Nancy Roman

When You Don’t Feel Like It

I’m trying to concentrate on Kindness this year.

Practicing Kindness is pretty easy when you are being appreciative to those you love or considerate to benign strangers. Holding the door for someone with an armload of packages or buying a treat for your spouse is a piece of cake… (literally, if that is the treat you are buying).

But practicing Kindness when you don’t feel like it takes a little more effort.

But often, it is only a little more effort. Really.

Look at it this way: Say you have a bad cold. You are lying on the sofa, binge-watching “Say Yes To The Dress” and feeling really miserable. But you have cold medicine in the bathroom. Sure, you feel awful. You don’t want to get up to fetch the cold pills.You want to stay on the sofa. And you don’t want to miss this bride who will surely buy the see-through, low-cut, tight-in-the-ass, over-budget wedding gown for her religious ceremony. But you wait for a commercial, and groan your way to the bathroom and take the pills. Oh, it was a huge effort. You almost collapsed halfway to the bathroom. But twenty minutes later, that tantrum-throwing bride has bought the stupid gown, and you are feeling a little better. It was worth it.

So about Kindness when you don’t feel like it: Get off the couch. 

Here are a few uncomfortable kindnesses I have practiced that you might want to consider. I am not listing these as a self-congratulatory pat on the back. I’m bringing them up in order to demonstrate with concrete examples that it really isn’t that hard. Because I am as lazy, petty, and self-absorbed as anyone I know (maybe with one powerful exception) – and I can do it. If I can, so can you.

*1   Say hello to people you’d really rather ignore. Most of us have reason to visit a nursing home once in a while. And in the corridor are lots of old, sick people in their wheelchairs, mostly staring at their hands and waiting for nothing. They are difficult to look at sometimes. It’s much easier to walk faster, and get to where you are going. Don’t do that. Slow down. Say hello to some of these people.Stop at just a couple of wheelchairs. Smile. Look at some faces. You may be the only visitor they have that day.

*2   Give some attention to the kids you dislike. We all have them. Not our own kids of course, but the children of our relatives and friends. It’s not a crime to say that there are children we just don’t care for. Some kids are bratty or whiny or shrill or just not your cup of tea. It’s easy to focus on the kids who are cute and funny and charm the pants right off of you every time. But once in a while, try to talk to one of the whiny kids. Listen to them. Hug them. Problem children are still children. They can use a little attention.

*3   Compliment someone you aren’t friends with. I wrote earlier that I was petty. That could be a slight understatement. When I don’t especially like someone, I tend to see only the negative about them. I have a mean-spirited (but human) propensity to resent their successes and revel in their failures. But sometimes your enemies wear nice clothes, or have good ideas, or even get promoted. It’s horrible but it happens. Think about congratulating a rival the same way you’d congratulate a friend.

*4   Keep a gift you don’t like. I’m not talking about something expensive. If someone gives you a very valuable gift you dislike, you should certainly be honest and not allow that person to have wasted his money. But for inexpensive, insignificant presents? Don’t return everything that is not your taste. And I don’t mean that you should say “Thank you” and put it in a drawer. Would it be so hard to use something that wouldn’t be your first choice? The mugs from Aunt Mary with frogs playing hopscotch? You could actually drink coffee out of them once in a while and think, “These are from Aunt Mary, who taught me how to crochet.” And I know I have always said that you should only buy what you love. And I meant it. But a present that you didn’t choose yourself? Like the blouse your husband bought you with the weird print. Wear it out to dinner once in a while. It won’t kill you.

*5   And for crying out loud, these days, stop crying out loud. You do not have to argue with everyone whose opinions you don’t share. I am not saying that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself. Of course you should. But pick your battles. Last week I was viciously attacked on Twitter. You could even say that I was threatened. I certainly felt threatened. I disagreed with a total stranger. A third party stepped in and threatened me.  I can fight for what I believe, but arguments with people I don’t know and will never convince are a waste of energy. I am not saying that it was my fault that I was threatened. It was the fault of that nasty person. But I had nothing to gain and I argued anyway. I should have let it pass. And even more, I should – once in a while – listen. And you too. Every now and then, listen to someone you disagree with. Listen. And then say, “I understand why you feel that way.”  Do not add a “…but” to that sentence.

