So this is the end of the first week of being REALLY good.
It’s been hard work. So far, I have:
BEEN NICE TO STRANGERS!
- complimented the supermarket checkout girl on her beautiful orange hair;
- wished the checkout boy success with his upcoming school exams;
- said ‘What a lovely bright skirt’ to someone in the bathroom at work (we’re talking tight bright yellow flowered over a bum which would do Nicki Menage proud, and good on her!);
- told the beauty salon lady she was looking remarkably well (for all I know, I don’t really remember how she was looking before) and had an excellent memory (which IS true – she remembered the details of my love life which I told her last time. But maybe that’s cause it’s SO interesting!);
- Told the Indian cook at the takeaway restaurant how my mum really loves his vegetarian food (which she does, even though she’s a meat-eater).
So how do I feel? Elated? Sanctified? NO! TIRED!!
I’m normally quite nice to people, in a passive sort of way. I sometimes compliment people if I feel like it, and if I like them – otherwise, I just observe and file. But that’s what changing habits is. TIRING. Still…
Being nice to strangers is all very well but it only takes a couple of seconds and it’s over (much like Hugh Hefner). Being nice to someone you know and hate is MUCH harder. So in the middle of the week, I set myself a challenge –
BE NICE TO THE BOSS
who is an appallingly irritating (if, I think, generally well-meaning) human being. So I took her aside under the guise of wanting performance feedback, sat through ten minutes of sage advice on how to suck eggs, and then said ‘I’d like to give YOU some feedback, if you wouldn’t mind’. It was worth it just to see her blench, set her jaw, and say through gritted teeth, ‘ Of course.’ Because people have told her before that she can be a little difficult.
Well, I said, I’d like to tell you that I’ve really appreciated your STRONG sense of direction, and I can see that you really TRY to be pleasant to people – not that you aren’t already , I hasten to lie, I mean add – but you clearly put a lot of effort into being a better manager, and that’s great.
Phew! Thinking about it later, though, I wondered if I’d done the right thing. After all, this woman now feels validated. She’ll think, when faced with another cowering subordinate, ‘it’s not me, it’s THEM’. So maybe constructive criticism would have better. Braver. Too brave, actually, I’ll leave that for further down the karma trail.
3 POINTS (minus 1 for lying)
NOW FOR THE BIG ONE! BE ESPECIALLY NICE TO MY FAVOURITE MUM! (not the other one)
Mr F (who surely ought to get a LEETLE of the karma) and I spent all afternoon making a chocolate mousse cake for mum, which we duly took over and presented to her, along with a large bunch of daisies. It took us all afternoon because I forgot to read the recipe properly (no whisk!) and had to go to the shops, and because I had the bright idea of putting the egg whites in the milkshake maker, to make them ‘glossy with soft peaks’. Instead we got egg-white milkshake.
Anyway, you can’t go wrong when a thing has THAT much chocolate in it, and so indeed it proved when we took it to mum’s place. She was happy and surprised ‘It’s not even mother’s day!’ and spent an enjoyable hour trying to convert Mr F’s Attila-the Hun like political views to something a little more left of centre. Mr F, from his full manly height, gave his grandma not one but two big hugs, and she said she’d been feeling a bit down before, but was now feeling ‘much more cheerful’.
Mr F volunteered that ‘that was a good thing to do’, so he obviously felt uplifted by the whole thing too. I’m being a bit dry here, but really I love my mum to bits (and I said so) and I feel alright too about having gone to a little extra trouble. Plus, we got to keep the extra chocolate mousse.
After all this effort, I now feel like being – not nasty – but sort of relaxed and relatively uncaring. Caring is a lot like hard work. Sometimes I’d much rather read a book, that’s why I’m an introvert. A few days rest though and I’ll be back on the karma trail, trying EVEN harder to reach those 500 points.
And the point of all this? Not just to be nice, ourselves, but to make a positive difference to other people. After all, if they don’t view it as a plus, WE get no points! It’s not all about US. For once.
And here are Captain Savage and me, making ourselves look REALLY dorky! But we had lots of fun doing it!