We all have bad days. Everyone makes mistakes. Shit, does in fact, happen. How we react to all of this can affect how everyone involved feels about what is going on. There is are two people who work at the grocery store I go to who seem to have a negative vibe about them. One is really miserable, I can ask him 100 times how he is doing and he will never respond and will just ask me if I want a bag today. That’s it, not even a single attempt to be social or even care about a single customer coming through his line. I feel bad that he is so miserable, but he is probably doing it to himself because I’ve seen several people attempt to be nice to him and he just deflects it and ignores them.
Another woman, who wash my cashier last night. She has been rude to my wife, she has snapped at people and has bad days a lot. Last night I simply asked her, “how are you doing tonight?” She said she was happy to be off in an hour and that tomorrow (now today) is her day off. She was looking forward to having a day to herself. I just listened to her and let her talk about what she wanted to do today. As I left she told me to have a nice night and I told her to enjoy her day off. She had a genuine smile on her face. This was the first time I think I had seen her smile in the two years I have been going to this store.
The difference wasn’t me. She was open to anyone who would listen to her. Maybe nobody listens to her in her life? Or maybe the timing was just right. But the difference in the reactions of both people show that we can have a bad day, or we can predetermine a bad day. If you go into work with a negative attitude your day is going to be slow and you are going to hate going to work. As I always say, life is short, don’t waste your years feeling terrible about a job you have or about a relationship you’re in.
One thing I love to do is smile at strangers I pass on the street and say hello or hi or how are you? About half of the people look at me like I’m nuts! They act like I must be crazy because I’m looking at them and talking to them. The funny thing is that back in the day, this was simply called having manners.
A favorite movie of mine, kind of a guilty pleasure movie, is “Blast From The Past”. It is a silly movie about a family who locked themselves in an underground bunker for 34 years and their son (played by Brendan Fraser) goes out into the world for the first time. It shows the good side of the generation gap. He was raised by his 1950’s parents. But my point is that there is one line in the movie where they are talking about manners. One character says how Adam (Brendan Fraser) said to him that “Manners are how we show other people we respect them.” His response was something like “I always thought it was what snooty people did at dinner parties.”
The fact is, manners really are just showing respect for other people, and actually for yourself. Holding a door open for someone, saying hello, thank you or just greeting them when they walk through the door are simple ways of acknowledging them. I don’t do these things to show I have manners, I do these things because they make me feel better as a person.
This brings me back to the man who works at the grocery store. I have seen him there for a year or so. If I end up in his line I will still ask him how he is doing, maybe one day he will answer me. But I’m not going to stop being nice to him. If he doesn’t want to accept it that is on him. But I won’t be rude back because it accomplishes nothing for me. I don’t have a desire to be his friend, hang out or anything. But I would like to see him happy. I would like to see everyone happy, it makes life a lot better when you’re surrounded by happy people.
So just remember, we all have bad days. Would you want someone to judge you only based on your worst day? When someone is having a bad day, cut them some slack, throw them a smile, buy them a coffee or just ask them how they are doing. If they don’t respond, well you did what you could, don’t let their bad day turn into yours.
Spread the positive vibes, believe it or not, it really can make someone’s day a little better. One smile at a time. 🙂