Kill them with kindness

by Lindsay on October 7, 2010

in Kindness, Relationships

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~ Leo Buscaglia

We’ve all got that one person who annoys us above all others. It could be your neighbor, co-worker, friend or your boss. It might even be your spouse (from time to time and not all of the time, I hope!).

My personal “thorn in the side” is a co-worker. I sometimes think she thinks of ways to annoy me and then takes great pleasure in making me miserable. Her favorite thing to do is crunch combo pretzels at 10 in the morning, which she knows is a pet-peeve of mine. I picture her deviously smiling to herself as she finds yet another way to grate on my nerves. Of course, I know better. But when she’s really getting under my skin, I sometimes wonder if she is plotting to send me to the mad-house.

When I was younger and would come home from school talking about so-and-so being mean to me or teasing me as a kid, my Mom used to say “kill them with kindness”. That is not what I wanted to hear. But it is what I needed to hear. I would sometimes attempt it, but as a shy child, it was often easier for me to just turn the other cheek and say nothing rather than be nice to the person tormenting me.

As an adult with much more confidence and some social skills, killing people with kindness is something that comes naturally to me. Unless we’re referring to my thorny co-worker. I haven’t done it so far. And as I was talking to my best friend last night (read: bitching and going on and on) she said, “I want you to go in to the office tomorrow and be nice to her.” My reaction was, “HUH? Be nice to her?! You’re out of your mind!” But of course I knew she was right.

I know that my co-worker hasn’t had the best life. I know she is the way she is for a reason (or several) and it’s not good reasons. That is the case with most people who exude negativity and have bad attitudes. That is hard to remember when the person is rubbing off on you, but it’s true. If someone is miserable and mean and nasty, it’s a reflection of the kind of life they have or had. Try to remember that. Don’t make it worse for them. Surprise them and show them kindness from the bottom of your heart and the top of your soul.

Identify your “thorn”. I’m sure you can picture him/her in your mind’s eye. , take a deep breath. This will not be easy, but be nice to this person today. Be nice tomorrow. And the next day, and the next day. You get the idea.

At the end of the day, love and kindness are purely personal human issues. You can choose to make them part of your life or not. I hope you do.


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Steven Handel October 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Killing with kindness takes tremendous will power (especially if we are the over-reactive type), but it is also tremendously effective.

This reminds me of an Oscar Wilde quote:

“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.”

The same goes for “always be kind to your enemies.”

By the way – to prevent against your pet-peeve of combo-munching…try wearing headphones and listening to music maybe?

Lindsay October 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for the headphone suggestion, Steven. I definitely do that as much as a possibly can. Great Oscar Wilde quote, btw!

Patti October 7, 2010 at 8:18 pm

The world would be a much better place if more people had empathy. Killing them with kindness works about 90% of the time and is still something I try to practice every day. I really enjoy The Daily Awe. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

admin October 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Thank you! It’s so true that the world would be a much better place if we all practiced this. It is much harder to do than to talk about, though.

Btw – I did some site upgrades, so if you want to re-subscribe, I’m afraid you’ll have to go through a couple steps – just click on the email icon under “The Daily Awe delivered”.

Kolleen Bouchane March 12, 2011 at 10:21 am

Kill them with kindness – this was my grandmothers response to every problem I ever had with another person. In the end it turns out to be more like baffle them with kindness (thankfully) but sometimes brilliantly – it turns into change their minds with kindness. Give them a break with kindness…

Truth is, I don’t mind how it turns out. Taking my ‘revenge’ with kindness helps me cope and makes it easy for me not to regret how I have acted.

Its the most important thing anyone ever taught me – and though it can be hard work, I also love that it connects me to others who are trying to do it too!

terry December 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm

i,terry believes in her heart,is to be kind to people,no matter what,ie:don’t be a doormat~!:) i’m a christian of 30+ yrs~!:)

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