Just Be Nice Dammit. It’s Better for Everyone.

  |   44 comments

*I had a different post scheduled for the end of the day today, but then this happened and I felt compelled to share it…

Today I was going through my emails and I stumbled across a mass mailer from a PR company in New York. I had been receiving these periodically for months, and they didn’t really fit the scope of what I do for papernstitch. So, I wrote back a quick couple of sentences to the sender and asked to be removed from the list. She wrote me right back and said I had been removed, but that’s not what struck me.ย She actually thanked me..

Sorry about that Brittni. ย Thank you for being so nice about it! You have been removed from the list.”

A thank you from a total stranger for being nice. It made me smile.

And you know what happened after that?

This is the part where you might think I am going to tell you that she wrote me back just hours later and told me that because of my kindness she wanted to repay the favor by doing x, y, and z for me. And how you should always be nice to people, especially when it comes to your business, because you just never know what it will get you in the future. Blah, blah, blah.

But that’s not what happened.

So you wanna know what actually happened?

Nothing. And that is exactly the point.

You should be kind to people in every situation. People you know and people you don’t know. Just because. Not in hopes that you can later get something “out of it”. Not because you never know what connections that person might have. Just because.

Just because it’s better for you. For the people around you. For the people you know. And for the ones that you have not yet met. And it makes you feel good to be kind to someone else.

So I am challenging you.

To make every attempt to simply be nice. To everyone that you talk to, virtually or in person. For just one week.

See how it makes you feel to continually be friendly and kind in uncomfortable situations and random occurrences. Watch how it makes other people feel when they encounter your compassion, your smile, your generally “nice” attitude, however seemingly small it may be. And then, after the week is over, I dare you to stop.

Bet you won’t.

Share your thoughts on this topic below. And if you know someone who needs to read this, send it to them…

image c/o Momo Prints

44 comments | Click here to reply

i loved that nothing happened!!! you had me there!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ i totally agree with you, i always try to be nice with everyone… even if a total stranger that wrote me or something. it is so common to meet unpleasant people that when you meet someone really nice, you feel delighted!!! it happened to me today when i went for a cup of coffee in a very well-known pastry next to home, that is also known for delicious pastries and not that nice people working there. and today the nicest boy appeared and made me change my mind about that place! hugs! twiggs
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Twiggs | April 6th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I can attest to the fact that you are nice to everyone Twiggs. You are always so kind when we chat and I hear lovely things about you sprinkled across internet land. Thanks for sharing your be nice story today!
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I have this “bad” habit of chatting with strangers. Like when I’m buying something at some store I tend to chat with the salesperson. I mean, even the person behind the cashier, the one who’s just “taking my money” and hasn’t even helped me in any way. Sometimes they give me a crooked smile, as if I was interrupting their work or something, but quite often they seem really happy and chat with me as well.

It’s nice for the salesperson, but it’s also nice to myself. Leaves me with a good feeling. Usually other customers look at me as if I had gone nuts, but I don’t really care. ๐Ÿ˜€
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Mervi | April 6th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

“..but itรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs also nice to myself. Leaves me with a good feeling.” EXACTLY Mervi. And that’s what we all can “get out of” being nice (if anyone needs a reason): Feeling good about the way we treat others. That’s huge!
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

This post made me smile… I couldn’t agree more!
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Kathy | April 6th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I agree!!

Kerry | April 6th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

glad you shared this, made me smile too ๐Ÿ™‚

brandi | April 6th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Thank you Kathy, Kerry, and Brandi for stopping by. So glad that this post made you smile.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I like this thought/challenge! I shall participate. I have one question…can we kill them with kindness??? That’s always my motto when someone makes me super mad. I think it works, too. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Lori | April 6th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Sure, why not Lori. Kill away!

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I absolutely love this post. I value kindness above almost everything else.
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Penelope | April 6th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Thank you Penelope.

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Thank you for posting this! I agree heartily: the world could be a lot better of a place if everyone made an effort to be a little nicer in everyday interactions. Imagine.

