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One cheerful comment has amazing results

It is nothing short of miraculous what a cheerful greeting or response can do for the spirits. Take a gloomy day, a situation that drags everyone down. Step on an elevator, and the stranger already there says, "You'd think we were ducks." The tone is cheerful, does not demand a reply, but invites one. Or the clerk at the grocery store, who is busy and has been all day, but still has the moxie to say, "Oh, if you haven't tried this brand hey, you will love it!" She's given you a vote of confidence in your judgment, positive vibes on what is to come, and generally brightened up the day.

It takes so little to be aware of those around you, and only slightly more to make an impersonal, but friendly, positive comment on the common environment.

Even more important to business is the clerk who remains patient in trying circumstances, is helpful and is generally positive in outlook. I recently was in a difficult situation when making a purchase. I had my credit card with no problem, but was searching in vain for the bonus card associated with the store. The clerk must have had corns, and been at the far end of a long and trying day. I would suppose he tried to smother his displeasure, but his reaction was all too evident.

I finally came up with the discount card, and it was outdated. Now this was in one of my favorite shopping hangouts, and I was more than willing to update it. But he wasn't interested. He just wanted me out of his hair. His manager took over and was courteous, pleasant, and easily dismissed the earlier trials by her approach. Of course, I will return to the vendor. It's one of my favorite hangouts. It collects a good portion of my mad money. But the foul mood of the clerk was discouraging.

Now, compare that with the help that greets you cheerfully, compliments your newly painted nails, or your taste in the merchandise. That clerk will have you leaving the store resolving to return when the time comes, even looking forward to the return trip. There is the clerk who adds dollars to his boss's intake for the day.

The basic difference isn't necessarily a good person versus one who is less than good. But it does indicate that some people are more aware of their surroundings than others. Of course, some people are just outgoing and friendly, willing to comment on the beautiful ring, or the sunny day. Others simply do not notice either, nor do they choose to leave their own cocoon in order to brighten the environment. They behave in an introverted, even negative, way. But the world is made better by the person who is ready to smile, be helpful, or at least understanding, and has a good word to say.

I wonder what the root cause of the difference is. Probably much can be traced to environment, example and habit of families; more to personality differences, and immediate circumstances. And there is nothing wrong with the person who ignores the sunshine, expectant gesture, or cheerful comment. But the whole situation becomes a missed opportunity to make a sometimes sad world better.

The next time you are feeling low, take the opportunity to open up just a little to the companion on the elevator, the sales person, or the customer. Make one tentative impersonal, but cheerful, comment and see what your own personal reaction is. My guess is that you will feel better. That is, yourself, for your efforts. And I know from experience you will make someone else's day better.

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Terri Mudd, who lives in Lewiston, recommends brightening someone else's day with just a simple and kind comment.

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