Being Kinder Than Necessary (and Happy New Year!)

Hello party people – I hope for those that celebrate, that Christmas and/or Boxing Day was a great one for you!  During my few days off, I started the little details of the wedding, hung out with friends, and got my read on.  I finally finished Serena which I really liked (and can’t wait to see the movie in early 2014), and Sharp Objects which was an intriguing read but the end was as head scratching as Gone Girl (though yes, I’m seeing the movie).  I also started reading Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls since I’m a big fan of David Sedaris (and his live readings are awesome), The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year Old Boy with Autism, as well as The Millionaire Next Door, all of which I have no problem counting with my 24 book quota for 2014 despite beginning in 2013. 😉  They’ve been great reads so far, and there’s been a few a-ha moments with the latter which I’ll probably write about once I finish.

I also took advantage of all this free time to book all my annual physicals, got a much needed dental procedure completed, returned/bought presents with others (like their shopping wingwoman – I convinced a couple of them to forgo purchases, go PF Me ;)), and got my driver’s license renewal at the DMV.  At the DMV, despite having an appointment at 8 in the morning, as soon as they opened, the systems were down and didn’t start working until around 9.  It was a bit frustrating to say the least, but what was more frustrating was how the customers would treat the DMV employees.  One brash guy came up to the counter demanding what was going on, and as the DMV employee was explaining it to him, halfway through he waved his hand as if to demand that person to stop and grumpily said he was waiting in a section to sit down.

Another time, a young woman came up to the counter and when the DMV employee let her know that the system was down, she stated, “Well, let me explain to you my situation…” and proceeded to explain her dilemma.  Afterward, the employee said, “I understand, but the system is still down,” and the girl then proceeded to walk away and (kind of tantrum-like in my perspective) stated, “well when it’s back up, do I have to wait in line after all these people?!”  WTPoo?!

Finally, when the DMV employee was handing out Post-Its with numbers so that the crowd wouldn’t bum-rush the counter since the system was going to be up and running soon, as she handed me my number, the lady next to me stated “I think I was here before her,” meaning me.  The lady seemed contentious, and though I was slightly peeved at her saying this because I was obviously before her, I decided to play it cool because 1) it wasn’t a big deal since maybe she’s late for work and I have the day off, 2) she had a cane and neck brace so maybe she was ahead of me like in the parking lot but I just happened to walk faster?, 3) maybe she’s on meds from her neck brace and just not thinking straight, and 4)  it was literally the difference between having #2 and #3.

So, I just smiled politely, gave her the #2 post-it, and said, “Here you go.”  The lady looked like she felt embarrassed, and though that was kind of a motive, I mostly did it because I try to live by the “be kinder than necessary” quote.  For her, I can see that she’s fighting some physical battle, so perhaps this tiny bit of action helped her.

And, I know that the probability of the irate customers reading this is slim to none, but it is my hope that there’s moments when it dawns on them that it pays more to be kinder than not, and that, most importantly – that the employees are people.  I’m 100% confident that they didn’t go into the office in the middle of the night, checked out the appointment roster, and said “Oh, F this guy, I’m shutting the system down so he’ll have to wait and suffer, muhahahaha.”  So whether it’s the DMV, mall employees, waiters/waitresses, or any service-oriented employees – be kind, people.  Some jobs are already pretty suck-ass as it is, so have some compassion and patience, and realize that some things are beyond their control.  As it is yours, so relax!  And be happy!  Life is good. 🙂

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Happy New Year!  I’ll most likely sleep by 9 to do a long run on the 1st since that’s my version of greeting the new year, so enjoy the midnight festivities for me. 🙂

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41 thoughts on “Being Kinder Than Necessary (and Happy New Year!)

    • Oh man, after re-reading, it sounded like I was martyring myself which wasn’t my intention. I just wish people would take a chill pill every now and then. 🙂 Happy almost 2014!!

  1. Love this, Anna. I’ve been working harder at trying to be kinder than necessary when I really want to smack annoying people. 🙂 Sounds like you got a ton done in a very short period of time – woohoo!

    • Haha, there’s definitely moments where my limits are tested, as well, but thankfully my fear of not landing in jail usually prohibits me from doing so (well, and I probably have a weak punch ;)). Hope you have a great New Year’s, my friend!

  2. Some people are really not well. Good for you for “killing them with kindness”. Those poor DMV workers probably deal with those kind of people and attitudes everyday. Nobody wants to be there, but there’s no reason to treat those employees poorly because they just so happen to work there. Happy New Year!