Also, this reminds me of Conan’s advice:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/claylarsen/4298622715/in/photostream/

double also: i’m doing a quite nice thing and giving away $100 to Modcloth on my blog, if you’re interested (I promise that wasn’t the main point of my comment, but an afterthought):
http://blythehill.blogspot.com/2011/03/100-modcloth-giveaway.html
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Blythe | April 6th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Yes! So true Blythe. A much better place. Side Notes: 1. Conan always has the best advice. 2. Your blog is awesome. I just checked it out via the link for the giveaway and I love it. Bookmarking for later.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I agree with you completely. Not just niceness though, genuine kindness makes EVERYONE’S lives better!
I find that approaching potentially difficult situations (on the phone with the insurance company, etc) with an attitude of kindness not only makes the experience easier for all involved, but leaves me feeling even better than before!
Thanks for the affirmation!

Ansley | April 6th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

“Not just niceness though, genuine kindness makes EVERYONEรขโ‚ฌโ„ขS lives better!” That’s true Ansley.

For those that might have trouble getting to the genuine kindness level in difficult situations, I recommend the “fake it ’til you make it” approach. You’ll get there.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I’m a big fan of this theory. It’s your life, you get to choose haw you live it. xo
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Katie | April 6th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Amen. Wholeheartedly agree! What has happened to basic good manners?! To me, that is a substantial portion of “being nice”. Just use your good manners, for Pete’s sake.

MM3 | April 6th, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I try to emphasize to my girls the importance of smiling and being nice daily. You never know what is going on in the lives of the people around you…the fact that you were kind might just have been the best part of their day : )

You are so right…*just because* is fantastic! *Just because* is is a huge reflection of a person’s character.
Thank you for the great post Brittni!
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dianna | April 6th, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Thank you Katie and MM3 for leaving your thoughts. And Dianna, I think its wonderful that you try to instill this in your children.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 6th, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Totally agree. I try to be as nice as possible…just because… in every situation. It is just the right thing to do.

Gina Acute Designs | April 6th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

what a lovely idea…being nice IS better. being mean just causes stress.
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sara | April 7th, 2011 at 1:17 am

Thanks for writing this! I have always loved how nice you are:)

Victoria | April 7th, 2011 at 8:18 am

It was so lovely to read this post-thank you. It is so important to be reminded on the importance of treating others the way you would want to be treated:)

Nancy | April 7th, 2011 at 8:44 am

Yep, absolutely Gina.

Being mean DOES cause stress indeed Sara.

Aw, thank you Victoria. I swear I wasn’t fishing for a compliment. But that’s nice to hear.

And thank you Nancy for your thoughts. So true.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 7th, 2011 at 9:01 am

I was thinking about this yesterday. I went to my doctor and was waiting in the reception area when I blind man walked in, assisted by a building employee who brought him to the front desk. The man told the employee he would be ok from here and proceeded to check in. After, he asked where the chairs were and the receptionist said, “Behind you.” He turned around and used his walking stick to try finding his way around. He had a hard time finding his way around and looked confused. Everyone watched him, not bothering to offer assistance, I assume because everyone has the belief that someone with a disability doesn’t want help or they can do it themselves. But come on, why can’t you be nice and approach the man to ask if you can help him find a seat. When I did his entire face just lit up and he said, “Oh yes, thank you! I’ve never been here before.” He thanked me and that was that. Everyone in the room looked at me like I had a third eyeball and it made me ashamed for them. No one knows how to do nice things for others anymore.

Ashley | April 7th, 2011 at 9:06 am

Thank you for sharing your story Ashley. It’s amazing what something so little can do for another person’s spirit.
-Brittni

papernstitch | April 7th, 2011 at 10:01 am

I wholeheartedly agree Brittni. You’ve got to be a nice person to enjoy life to the fullest–it makes things more pleasant for everyone. Sometimes it can be challenging if someone is annoying you, but that’s when you take that step of maturity to act like the wiser adult. It’s not even so much that you let people take advantage of you, or that you let everyone else have their way–it’s that you *always* treat people with respect, regardless of the situation. (And I’m certain that right after I write this someone will cut me off in traffic today and I’ll be put to the test, lol.) ๐Ÿ™‚

Mai | April 7th, 2011 at 11:15 am

I’ve read so many posts about this lately, but they’ve all had a negative tone to them. They’ve all been written because people have been rude, not because people have been nice.

I’m glad that this “nice” experience inspired you. And thank you for sharing so that it could inspire the rest of us.

Tori | April 7th, 2011 at 11:16 am

I couldn’t agree more. I know this to be true, although some days I have more difficulty practicing it than others. The important thing is just to try, try and be nice to others. In this day and age you can see that we are all closely interconnected; indeed the world is flat after all. Your kindness will hopefully cause a chain reaction that will set off smiles around the world.

