of perspective.

The bitchy woman was bitchy regardless, and while the cashier could have taken it personally or let it affect her mood, instead she just kept smiling and doing her job. 

As she continued to clumsily bag up my stuff, we continued our conversation about how it doesn’t take much to be nice, how just taking the time to smile can make all the difference in the world. 

This stuck with me.

There are moments when I focus on the bitchy woman instead of the smiling cashier, when the one negative thing out of my day will serve as the catalyst for a downward spiral.

I’m getting better with that externally, but I admit that I often see things that happen to other people through some sort of filter that inexplicably doesn’t apply to me. Anything positive is deflected when directed my way, but anything negative—real or perceived—is often absorbed and dwelled on in moments of doubt.

When I’m stuck in my head for whatever reason, I become blind to the simple things that could help pull me out, or at the very least, make me smile. 

Not cool, Abby, not cool.

So I suppose it’s a matter of realizing—no, not just realizing, but accepting the fact that (sometimes) I am a good friend, a good writer, etc. and that I do have great friends that care about me, even in those moments when I might not care about myself as much as I should.

Yes, that’s kind of cheesy and I’ll always be more sarcastic and snarky than sappy, but it’s all about those little reminders and perspective. If they can see the good in me with all my quirks and issues, then I want to try and see the good in almost everyone/every situation I face.

Except that bitchy lady. She was seriously rude and gave me the stink eye when she incorrectly assumed I was encroaching on her allotted grocery space. She can go fly a kite.

Anyway, everyone but her and those like her. The point is that kindness can go a long way—not to just other people, but also to yourself. I’m good at the former, and working on the latter.

Each day is a new chance to try.

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