    • Exactly my thoughts, KK!! I don’t know how the DMV workers do it (they weren’t really smiling or all that friendly, but honestly after days/weeks/years or that, I don’t think I would be either), but I just wish people would treat each other a little better. Happy New Year, hope you don’t experience anymore power outages and stay warm!!

  3. Love this! It’s such a great reminder to always remember to be kind. Even through frustrations or difficulties, it can make such a difference! I had a similar experience when I was riding a bus this past weekend and we were MAJORLY delayed – I was actually overwhelmed by how kind everyone was. A great reminder that you can turn any annoying situation into a positive one 🙂 Happy almost 2014!

    • Aww, I love hearing stories where if a bad situation happens, people are still kind and spirits are still high – there’s hope yet, and I agree it makes all the difference! Happy 2014, Kelly, oh man, so close for you until your big day!!! 🙂 I truly hope you have a wonderful year!

  4. Thanks for sharing that story with us, Anna – I definitely need a reminder to live “kinder than necessary” more often than not. Too often I just have no patience for people, and it’s hard for me to stop and remember that I have no idea what kind of battle they are fighting (and everyone is dealing with something). So this was a perfect post for me going into the new year 🙂

    Also, nice job on all the books read! Reading more is a goal of mine in 2014.. I just didn’t make time for it this year and I want to change that! I did read the David Sedaris one, though, he’s one of my favorites! I haven’t been to a live reading yet, but now you’ve got me thinking I should try to make it sometime. I’ve got Gone Girl on my Kindle but haven’t started it yet, but your comment has me intrigued, so maybe I’ll start that one next!

    Hope you have a great last-day-of-2013, and enjoy your run tomorrow! Happy New Year!

    • Aw, thanks for your kind words, Kali! David Sedaris is pretty hilarious live – he has the best delivery! I’d also love to hear your thoughts on Gone Girl – I didn’t want to give too much away (so I decided to give none lol), but I’m curious about what others think about it.

  5. I try to do this as much as possible. All Christmas break (and leading up to it) I tried to not let these things get to me (except for the guy who essentially body-checked me to get one person closer to the front of the line… Seeing the spot doesn’t call dibs!) and be overly courteous and personable. It helped a lot, because it sort of makes other people realize they are being silly. I am not condescending, but then they seem more likely to pay it forward.

    Happy New Year Anna.

    • Wow, Alicia, you pretty much stated what I attempted to convey and just didn’t. 😉 Indeed, I don’t want to feel like I’m condescending or being a martyr, but I do feel that if people sometimes switch anger/frustration into kindness, it’ll help more than hurt situations. That’s kinda gross about the guy, though, I don’t think I would be cool with that at all! Happy New Year to you, Alicia, it’s been great getting to know you (well, so to speak), this past month! 🙂

  6. I mostly see opposite happening at the DMV where the employees treat the customers like annoying bugs. In any case, I like your story. I think common sense and common courtesy go a long way in life, but it seems like it got lost in this culture. You’re bringing it back girl~ Happy New Year~

    • Indeed, the DMV people weren’t very friendly to be honest (well, one was, and the other employees were kind of making fun of her, which was a little sad to see), but after an hour of seeing such rudeness from customers I can kind of see why they might not be so friendly. I agree, though, common courtesy and manners could do so much! Happy New Year to you, Michelle!! Much love and prayers to you and your family for a wonderful 2014. 🙂

  7. Having worked in the service industry I know what it feels like to have been “behind the counter” so I try and be as polite and friendly as possible. Sometimes people get mad because of their own situation or because the CS rep is being rude, but maybe they’re having a bad day too. Its always best to put your own feeling aside and just get through it as best as possible. Have a Happy New Year and all the best in 2014!

    • I agree, Morgaine – I worked a couple of service industry jobs and I think that’s maybe why I have more patience than not (not all are friendly and I realize that, but I like your thoughts about perhaps they’re having a bad day, too). I agree about putting your feelings aside and just be as friendly as possible, really great thoughts!! Happy New Year to you, as well, my friend!! 🙂

  8. OH the DMV just brings out the awesomeness in human behavior, doesn’t it? I’ve seen both horrible customers and personally I think they do hire horrible people. Or maybe they are nice when they first start but the wear and tear of the job just beats them into submission. Who knows…but no matter where the DMV…the energy is just bad there. That was really nice of you to do that with the numbers. It’s a good exercise in patience, isn’t it?

