Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A call to kindness

Are you a kind person? Are you thoughtful? Do you truly think of others in your everyday life? This has something that's been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I've seen so many examples of general unpleasantness lately that it's starting to be discouraging. Just today, I've been honked at twice (just for being on the road, I guess), witnessed a library patron yell at the girl behind the counter about an overdue book, and checked out at a store where the cashier never actually spoke to me. I feel bad for these people; are their lives really so unpleasant that they've forgotten how to be friendly?

Maybe it's just me, but I try to consider the feelings of others when I act/don't act. Is that a novel concept? If it is, that makes my heart sad. How hard is it to be considerate?
  • In a conversation, stop talking for just a second, and let the other person have a moment to speak. Your stories may be important, but other people may just possibly have something to say, too.
  • Smile at a stranger and say hello.
  • Keep up with your family and friends. Do you know about your friend's latest date? What about Aunt Sally's test results? How's BillyBob's job search going? It amazes me how many people don't know these sorts of things about their loved ones. Make the time!
  • If the person behind you in line has fewer items, offer to let them go ahead of you.
  • Pay someone a compliment, and then watch their face light up. {Last week, I told the greeter at Wal-Mart that I liked her headband. She grinned, and we talked for a few minutes about how she'd made it herself out of elastic, a fabric flower, and hot glue. She thanked me, and said I was the first person all day who had spoken to her. It only cost a few minutes of my time, and made her smile. How easy is that?}
  • Leave a comment on a blog you follow, or officially become a follower. It might just make someone's day.
  • Mail a card or letter to a friend. Snail mail is underrated.
  • Remember birthdays and other special dates. Heck, write it down if you have to! No excuses there.
  • Call up a friend or family member. Show them they're important enough to give up some of your time.
  • Be sensitive and polite and use common sense when in a conversation with someone.
  • If you're in a really happy mood, pay for the person in the drive-thru behind you. {Check their car first to make sure they're not driving a van full of hungry kids :)}
I think we would all benefit from stepping outside of ourselves a bit and thinking about how to make someone else smile. What about you? Do you think common decency and consideration of others are vestiges of the past? Do you make a conscious effort to be kind to other people? What do you do? I'd love to add to my list of ideas.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest today!


  1. Great post!

    not only am I leaving a comment... ;) but I am agreeing with you!

    I can really light your fire with a couple stories about my boyfriend's sister. She hates me for no reason. She admitted that I did nothing to her about a month ago. Josh and I got her a birthday card at the beginning of this month... she ripped it up and threw it in the trash. Classy huh. I wish she would grow up and be friendly.

    And I LOVE snail mail!! I think I might send out some cards this weekend! I always try to send out birthday cards... I had a reminder on my computer pop up today about Josh's grandmothers birthday.

    AND, I've ALWAYS wanted to pay for someone behind me! I saw on twitter that a girl did that at starbucks and now I want to do it. :)

    again, great post! Really makes you appreciate the nice people in your life!

  2. Molly, I'm always glad to see you stop by :) Your boyfriend's sister sounds like someone who needs lots of prayers; I'll add her to my list tonight. I've never paid for someone behind me in the drive-thru either, because I'm worried that I'd pick someone with a really expensive order! That may be my goal by the end of the summer, though...we'll see. Thanks again for visiting, and enjoy the rest of your week!


  3. Love it! I totally agree - it's easy to become discouraged when we see so much inconsideration (is that a word?) in this world! Love you, friend, and I hope you are having a great week! I love the snail mail comment - my new years resolution was to send more birthday cards, letters, thank you notes, etc to my friends and family. It's amazing how a little note or talking to a friend can be such a bright spot in an otherwise "nothing to write home about" day. We must make a pact to catch up more - I especially loved getting to catch up with you on the phone the other day. It's much easier to talk one on one about important stuff than in a gaggle. (R says I overuse this word, but I really like it) Let's have another phone date soon - this week? Miss ya already!

  4. AMEN! I love these ideas about kindness, especially the first one and the one about paying for someone else in the drive through! How awesome would that be.

    One of the nurses I work with is ALWAYS kind. And it's contagious. When people see her coming they are excited and put at ease. Another nurse I work with is a bitter and mean spirited person. It exhaust me to work with her. She sucks the air out of the room.

    Seeing the stark contrast in the two has put a raging desire in me to BE KIND. Thanks for the reminder and fresh ideas!

  5. LA, I would love a phone date sometime this weekend or in the coming week. Great idea! Thanks for stopping by, friend.


    PS--You keep on using "gaggle" as much as you want. I just happen to like it :)

  6. Sarah Barry, this has just been on my heart so much lately and I had to get it out! I'm not the world's nicest person or anything, but I do try to make an effort to be sweet to other people. It's not that hard! I know what you mean about your coworkers; I see that at work, too. A negative, mean person really sucks the life out of you by the end of the day. Glad to provide a reminder; I enjoyed the "words of wisdom" on your blog today!

    Thanks for stopping by, and have a lovely weekend!


  7. I hate when cashiers don't say anything to me and act like that is the last place they want to be =(

    Awe, that's so sad no one had spoken to the greeter at WalMart, you probably made her day!

    I love getting mail, I also think it is underrated

    love you saying "use common sense when in a conversation", that's important but many people don't

    I write all important dates on my calendar that I keep on the fridge. It helps my husband to remember too and the kids like reading who's bdays are that month =)

  8. this is all so true! what a great post!! i really wish i stopped to listen more and talked so much less. such a great post!

  9. Kristi, I'm glad you write down important dates, too. It makes me very sad when people forget to acknowledge birthdays. If they would just write it down...problem solved! I also felt sad when that sweet lady told me nobody had spoken to her that morning :( She said she always greets people, even if they don't return her greeting, but she said she starts to feel discouraged when it seems like nobody's listening to her. I wanted to cry! That made me want to find every Wal-Mart greeter I could find and give them a hug :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by...I appreciate your loyal visits!


  10. Suz, I'm glad you enjoyed this. I've just had this weighing on me for a while and had to get it out! I still need a lot of work in the kindness department, but it's something I want to make a conscious effort to improve.

    I think about yall every day and hope yall are settling in nicely. Can't wait for more updates!



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