Staying nice even when everything around you is ugly isn’t the easiest thing in the world. And it seems like the majority of people have decided it’s just too hard to implement being nice when faced with criticism. I made a vow a couple of months ago that I would be nice no matter what. And yes, it’s been hard. And yes, I’ve slipped up a couple of times, because returning ugly for ugly gets to be a habit, and it becomes ingrained when it’s every-freakin’-where you look. But I pick myself up when I fall, dust myself off, and determine to be nice. And I’ve noticed that my incidents of being nice are now starting to outweigh my bouts of returning the ugly.
Unfortunately, I see more and more people turning to the dark side, people who should know better. Like this thing that happened last week. There’s this television series based on a book series that has pretty much taken the world by storm. The episode they aired a couple of weeks ago missed the mark with the majority of the books’ fans, myself included. A lot of them took to Twitter to express their disappointment/disgust/anger at the way the television series’ writers took a scene that was beautifully written in the books and turned it into an “Oh, okay. Let’s move on” moment.
Now, y’all know I abhor Twitter. I took a long, long break from Twitter for almost a year because every time I logged on the hate and ugliness were so pervasive and dense that it made me a meaner person. Seriously, after about a half-hour on Twitter I was ready to bitch-slap anyone I saw. Nice is pretty much right out the window when it comes to Twitter. I have begun getting back on the site every now and again because a lot of people do use it, and I don’t want to snub any of my readers who may count on Twitter for their main social interaction. My posts are few and far between, though, because I don’t want to get caught up in that Twitter nastiness again. In fact, I wouldn’t have even known about the fans of the aforementioned books posting about their feelings over that botched scene (and episode) except that the books’ author retweeted the replies posted by someone associated with the television show.
Instead of letting the fans of the books vent and move on, this person decided to engage, and not in a good way. He/She went on a rampage defending the show and pretty much told anyone who didn’t like the episode they were complete and utter idiots and fools, and wouldn’t know artistry if it jumped up and bit them in the ass. These fans, who saw the artistry in the way the author wrote the scene, responded, and things escalated quickly.
Since the author of the books was busily retweeting all this vitriol spewed by the person associated with the television series, it spread like wildfire. (Even though the author, when pressed, admitted that they were disappointed in the scene that sparked the outrage, but rightly pointed out that it wasn’t his/her call since the TV production didn’t have to follow the storyline at all since they bought the rights.) Why he/she thought it necessary to fan the flames, especially because only the television crew member’s hysteria-filled tweets were the only things to be retweeted is beyond me. I finally had to unfollow the author because things were getting out of hand and nothing about it was nice. Nothing. Everyone who read these tweets ended up hurt, or angry, or depressed, or just feeling bad about everything in general. What a waste of time.
Another instance of an inappropriate response happened last night. I decided to upgrade my email newsletter account to a paid one to take advantage of some of the premium services they offer. Apparently, and unbeknownst to me, the company that handles the plugin for their service (and the plugin is what makes my newsletter subscription forms show up here on my website) is not the same company that owns the site where I compose and send the newsletters. Their names are almost the same, but they are completely different companies. So when I signed up for the upgrade and paid for it, I was actually signing up for a premium account with the plugin people, not the newsletter site.
I realized this when I received the invoice, and immediately contacted PayPal to stop the payment, and if it had gone through I wanted a full refund, now. Of course, you have to give a reason because they’d like to know if something shady is going on, so I wrote that the plugin company concealed the fact that they weren’t part of the email service site, and I had bought something I didn’t want.
I got my refund, no problem. I have to hand it to them for that. What I don’t have to hand it to them for is the snarky message from someone named Liz. She apologized for “the inconvenience” but then added that it was clear the plugin was different from the email service if I had “just looked.” Babe, I did look. I don’t just go handing out sums of money without checking into who will get it first. A good businessperson would have just apologized for the mix up, refunded my money, and let it go. But since Liz felt it necessary to add a bit of ugliness to the transaction, I will be watching this plugin very, very carefully from now on to make sure it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. And what it’s supposed to do is subscribe you to my newsletter list and automatically and immediately send you a copy of Heart of Gold. So if you sign up and don’t get your book, let me know ASAP. In the meantime, I’ll be searching around for another newsletter service provider because my trust is now in the toilet for both the plugin and the newsletter site. And it’s all thanks to Liz not being nice.
There’s way too much Liz in our world today. So I’d like to invite you to join me in being nice. This does mean that you might have to bite your tongue at times until it bleeds, but adding to the general ugliness is not only putting it out there in the world, it also smears itself all over you and ends up making you feel bad. That temporary high you get from telling someone to get hell out of the middle of the grocery store aisle just ends up putting you in a foul mood for the next person you run across.
Saturday my husband and I did our twice-yearly bulk shopping trip, and the store was beyond crowded. I’m not a fan of crowds anyway, and it seemed everyone was going out of their way to get right in front of us and either come to a dead halt or get right in front of something we needed and not move. One lady did it over and over again, like she’d planned it. But she didn’t plan it. She didn’t even realize she was in our way for, like, four aisles. My husband finally had enough and blew past her as he muttered to me that we’d come back down that aisle for what we needed later. As I passed the woman I noticed she looked vaguely irritated and out of sorts, and it hit me that she probably didn’t like the crowded condition of the store, either. No telling how many people had inconvenienced her before she got in front of us. So as I passed her, I complimented her handbag. It wasn’t anything especially pretty, just your plain brown Louis Vuitton bag, but it was a nice shape and size. So I just said, “I like your handbag. It’s such a perfect size.” The irritation on her face vanished, and she smiled and thanked me. I felt better. She felt better. And all it took was two short sentences to someone who was bugging the crap out of me ten seconds earlier.
Hey, it’s not always that way. Some people look at me like I’m crazy for saying something nice to them. But you know what? Not my circus, not my monkeys. I put a little nice out there in the world. Perhaps if everyone put some nice out then people wouldn’t see it as so out of the ordinary, right?
I always make sure my newsletter is full of nothing but nice, too. So if you’d like your email to give you good, fun, happy news, subscribe! You’ll get a free book and everything! (And if you don’t get that book immediately, let me know!) Win-win.
And spread the nice!