“Have a nice day…”
Each of these things were said to me the other day, and in each instance was spoken with a tone of voice most often used by your average James Bond villain. Now to be fair, it was pretty obvious that each person was distracted and/or upset about something else entirely, and merely uttered the phrases out of habit or as a requirement of their job.
What does it say about us when something as innocuous as “Gesundheit” gets snarled like an expletive? And what about “Have a nice day…,”? Honestly, I was waiting for the young lady who mechanically spoke it to follow-up with a “…see if I care”.
My mother used to tell me if you don’t have something nice to say, it’s better to say nothing at all. Well, maybe we should add “…or something to say, nicely” as a caveat?
As a career Sales guy, I learned early on that what I said was far less important than how I said it. A presentation to clients, a story, or a reprimand to one of my reps all were dependent on my delivery even more than my verbiage. This is most important with phrases that we deliver by rote, with “Good Morning” being near the top of that list.
Are we offering a sincere, pleasant salutation? Or could we just as easily be saying, “I’m here. You’re here. Yippee. Whaddya’ want?”
Most of us live in relative comfort, despite our nation’s current economic woes. The very poorest among us have a quality of life which is enviable, even unthinkable, around the globe. Maybe we should keep that in mind before we say “excuse me” as we shove our way past a stranger, or say “thank you” without any trace of appreciation behind the words.
We won’t change the world overnight, but it just might make our day (and the day of countless others) just a smidgen more pleasant.
And who knows? Maybe we’ll make a person smile for the first time that day, someone who desperately needed it. And even if that’s not the case, can’t we agree that a more civil and sincere populace will foster an overall more civil society? That’s a potentially huge return from a minuscule investment on our part.
So “have a nice day”, everyone.
And yes, I mean it.