I was going to blog about friendship today, but I changed my mind after a visit to Twitter just now.
Tonight, someone I follow, and chat with and like, had been given a hard time at some point today by someone who didn’t know when to hold their tongue.
As a child, I was taught that, if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything.
When did it become ok not to heed this advice? When did it become ok to call someone on their opinion in a way that shows not just that you kind-of-might-not-agree (perfectly acceptable of course, we’re all entitled to an opinion), but that you think the person is a complete fool/wrong for even having that opinion? You may think it, doesn’t mean you absolutely have to say it.
Unfortunately it’s easy for people to be unkind and aggressive when they’re on the end of a keyboard.
Being kind doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice truth at all times, but there are ways of saying things. There are ways not to say things.
We all seem to be losing our ‘nice’ filter.
I have interviewed a lot of people for jobs in my working life. Many, especially these days, ask for feedback if they are unsuccessful at interview. I don’t tell them what they did ‘wrong’, I suggest what they could do next time. I always try to find something positive in the experience, even if it was only that their CV was professionally presented.
And not just in our words can we be unkind, but our actions too.
So many little things you can do every day that might make a difference to someone else. Things that cost nothing. Smile. Say thank you. Let out that car at the junction. Make someone at work an unexpected coffee….
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”. ~Leo Buscaglia
Kindness has the potential to turn a life around?
Think that’s nonsense?
What if, by letting that car out, the driver makes it on time to work or to an appointment for which they were going to be late? How much better that person will feel.
What if that person I interviewed took on board my advice and got the next job they applied for, rather than thinking they were worthless and not applying for any more?
We won’t know these things are a result of that small act of kindness but does it matter?
No-one is suggesting for a minute you become some kind of doormat and put up with all kinds of squit. I’m not suggesting you put up with bigots, racists, homophobes, violence…. Nor am I so naive to think that everyone will always be kind. But my mum always used to say “just because X does Y or Z doesn’t mean you have to do the same”.