It’s coming around slowly. I don’t always think about it, I don’t always do it. But when I do, it becomes one of those sparkly little bubbles that burst inside of me.
I’m talking about inpromptu interactions with others.
Now I know what you are thinking. Or at least what I am thinking. I don’t need new friends, I’m too busy, I’m too shy, I’m too awkward. Strangers might have cooties. I know — it’s a common misconception. (Strangers don’t always have cooties).
But I’m talking about saying something nice or making someone smile. Usually its just in passing, but there’s something about catching someone off-guard with a complement or gesture that leaves a smile lingering on both their lips and yours for some time to come.
Went to Irishfest this past weekend. A marvelous place for true-blooded and adopted Irishmen/women. Lotta love during and between songs. I saw this man waving to someone behind me, obviously getting their attention to where he was sitting. As I was walking by I leaned in and waved back. He laughed, I laughed, and I kept walking. Another granny had green flowers tucked through her grey locks. Looked special — and I told her so. I was taken with a young girl’s skirt at work, and told her so. She was delighted with her thank you, and so was I. Another woman at work has been wearing more “girly” tops, and I thought she looked great. Instead of just nodding and moving on, I told her so.
I have complemented sparkly sandals and bold necklaces. Sharp-looking men’s shirts and grandmother’s sweaters. Each time there is that nanosecond where the recipient is surprised (is she talking to me?) caught in their eye like a thief on tape. Their thank-you is always gracious, and I watch them walk away with a smile. And I wonder — why is it so hard to be nice to someone?
There is enough terrorism in the world to fill 10 planets. Enough sadness, enough psychos. Why not take someone else’s mind off their problems for a half-second and say something nice to them or about them?
Fashion is a favorite topic. I enjoy people who dress for themselves. Anything between a subtle and over-the-top statement always makes me smile. I might not wear what they wear, look how they look, but I appreciate their efforts. Just like it takes one second to bend down and say “hello” to babies and their parents or to laugh with a stranger about the rain or having to go back to work. You don’t have to know somebody to say something nice. Something funny.
So if it’s so easy to smile or nod why is it so hard to say something nice?
It’s getting passed the uncomfortableness of leaving your own space, if only for a second, and entering someone else’s special space. Maybe we’re afraid that our efforts will be rebuffed. That someone will give us “that look” and egos will be recrushed and hearts rebroken. It’s tender territory in there — that’s why you can do both parties such good.
I try to do three a day. I’ve been falling behind most days. It’s not that I’m not a nice person — it’s just that most of the time my mind is off wandering three zones ahead of me, and the realization that I’ve really “liked” something comes in a delayed reaction.
Try complimenting someone at work or at a party or shopping at Walmart. Give it the ‘ol college try. You’ll be surprised the sunshine you’ll bring to the world.
Either that or someone will think you goofy — which, in the end, isn’t too bad a way to be viewed either —