Choose To Be Kind

People want to be liked.

Although this may seem like a simple concept, I think we often underestimate this simple truth.

When I was 18, I worked at a retail store for 6 months. I really loved this job: with one exception. A coworker seemingly hated me. I was used to the occasional snide remark, but I was not used to someone making pointed jabs at me 10 times a day. It felt as if everything I did upset her. I could do no right in her eyes. Sitting in my car one day I burst into tears. What did I do to deserve this hate? I was trying to be gracious and kind, but I secretly wanted to ask her what the heck her problem was. What had I done to her?

I found some solace in the fact that she didn’t seem to like anyone. And if I was being honest, no one liked her either. They would talk about her behind her back and make just as rude remarks. It was a vicious cycle of negativity. In the summer of 2012 I put in my two weeks, and I prepared to leave for Peru for missions work. Something inside of me has a really hard time leaving things unsettled and I really did want to find peace and some sort of closure in this working relationship.

I stayed up late the night before my last day. I went back and forth on if I should say something to her. Should I communicate how she hurt me? Should I ask her why she felt the need to treat me the way she did? The more I thought about it, the more I began to get the feeling that she was a person in pain. I knew that her father had recently passed away, she was having a hard time with her boyfriend, and she didn’t have a good working relationship with anyone.

Maybe this had nothing to do with me.

I clocked out of my last shift and went to her table that had just left. I left a little post it note next to her tip:

Hey___, I’m so sad that this is my last day. It was good meeting you, and I’ve seen how hard of a worker are. You are really good at your job, and I am excited for what your future holds. I hope that your passion for kickboxing continues to grow, and that you have an amazing summer. You are beautiful- Jubilee.

I bolted out of that store as fast as humanly possible. I didn’t have the nerve to say any of that to her face.

That night the strangest thing happened…. She friended me on Facebook. We never discussed the note, but she began to open up to me. She told me about how this past year had been really hard for her, and we began to talk. No, we aren’t best friends, but we did find peace. It has been six years, and she still engages with me on social media. She has not made one negative comment towards me since I left her that note.

If there is anything I have learned these past few years, it is this: people just want to be seen. People just want to be heard. People just want to be liked. People who have a tough exterior are often just going through a difficult time. Keep your eyes open. Leave a note. Don’t engage in a cycle of negativity. You might be surprised how easily walls can crumble. In fact, you might be surprised to see what a beautiful person lies beyond them.

31 Comments

  1. What an inspirational story! I am a true believer that you get back what you put out. She probably never had anyone take a genuine interest in her feelings.

    That happened to me with my husbands ex girlfriend when we were in high school. It was awkward but she just needed someone to want to actually listen to her!

    Great job babe!

    1. Thank you so much Amber! I am a firm believer in that too:) It is amazing what a little bit of positivity can do:)

  2. Wow – so much of this resonates with me. Sometimes stepping back and realizing that, often, a person’s behavior has more to do with them than with us can be really tough. It was nice that you left her that note. I hope that it began a turnaround for her so that she could find her happiness and peace.

    1. Thank you Stacey! I’m so glad you resonated with it:) It has really helped me see people in a different way!

  3. That’s such a nice story. We don’t know why a person behaves in a certain way, and we can even get in that negativity circle without noticing. You make it the right way, as we all should do. So nice to read that you travelled to my homeland too 🙂

    Kisses

    Fiorella
    http://www.lacasadefreja.com

  4. This was very kind of you to do you never know what people are going through and they may be the one helping you in the future.

  5. I had a coworker just like how you described this girl. She would always make pointed jabs- not just to me but to everyone. She didn’t seem to be a fan of anyone and the same could be said of others to her. I never really thought of what she was going through at the time and honestly don’t know much about her. If I run into this in the future though, your post has made me want to handle it differently. She could have been going through something rough or maybe just didn’t feel seen or liked. Thanks for your post, it’s really opened my eyes!

  6. You’re an amazing person! Not everyone in your shoes would do the same thing that u did! I learnt Long time a ago not everyone is gonna like me and that’s ok but always be kind but don’t let it be your weakness! If I were you I would never have left the note because I’d think whatever Is her problem that doesn’t give her rights to hurt other people!! I think I was wrong here like you said it’s a vicious cycle of negativity!! You put an end to it and changed it in to something positive and I respect and appreciate you for that 💞 I will definitely do this next time, If I meet someone who hates me for no reason!! 😊

  7. This is so beautiful and I’m really happy you chose to leave that note! I honestly don’t understand negativity and I’m so happy to be label as kind by my friends and colleagues. It’s easy and doesn’t take a dime to be nice to those around you. You never know what others are dealing with!

  8. You are so right about people just wanting to be heard, it is such a true statement and why you have seen such an increase in blogs and content writers. So many people that have been dismissed by parents, family, friends, teachers that are trying to desperately gets their ideas and concepts out into the world and be heard by other like minded people, and find their tribes.

  9. Yes, it is so easy to give into negative people by returning their negativity. At times it feels as if the only way to respond “correctly” to this type of person is simply to ignore them. However, the saying really is true kill them with kindness. We all have mad times in our lives but you must make an effort to switch your thinking from being attacked to a questionable state. I really enjoyed this message Jubilee, it is an amazing reminder thank you.

  10. This sentiment means so much. You are so right in saying that we just never know what another person is dealing with. Kindness goes so far in life and it costs us nothing. Thank you for sharing such a personal and inspirational story!

  11. Such a kind and beautiful story. Maybe we’ll all think twice about the way we react to someone who is less than friendly next time.

  12. This is so amazing! It’s crazy what a kind thought can do for a person, especially when you don;t know what kind of hardships that person could be going through!

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