Be nice goddamnit

How often are you nice?
Seriously? How often do you greet a stranger on the street, how often do you hold a door for a woman, child, or elderly person, how often do you cover somebody that’s short a buck or two at the grocery store, how fucking often are you nice?
Or are you one of those people that never says a word or acknowledges anybody else’s existence, doesn’t want to be wherever and is bound and determined to make everybody else as miserable as you are?
Or do you fall in between? Help out if needed but pretty much antisocial otherwise?

I gotta tell you, the world would be a much nicer place if we were all kumbuya and shit, but I think most people fall into the ‘fuck you’ category and some fall into the ‘I’ll help if needed’ slot.

I probably fall somewhere in between being nice and being antisocial. If I’m in a familiar setting with familiar faces like the grocery store, I’m friendly as fuck. And truth be known, I try to help out when I can no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
If I’m uncomfortable or in an unfamiliar place, I treat others pretty much they way they treat me, but I think that’s common with most folks. Gotta get past that initial apprehension, you know? I very seldom find myself in a situation where I’m openly hostile, mostly because I don’t put myself in those situations anymore when I can help it. I don’t go to bars, I avoid crowds and I don’t go to trouble – if trouble wants me, it’ll come to me.

I’ve noticed that most of the fuck you crowd are younger. They are so self absorbed nowadays that they just don’t give a flying fuck about anybody else. They’re the ones doing 55 in the fast lane because they don’t give a fuck about other traffic, they’re the ones that are blasting rap crap at the intersections, they’re the ones that are rude to old folks.

The next step up, the antisocial crowd, seems to be mostly folks in the 30s and 40s on up. For the most part they’re somewhat considerate – when they don’t have their heads up their asses. I can’t say a lot about these folks. They try – sometimes, but mostly when other people are looking. But at least they’re not openly rude and disrespectful.

It seems that for the most part with a few exceptions, the folks that are the most civil are the older folks from their 50s on up. I was in the post office the other day mailing a package and there was a young guy in line that had one letter and needed one stamp. He flagged down a postal clerk and asked if they sold single stamps and before the clerk could say yes, 4 older women on either side of them started digging through their purses to give him one. They just saved him 10 minutes of wait time and 50 cents. A small gesture but very much appreciated and when I commented that that was very nice of them, they all just smiled and shrugged. Small but not insignificant – it made at least 6 people that I know of feel good.

Sadly enough, I don’t think the age difference in the groups is because they’ve mellowed any with age. I think it’s because of the way each generation was raised and that’s fucked up. If the younger folks treat the older ones like shit now, what’s it going to be like when they’re the old folks?
You reap what you sow.

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25 Responses to Be nice goddamnit

  1. John s says:

    I am always nice, so fuck you! Oops.

  2. Rob says:

    I guess I fall somewhere in the middle.. sometimes I’m the nice guy and sometimes I don’t give a fuck..
    For those that don’t know, there is an art to not giving a fuck.
    http://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck

  3. Robert says:

    I always open doors for people when I can, the older folks smile and say thanks, the younger one’s sometimes do, but more often then not they just walk in and don’t say a word.
    I’ve had many people of all ages look at me with surprise when I open a door for them, it saddens me that it’s such a rarity that it surprises them when someone shows a small act of kindness…

    The story about the stamps reminds me of the times I’ve been behind someone in line at the store and they were a few cents short so I helped cover them, it’s not much, really, but if were going to change the world, we have to lead by example..

    And in case your curious, I’m 46…

  4. F Thompson says:

    In Southwest Florida the roads are loaded with rage rovers (usually armed) and old folks who’ve had their left turn signal on since they left Ohio. Since I desire neither a 75 mph gun battle, nor to scare the wits out of an oldtimer – oldtimeress, I exercise my new found ability toward patience. It’s amazing how fewer assholes there are on the road if you leave for your destination ten minutes earlier.

    • Wirecutter says:

      I’ve got a 45 minute to an hour drive to work, I leave an hour and a 45 minutes early. That gives me plenty of time to get there and time for a dump and my morning paper after I arrive.

  5. Terry says:

    A very profound observation. My wife and I ARE in fact older and
    chat folks up most always. When we go into California and try to be openly
    friendly, half the time it’s met with suspicion. We live in rural communities and
    the post office is the old trading post for neighborly information.
    A lot of young ones are so entitled they give a shit less about others. They would
    rather text than talk.

  6. Lazarus Long says:

    I live in a small Vermont village full of Bernie Voters and yet the gentle hand of neighborliness is everywhere.

  7. drjim says:

    “I think it’s because of the way each generation was raised”

    DING, DING, DING! We have a winner!

    I was raised to respect women, protect children, and honor military people, especially if they’re in uniform.

    I always hold the door open for women, children, military, and old folks, and most of them thank me. The young ones I do it for just breeze on through the door oblivious to everything around them, and act like I’m supposed to do that for them.

    I’m almost to the point where I want to time it so I get through, and they slam into the now closed door, staring at their iThing, and wondering what hit them….

  8. Angel says:

    I’m disgustingly, stupidly nice.
    I need to knock that shit off.

    • Elmo says:

      Please don’t. The world needs all the good guys it can get.

      BTW, have you noticed that the expression ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ is true?

      • The Old Man says:

        DING DING DING!!! Ladies and gentlemen NOW we have a winner. My kids were schooled in TANSTAAFL and “NGDGU”. They are rather nifty adults….