“I understand why you feel that way.”





  1. #5 is especially needed these days.


    • Yes, especially. Not to be silent at injustice. Just to think first and use better judgment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There are awful people out there. I don’t believe in exchanging rebuttal with because they don’t want you to win. 😦


    • My experience with the threat I received was extremely disturbing. And although I reported it, Twitter said that her horrid remark (she said she would laugh when the terrorists beheaded me) was withing their standards. I would say their standards are really low. But I learned my lesson – be careful of what I write. Which is a terrible lesson to learn when you think about it – that I should feel unsafe if I stand up for my beliefs.


  3. Sometimes one just doesn’t feel like it but the person on the receiving end could probably really use a bit of kindness. It is so easy to forget that others are probably going through things and easier to keep our distance (I’m sometimes guilty of this). Thank you for the reminder, I’m going to get off the couch a bit more today!


    • And I have found that being kind to those you dislike makes you feel much better. And you may dislike them just a little less.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Being friendly even when you don’t feel like ist does often wonders as I have often and often experienced, when the customers come into the pharmacy with all their sorrows and problems. During the day the bad mood lifts off my face. So, it it true what we say in Germany- as you call into the woods it will sound back.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent advice. All of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sadaf Siddiqi

    That’s a kind advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You, petty? I find that very hard to believe. I’m gonna use your advice today, on purpose.


    • Of course I can be as petty as the next person… my precious ego is pretty fragile at times.


  8. You always make me feel normal. Yes, I’m self-absorbed, oblivious, and yes petty too. There was a guy at my company I especially disliked. I disliked him because he asked hard questions when I gave a presentation on some new negative effect our benefit program was taking. It took me a while to get there but I asked him to be a “focus group” of one. (His questions were always good and I hated that too). I thought it was a way to get him out of the large presentation. He really helped me tune up the presentation from an employee perspective. I suppose there was an ulterior motive to my kindness but he just bloomed with the attention so “all’s well that ends well” is what I say.


    • Years ago, there was a woman at work that I truly disliked, and it was mutual. And much later, when we had both moved on to other jobs, she found me on Facebook and said that she thought that under different circumstances she thought we would have actually been good friends. And we became good friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It really isn’t that hard to follow these guidelines. They are terrific. Number 5 may be the most difficult in the climate we live in. I have chewed the inside of my mouth raw at times trying not to argue with people. A couple of days ago I posted something I thought was worth reading. It immediately got a strong response form someone who disagreed. I simply said, “We will have to agree to disagree on this one”. He continued on and I said, “I respect your opinion and as we’ve known each other for a very long time I know you will respect mine.” He didn’t let up. I walked away. When I returned a couple of hours later the post had blown up. He was arguing with all kinds of people that I know and respect. He even got vulgar at one point. On my post! Not his! Mine! I was mortified. I went back in and removed the worse of it, but I was really embarrassed.


    • I have had to remove posts from my timeline. I try very hard to ignore posts,from friends who disagree with me – but once someone is insulting and hurtful they have crossed the line. And on other people’s timelines, I try to ignore the posts I disagree with – but you are right, it is very hard. One friend posted a nasty meme and I knew it was completely false, and so I respectfully pointed out that it was untrue. He wrote back that he knew it was untrue but he thought it was funny anyway, and if I didn’t like it I could unfriend him. To knowingly post a lie… well, that is unacceptable to me, and I took his advice. I unfriended him.
      But on many other occasions – I try to listen and understand … at least a little. It’s a hard balance.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hell yeah I try to always be kind and have at times even been kind to my niece and nephew who I can’t stand a bar of, I am also good at accepting that some people do not agree with me but that is ok I don’t agree with them


  11. Great advice. #5 was the most relevant one i thought. It is not worth it to get in an argument with a person that will never change their ideas. I think a great idea is saying “I understand why you feel that way.” And then move on to the next thing. Thanks for the post.


  12. dog12


    Thanks much for the great read. Appreciated it!



  13. reginaclarejane

    very wise words esp. in these times. one of the things i really try to do is smile & say hello at people in the grocery store, the bank, on a walk. it takes very little effort and can go a long way towards making someone’s day.


  14. thank you for reminding me of the important things in life!!


  15. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


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