Be Nice

IMG_0048My husband and I tried a new restaurant the other night, and at first, we liked it very much.  Our waitress was friendly and knowledgable, the food was very good, and the atmosphere was great, as long as you ignored the young man in the chef’s jacket who occasionally wandered around the dining room, scowling at everything and everyone he saw.   After we had paid our bill, we stopped in the bar area to watch the last inning of the Cardinal game on the TV, and my husband chatted briefly with a few people who were also watching the game.  It all seemed friendly enough until the guy in the chef’s jacket walked by, rolled his eyes at us and muttered something under his breath.  I couldn’t catch exactly what he said, but I certainly caught that it wasn’t anything nice.

I thought it was odd that a restaurant would employ someone who was so surly to its customers until I checked its website and discovered that the man was actually a co-owner.   And that’s too bad, because even though we really liked the food and atmosphere at his restaurant, the co-owner’s rude behavior made such a bad impression that I doubt seriously if we will ever go back.  Maybe he was having a bad day, or maybe he was annoyed because his restaurant was only half full, or maybe he was offended that we were simply standing in the bar, watching the game, rather than ordering more drinks.  I honestly don’t know.  But I do know that, if he had just made the effort to be even a little bit nice, we would definitely have been repeat customers.

Because being nice matters.  If we want people to shop at our stores, eat at our restaurants, join in our groups,  help our causes, and or simply be our friends, we have to be nice to them.  If we want to draw people to us, we have to show them the same common decency and courtesy that we want others to show us.   Rudeness, anger and hostility, even when we believe it’s justified, does nothing more than drive people away.  Always has and always will.

I believe that something as simple as being nice can help build the bridges that are so desperately needed to help people with different values and beliefs connect and communicate.  I know I am always willing to listen to someone else’s point of view, even a point of view that I believe is absolutely wrong, as long as the speaker isn’t resorting to ridicule or verbal attacks to make his or her point.  Being nice doesn’t mean not being passionate about our beliefs; it just means not using our beliefs as an excuse to be cruel to people who don’t happen to share them.

Being nice is about connecting with other people.  It’s about living peacefully with those who are different from us.  It’s about creating a life for ourselves full of interesting and diverse people who can support us, our families, our businesses, our causes, etc., if we can just remember to treat them the same way we want to be treated.  We all lose our tempers sometimes, and we all have our bad days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t always, always try to do better.  So please, let’s just be nice……

24 thoughts on “Be Nice

    • Thank you! Their website doesn’t have a section for comments, but I did think about saying something that night. In the end, I just kept silent. Not always the best way, but I wasn’t sure how it would go over.

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  1. You’re so right, Ann. I know it’s hard for a small business owner to always be on or upbeat because they may have something going on in their lives that we don’t know about, just as we all do. But somehow they either need to remove themselves from their customers that day or put up a good front. Of course there are always the small number of owners who are always less than nice. I don’t know how they stay in business but it won’t be with my support.

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    • I agree completely! I might just give that restaurant a second try, I haven’t quite decided yet. It is possible that the co-owner was having a lousy night, and perhaps we offended him without meaning to. But personally, when I know that I just don’t have it in me to be nice or polite to someone in a given situation, I just step back and don’t interact with people until I’m sure I can do it appropriately. If he wants to have a successful restaurant, that’s a skill he’s going to have to learn. Because I am like you, if someone is rude to me more than once, I am certainly not going to do business with them, or be in relationship with them!

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  2. When someone dials 911 we have to go. It’s not a choice for us like which restaurant you get to pick that night. Whatever emergency you are having is answered by the EMT or paramedic on that night. Sadly those folks may be taught many things about caring for a patient but they often aren’t taught the most important thing : to be nice and kind. Sure they may be having a terrible shift but I feel the act of kindness can often equal any medication given. Same goes to our patients : remember that you invited us to your house. Even though you may be sick, please show kindness to us too. All kindness is always a two way street and best given when mixed with empathy.

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    • Yes, kindness and consideration go a long way! I truly think understanding that is a part of growing up, and part of understanding what life is really all about it. It is not always easy, but being kind, even when we don’t feel like it, is just so important….

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  3. Pingback: Our Melons Are Going Strong! Other Things Too, But Melons! | The Family Blog

  4. Did you think to say something to the guy, Ann? I have done some training customer service and complaint resolution. One of the things I often mention is going to a restaurant where you were not happy with something and simply never going back. I tell our team that a customer complaint is a GIFT. If someone takes the time to tell you what they didn’t like or what you are doing wrong – you should thank them – because they are giving you an opportunity to change it / make it better. I wonder if you would have asked the guy – “Is there something we have done to upset you? Is something wrong?” I wonder what he might say? Such a shame that he made you feel so uncomfortable despite everything else so right. I hope you will let the restaurant know – and give them a chance to make right…. If you let them know and things still don’t change – then shame on them. Great point, though, about how being nice makes such a big difference. It is the small stuff that makes the biggest difference! 🙂

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    • I thought about it, but at the time, I was a little too miffed to say it nicely, so I just let it go. But honestly, thinking it might be a misunderstanding (maybe we had done something to offend him without realizing it), I am considering going back one more time. Because everyone else was very nice and professional, and I would hate to think of them losing their jobs because one of the owners didn’t understand that they can’t take their bad moods out on customers. But if we get the same treatment, I will definitely say, nicely but firmly, that we will not be back, and explain why. Because you are right…they need to know! I

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  5. While I was reading this post, I kept thinking of my mother saying “courtesy costs nothing” and then I got to BunKaryudo ‘s reply. When I say “great minds think alike” I’m talking about their grandmother and my mother 🙂

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  6. I’ve always worked in customer service and trully enjoyed being nice to people. Its not that hard to do. If you are having a bad day leave it at home and actually that is a good way to change your mood too. I hope you find a nicer place in the future. Their loss.

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