How to be nice even when you don’t want to be!

holding doorIt’s the end of another year, when we celebrate the holidays and spend time with all kinds of people. They may be family, relatives, friends, neighbors, or work associates. We may not always agree with many of them or approve of their decisions. Yet, we still need to get along — right?

But, how can we keep an open mind during this busy time of the year — not to mention during all 12 months of the year?

Real World Story: Just the other day, I became extremely frustrated by everyone that I encountered. It started when I walked into the gym. The guy in front of me did not hold the door open for me. In the elevator of an office building, a man rushed in just as the doors opened and before I had a chance to exit. Later, a young lady did not say “Thank you” when I held the door open for her.

I was utterly upset and annoyed by everyone’s lack of courtesy, lack of manners, lack of common sense. But then, I took a step back and reflected.                         Who exactly was impacted by the bad behavior — them or me? Me. And was this healthy or unhealthy? Unhealthy. I was obviously the one who was harboring resentment, not them. Duh!

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Set a positive intention. Before greeting people, tell yourself they will be wonderful encounters. For example, if you are going to a gathering, tell yourself you will meet as many unique and interesting people as possible, and that you will enjoy every second of it. If you’re greeting a customer, tell yourself you will deliver the best experience EVER to that customer.
  2. Stay focused. When you feel yourself starting to judge someone or thinking negative thoughts, do something physical – pinch your leg – to get back into the moment. Remember strategy #1 above.
  3. It’s not always about you. Believe it or not, not everyone has the same “rules” as you. Not everyone knows the “please” and “thank you” rule. Not everyone will behave the way you expect. So, you have a few choices. You can communicate, compromise, or simply let it go. I bet in the majority of cases, you’ll choose the latter. If so, your physcial and mental health will thank you for it.

Remember: We have to be nice, even when we don’t want to be. And like smiling, being nice can be contagious. So, when dealing with “different” people, stay positive and fill them with kindness. Who knows, being nice may just catch on or even go viral.

What do YOU do to treat people nicely? I’m looking forward to reading your comments below.

6 Responses to “How to be nice even when you don’t want to be!”


  1. 1 Julie CHan December 30, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Hi Barb, Love the picture of Peaches. Why are sleeping cats so darn cute?

    I’ve got a real world customer service story for you, and it’s a positive one. Eddie and I just got back from our 6th cruise on the Carnival Cruise Line. You may know that Carnival has had a rough couple of years with mechanical failures, stranded ships, and very unhappy customers. It seems that one of Carnival’s recovery strategies is a commitment to courtesy and customer service. Like I said, this was our 6th cruise and the difference in the attitude and helpfulness of the staff was noticeable. For the entire 5 days of the cruise, not one staff member that I encountered (not a single one) failed to greet me and offer assistance! And on top of that, they looked like they meant it (and I can spot a fake). I’m talking about even the lowliest cabin cleaner vacuuming the carpet on the “cheap” decks. One day in the cafeteria, a uniformed crew member who looked like he belonged on the bridge saw that our table needed clearing, so he stopped and cleared the table on his way through to obviously more important matters. That kind of attention really made me feel appreciated.

    Happy New Year,
    Julie Chan

  2. 2 bnkhozam December 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Julie! Wow, sounds like your experience was memorable. It makes me want to go on a cruise! It give me hope that great customer service is still possible.

  3. 3 Aladdin Marzouk December 31, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Dear Barbara :),

    I believe that being positive and being a happy person as a human before anything else is a critical issue. I always ask others to be happy and positive because you will never grow old when you follow that rule.

    As for business, I call happiness as a virus because when you greet the customer and smile to him you will see the reflection as if you were looking at the mirror. Customers always smile back and become happy even though they had so many troubles on their shoulders, that time you can build a great business relationship with the customer and your sales even become easier to make. Therefore, it is critical to avoid getting tired of being nice.

    Thank you for your Great post Barbara on your blog, Have a lovely day.

  4. 5 bloginfinitetraining January 22, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Excellent quote “And like smiling, being nice can be contagious” is how you see and funny or jovial moment spread around an office : )


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