N is for Nice – Be Nice for the Sake of Being Nice

Today’s world is full of opportunities to be negative and knock someone else’s achievements, viewpoints, status etc. The question is, why? Doesn’t creating harmony, positivity and celebration seem a better way to move things forward.

A few years ago, we flew home from a backpacking trip around India. Our seats were in the centre aisle of the jumbo jet, meaning the third seat was next to a random stranger. This passenger was a very rude man who complained about everything to the airline staff. He refused to wear his seatbelt or return to his seat when requested and made a fuss. He would also click his fingers to summon an air hostess when he wanted something.

In contrast, during the same flight we were polite to the staff, smiled and said no problem when asked to follow instructions. We spoke to one of the air hostesses about where the lady was from and learned a little about her home country. She told us about her journey as an air hostess and what she loved about her job (meeting nice people was one of them). Having a chat at the end of the aisle certainly helped pass the time stuck on the plane. I mean, sitting on a plane for 10+ hours is not the most exciting activity.

So, when the time came for the meal trolley to work its way through the cabin, the air hostess approached us and checked our meal requirements before serving our meals with a smile. She placed our neighbouring passenger’s food on his tray with no emotion and walked away.

When we’d finished our meals, the same hostess approached our seat, collected the tray from the passenger next to us, then made eye contact with us and asked, “Was everything OK with your meals? We have an extra portion, as you’re very nice people, would you like some more food?” Naturally, we said yes and sat eating as Mr Angry sat next to us, fizzing at not being offered more food.

Being nice to the air hostess led to a reward of more food, but most importantly, it made the flight much more pleasant for ourselves and the staff. The offering of the free food was utterly unexpected as our intentions of being nice were not to get anything free in return. There is the saying, ‘Be kind to others, and it will come back to you in unexpected ways’, and this was true in our case; we got more food.

A smile costs nothing, and neither does being polite, so why not do it? There is no need to be rude or unpleasant to someone.

So, ask yourself, am I a person who leaves a great impression on most people I meet?

Imagine if you entered a situation with someone and you needed them on your side; Would they be more likely to take your side and help you or run in the opposite direction? Think about how your actions can impact how other people will treat you in return; Treat others how you wish to be treated yourself.

Ok, we will probably never see the air hostess again, nor will she see the rude man, but we have good memories of that flight. Perhaps she’s done her airline a favour as we will happily book with her employers again. Being kind and nice to someone is often described as being contagious. If someone does something kind for you, you feel better and are more likely to help someone else in return. Their kindness has been contagious as it has infected you with kindness.

To find out more on this topic…

Listen to our ‘N for Nice’ podcast episode

The Z to A of Life Podcast

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