  9. Alemaster says:

    “Sir” and “Madam” to everyone. Hold the door open for all. Laugh at idjits on the highway. Always open the car door and seat Ms Alemaster, The Prosecutor, even at the table at home. Born, raised, and live in the South, am really old, and always armed. I think I’m pretty polite. regards, Alemaster

  10. Bill says:

    I’m always amazed at the way people drive. I drive the speed limit or maybe a tad less. Most of my driving is on the back roads here in northern Michigan. I try to stick to them whenever possible. When I do go to town I don’t have a choice. People come flying up behind me, ride my ass and then pass when they can. A lot of them flip me off as they drive by. I smile and 90% of the time I usually see them again at the first stoplight I come to. They usually look away or pretend they don’t see me. Cracks me up. I’m 62. Not too old but old enough to know how people want to be treated. I do what I can to be nice and think about others. We homeschooled our two kids and both of them are kind to others. My son especially. Kindness goes a long way. I’m always amazed at how much more the guys I work around will do when I bring a box of donuts, which I do quite often. A fresh sweet roll and a cup of coffee help break the ice and help any day off to a great start.

  11. Randy says:

    Alemaster is among a fair percentage of Southerners of all ages who retain manners. I for the most part am the same. Yes, some of the young here are less genteel, but often mellow with maturity.
    This is part of our Southern culture, but it is being slowly diluted by migration from other areas.
    You will notice a big difference when you move to Tennessee, Kenny, as I did 40 years ago moving to North Georgia from Miami.

  12. Rick says:

    I try to hold the door for anyone close by, but the one group that I can count on turning their nose up and acting like that’s my job, is the entitlement crowd. The ones who have held their hands out, and been on the dole all their lives
    I still do it, but more and more ask myself “Why do I even bother?”

  13. Down here in the down-east of NC, opening a door still draws a smile and a “thanks” more often than not. But call a young lady “ma’am” and they don’t know WTF to do with that!

  14. B says:

    Hold the door when I can, even if I have to wait for a few seconds.

    Be polite if you will let me.

    Say M’am to all ladies, Treat all women nicely until they prove they aren’t a lady.

  15. Jeff Lasure says:

    We’re manners people. On the road and off. I wasn’t raised that way, but I’ve found it works better than being a cunt all the time. It’s funny I see this tonight, because the wife and I were just talking about the lack of manners in modern society. I’ve noticed it in all age groups. Hostility, rudeness, disrespect, meh. I blame it on modern “culture”. It’s all a big joke at this point anyway. Happy New year

  16. Tsquared says:

    Besides holding open a door I will see someone in the grocery store parking lot and offer to take their shopping cart. But it is usually for selfish reasons. I have a bum knee and holding onto a shopping cart makes it easier to walk. It sucks getting old.

  17. singlestack says:

    I’m always nice and polite. I’m a Southerner through and through and that’s our culture. My parents, who were themselves very polite, emphasized politeness in our upbringing and it’s been habit all my life.
    Around here it isn’t unusual to see drivers wave others ahead of them in traffic, or just wave to other drivers as they pass. (that really freaks yankees out)
    Men, women, and children hold doors for each other, call each other Sir and Maam, cover change shortages, nod and say hello to strangers, and many other simple acts of kindness and civility. It’s not a big deal, it’s just the way the world should be so we make it that way.

  18. I fall somewhere in the middle but more toward the nice range. I do have a short fuse when it comes to stupid questions or demands & the events of my work day can make me quite mercurial at times,but I try. At 41 I guess I fall pretty squarely into WC’s pie chart.

  19. Snallygaster says:

    “The young people today play their music too loud, and don’t listen to their elders” -Socrates.

    Point being, this isn’t a new problem. It’s an age old one.

  20. Gator says:

    I’m always polite to everyone, call pretty much everyone sir and ma’am. Just how I was raised to be. My dad wouldn’t put up with me being rude when I was younger, and if you are made to act like that, at least in my opinion, it sticks with you and becomes habit. I’m 30 years old and I always hold the door open for strangers. I’ve noticed the same as you guys with who seems appreciative and who pays no attention.

    I have a son a little over two, and EVERY time I go into a door with my whole family, I always say ‘hold the door open for the ladies’ and we hold the door open for my wife who is also usually carrying our infant daughter. Also hold it open if anyone else is behind us. He gets a lot of compliments on that. He will be raised right.

  21. Concerned Mama says:

    I’m more in the kind category, but having said that, there is a fierce mama bear that has come out when warranted a few times. I homeschool the kidlet crowd, and we have really drilled the manners and courtesy thing. Some days the kidlets are better at it than others, but they are slowly making progress the right direction. I was raised from Southern stock, so if we didn’t yes ma’am, no sir, we’d have got our hides tanned by our folks, or any aunt/uncle/grandparent that witnessed the infraction. I don’t make the kidlets do sir/ma’am because people just don’t know how to deal with it anymore, but I do insist on please/thank you/eye contact. It always surprises folks that my crew will talk to anyone of any age and be comfortable with it. Shoot, if you’re not careful, they’ll cost up to you and can talk the hind leg off a mule while you chat with them. But, they’ll usually wait to join in until you invite them into the conversation.

    Again though, the mama bear instinct is strong. My mom used to say I’d beat the ever loving crap out of people that picked on my little brother. I was allowed to beat him up, but dont think of messing with him or I’d take care of it.

Play nice.