You know when people say, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well, what do you do when you have something nice to say? Do we simply assume the opposite is true? Why are we encouraged to not say mean things, but nothing is said about nice things?
Well, in case you were wondering this like I was, I found out the answer today. Even though nice things can be rare because they are not emphasized, they still happen.
I was sitting in my car at a red light, like one does. There was a turning lane beside me, and I was driving straight. I was the second car in my line. Patiently waiting for my turn, I saw the green arrow come on for the turning lane. One car went, but the car that was even with me didn’t. I heard a couple of quick beeps, and I groaned inwardly and thought, why is everyone so impatient? The light just turned green! I looked over to see what was the hold up and saw a guy looking back at me. He had a backwards hat and a beard and I was about to groan a second time from some masculine comment when he gestured to his head and mouthed, “I love your earrings!” I laughed immediately and mouthed “thank you!” and gave him the thumbs up. He gave it back to me and drove off. And I chuckled the entire way to work.
Because of course he loved my earrings. They were in the shape of TARDISes from Doctor Who. Us Doctor Who fans are e v e r y w h e r e, and we are always nice to each other. Actually, nerds in general have some weird camaraderie thing, even when they’re complete strangers. Maybe because we can all relate to being shoved into lockers…
But at the same time, I recognize that he didn’t have to say anything. He didn’t have to hold up traffic. He didn’t have to take time out of his day. Actually, he completely ran the risk of me not looking over at him at all. And yet, he still took a stab at paying me a compliment. And it paid off. And made me grin a 3,000 watt smile.
So, I think we should put less emphasis on what we shouldn’t be saying (which is not nice things) and more emphasis on what we should be saying (nice things). (Maybe we should even emphasize gestures, like this guy.) Because there really isn’t anything better than a sincere compliment. And we don’t have to all have something common (like Doctor Who) to express our appreciation of someone else. Any little thing will do.
So, whether there is a person in line or in the car next to you, try to make their day a little better. I know this guy did that for me.