Perhaps that should instead read: Treat strangers and people you perceive as “not nice” the way you would treat your friends.
One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing.- Oscar Wilde
What’s sad about the above and the quote is that it doesn’t seem to be the case these days. It’s hard to find someone who will extend even the smallest kindness to a stranger, simply because they don’t know the person and as a result feel they owe them nothing. The stranger hasn’t done them any favors, so they won’t open the door by doing the stranger a favor.
It’s a pretty sad state of affairs, really.
I had this problem when I was in Amtgard where people honestly couldn’t figure out why I was helpful to everyone, even those who had done some fairly unkind things to me. My reasoning was simple, the work needed to be done, regardless of who was at the helm at the moment. I didn’t have to like the person in charge. I just had to like the game and the group I was working for.
The same mindset has actually served me well at work and worn down people who would have been just as happy to see me resign so that they are now helpful to me in return.
People who come across as mean may just be shy, or had a rough day. They may be distracted, not realizing that they’re being abrupt. Like the person you don’t know, the person you wish you didn’t know deserves a little courtesy, too. Who knows it might be just the thing to brighten up their day and their mood.
Not sure how to break your cycle of avoiding the stranger or the mean person? Check out these great tips from The Happiness Project!