Elizabeth | April 7th, 2011 at 11:20 am

You know, pardon me for being long-winded, but your article really got me thinking Brittni. I wanted to mention one more thing. Not only is it important to be nice, but also to *have fun.* Really! Don’t be afraid to enjoy life. My mom and I were in a craft store recently. One thing I love about my Mom–she loves to laugh. She can find the funny thing about any given situation. She’s a lighthearted person, and she doesn’t hesitate to joke around with strangers. When we’re together I forget about being reserved and cautious in public. Her joviality is contagious. So we were milling about in the craft store, joking around and having a blast while looking at…glass vases?…not very laugh worthy, but we found something humorous anyway, and a random lady came up to us and said, “You know, I couldn’t help overhearing, and I wanted to tell you that it’s so NICE to see people laughing and enjoying themselves for once. It’s so refreshing! Thank you for making my day!” We thanked the lady wholeheartedly, and then she went off down another aisle and continued shopping. Me and Mom looked at eachother, grinned, and then continued cutting up, but really, that woman was the one who made OUR day. Sometimes we get so caught up in the stress and busyness of life that we forget to have fun. People need to see that. It obviously inspired that lady that day, and her kindness inspired me to want to be kind in return. Nothing but good can come of this folks, no matter how you look at it.

Mai | April 7th, 2011 at 11:28 am

I am about to graduate and I wish I could yell this post from the rooftops! As I have been interning and looking for a job- everyone needs this reminder.

Becca | April 7th, 2011 at 11:47 am

oooph, that’s a big challenge! Reminds me of one of my favorite lyrics about people you know making fun of you or talking sh*t behind your back…”would they laugh if they knew who paid?”. So be nice to people you know too, even if they’re not with you <3
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Michelle, from Aisle 3 | April 7th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Great post Brittni! Thank you for reminding us why we should always be nice in the first place…to just create a positive environment for all and not for personal benefit. That is the goal I always strive towards but it’s still a nice reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

Lauren Elise | April 7th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Thank you for posting this, it’s the only way to fly!
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Lee | April 9th, 2011 at 9:09 am

[…] Just Be Nice, Dammit – after some recent shenanigans going on, this was a refreshing read! […]

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This is very much in line with my favorite print from artist Anthony Burrill… Yes!
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Carrie | April 11th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Today I went to Subway for lunch and witnessed some rude teenager in front of me. The woman preparing my sandwich looked rather taken aback and sad and that’s when I started to be extra-nice. I said “Yes, please!” to the works and “Southwest please” to the sauce, accompanied with a smile. The woman actually asked me why I was being so nice. And I answered that I just wanted to be a nice customer as anyone in the service economy knows how hard a day with sour looking clients can be. She gave me an extra bonus stamp. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chisa | April 12th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I loved your story about being nice and how it makes you feel! My Mom always said “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I’ve always tried to live by this. I live part time in Norway and recently took a trip to Thailand. It was a 13 hour flight and I was so impressed with the crew. They were so happy, and really seemed to enjoy their job! After everyone had settled down for the long flight, I went back to the cabin area where they were all gathered and asked them where they were from because I was so curious. They were from Finland. I complimented them on the service and how delightful they had made the flight….they looked at me like I had dropped in from outer space. I felt they thought I had come back to complain or ask for something. They were gracious with their thank you’s and when I turned to leave, I heard one of them say, “What did she say?” It just felt good!

Susie | April 14th, 2011 at 4:19 am

as someone who works in retail, this post really made me smile ๐Ÿ™‚ i know everyone has bad days every now & then, but when you really think about it, our lives are pretty darn good so we shouldn’t be so darn crabby ๐Ÿ™‚

k. | April 18th, 2011 at 11:19 am

LOVE this!
I just shared this on my Plain Punch fan page… and also e-mailed it to my husband

Sara E | June 30th, 2011 at 1:51 am

Very cool. Thanks so much Sara. Glad this article resonated with you.

And to everyone else who has commented- thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and stories.

-Brittni

papernstitch | June 30th, 2011 at 1:59 am

I completely agree with this post! I always make it a point to smile and thank my waiter/waitress each time they do something for me, and I am suprised when a friend does not do the same. It makes me think that maybe they are not as nice of a person as I thought they were. How hard is it to be nice to someone that is doing something for you? The world would be a much better place if we all worked on being nice to everyone. Thanks for a great post!
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