    • I wonder about DMV employees, too, and I think I lean towards that they’ve probably been torn down over the weeks/months/years and just become disgruntled (not all were like that, but most). I think it could be discouraging when you know that you’re going into a job where having to deal with an irate customer (or more) a day is more probable than not… but, who really knows, I guess it’s like the chicken or the egg thing. But agreed, I didn’t really understand where the lady was coming from, but if giving her the number was her win for the day, then it’s all good. Happy New Year, Tonya! 🙂

  9. A great reminder to start out the new year, Anna. I’ve always believed what you put out in the world is what you get back. And as annoyed as I’m sure I would have been at the DMV office, like you said, it wasn’t the employees fault. I’m sure the last thing they wanted was for their system to go down, put them behind schedule and deal with even testier customers. I try to remind myself in these situations that as much as an annoyance it may be in the moment, over my lifetime, it won’t be something I’ll even remember, so why get so worked up? Of course, I’m not always perfect at remembering to do this all the time. LOL! Happy New Year, Anna! Here’s to another great year!

    • That is a great point, Shannon – in the grand scheme of things, this small moment won’t matter over the course of your life, so relax! I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to this, as well (who knows how I would have reacted if I was in a rush?), but it’s something I would like to work on more. Happy New Year, here’s to another awesome year, indeed! 😀

  10. Why am I not surprised that you gave that lady your number sweet Anna? 🙂 I’m not as nice as you but I do try to remind myself to have patience and kill people with kindness because life is good! p.s. I really think you should try to stay up till at least 9:30pm on NYE! 😛

    • Agreed, kill them with kindness is a great tool (doesn’t always work, but I can try at least). LOL, okay, GMD, just for you, I’ll stay up until 9:30! 😉 Happy New Year to you and J!! 🙂

    • I agree, Charles, things aren’t going to get better if they berate them, so relax! Aww, hope your nice attitude surpasses March this year. 🙂 Happy New Year to you, as well!!

  11. Thanks for this! I’ve been cranky lately and it’s good to remember everyone is going through their own stuff, so just be kind. I’m getting over a cold, so will be spending the evening in as well. I hope you have a nice holiday and great run. Let’s start the new year off right!

    • So sorry to hear you had a cold, my dear – I think you said you were feeling better, but I hope that’s the case! I do admit, I’ll get a little cranky if I don’t feel well, too, but I try my best to put on a smile (unless the person isn’t very kind, then it becomes more challenging). Happy New Year!!

  12. That was really sweet of you! I probably would have done the same, though we don’t have appointments at our DMV. It’s pretty much a rush to get there first to get a good number. Everyone dreads it because you’ll likely be there for hours, and the employees there aren’t very pleasant. Still, I wish more people would realize that those who work for the public are simply human, too, and that we deserve kind treatment just like anyone else. Happy New Year!

    • Exactly, I wish people would treat others like someone close to them, you know (or imagine how they would react if someone talked like that to their loved one). Yikes, no appointments must make the DMV scene way crazy! Hopefully they’ll have an appointment system soon, it’s a bit more efficient (when systems are up, that is!).

  13. I love it. The “be kinder than necessary” approach is absolutely a good one to live by. I dont think anyone ever looks back at a situation and says “I wish I had been a little ruder!”

    • Ha, great point, Jefferson!! Some of my friends think that’s the way to get what you want (to be stern/dogmatic) but it’s just not my style. I end up feeling too guilty!

  14. I absolutely love this! I never understood why people were so incredibly mean to the workers at the DMV. Yes, their system sucks and it’s always a long wait there, but that doesn’t mean the employees are doing it on purpose! You’ve definitely inspired me to always take the high road – kindness is underrated nowadays.

    • Thanks Lisa – I know, right?? It’s not their fault, so they shouldn’t be punching bags! I agree that kindness is underrated… I more often than not am surprised when people are kind right off the bat, which is kind of sad. Hope you had a great New Year, girl!

  15. Thanks for adding to my reading list… I’ll have to check out Sharp Objects since I liked Gone Girl. Well, I kindof liked Gone Girl. I couldn’t stop reading it because the characters were just such awful people I kept waiting for someone to be a redeeming person in it.

    • I totally agree, the characters are unlikable – I think maybe that’s her writing style? Sharp Objects was I think her first book so it’s not as smooth as Gone Girl, but it’s a fast read (and didn’t weird me out as much as Dark Places). Let me know how your thoughts on it!

  16. Way to be kinder than necessary! I get so peeved at people who yell at customer service reps who don’t have any control over the situation. Why do they feel like they need to fully explain their individual situation? If the system is down, the system is down. Most rational adults seem to turn into whiny cry-babies at the DMV. Have a great new year!

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