My boyfriend told me that he had passed along the Be Nice.pamphlet to a few people. Apparently, one of them tried one of the suggestions the other day when he was in Buffalo, NY. The pamphlet suggests that one can offer to take someone’s cart as they are finishing loading their groceries in order to save them a trip. This man tried out this suggestion and the person with the cart was so shocked, he reached into his pocket as if to get a weapon. So of course the man who offered to take the cart ran off before he was hurt.
This is an important thing to remember: you must be protective of your safety. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t seem like a good idea to reach out and interact with someone, don’t do it. Even though I try to embody social courtesy in all my actions, I always consider my personal safety before I interact. If I am alone, I would think twice about talking to just anyone.
There are certain things I do without worry, like: holding doors open for people, saying excuse me if I need to get around someone or if I bump into someone, and saying thank you to those who do kind/courteous deeds. But there are some that I am more selective about, and those are typically the ones that involve initiating interaction without any particular context (i.e. I converse with a sales person or clerk because there is a context for my conversation with them–I am a customer; whereas talking to a perfect stranger with no apparent reason for initiating the conversation might make the stranger feel threatened or unsafe).
While it would be ideal that people could all be friendly and courtious all the time, it is most important that we be safe. So, please do be mindful always of your safety, and remember: it is our positive, compassionate attitude that makes the biggest difference in every interaction we have every day.
© Be Nice. Creator and Be Nice. (somethingsonice.wordpress.com), 2008-2009.