Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A smile to change your life

When I went out to eat at a restaurant with my parents, there was this really unfriendly waitress.
She never really searched for eye contact. Instead her eyes were glued to the little computer-thingy that she used to take our orders.
She rarely smiled and even when she spoke, you could tell that she did not want to be here.

My mother was quite agitated by her behaviour and there were some very harsh comments from her side whenever this particular waitress was near us. My stepfather and I tried to calm her down. There was no need to make such a big fuss over something so small. Besides my mother's shift of mood started to affect ours as well.

While I was not very satisfied with this service, I started asking myself:
"Is she always like that or is she just having a bad day? Maybe something happened? Or is it a hard shift for her?"

Of course it not a sign of being professional to let your customers know that you are in a bad mood, but you can never look inside their heads. You don't know why the behave that way, which is why I always try to hold back with my judgement.
So, what so I do instead?

I smile.

A smile can do so much good.

Sometimes it is that little bit of encouragement people need to keep on doing what they do.
It can lift their spirits in a way you might not expect.
Nowadays people are so focused on themselves and when in public they either look down or on their mobile phones. They barely even notice the person they are talking to.
When was the last time you smiled at a stranger? (Photo by Unsplash)
A smile is not the universal solution for every single social problem you come across, but you should always try it out. When you go out grocery shopping and you make your way to the cashier, smile at him/her while them wishing a good day. Even if the queue is long. Even if you just want to grab your stuff and get the hell out of there, make this little extra bit of effort. If you are lucky, they will return your kindness - if not, well at least you tried.

About that waitress: I did smile at her, always thanking her when she did something for us, but did it change anything? No. Except when we were about to leave, she came to our table with a big smile on her face (she looked so much prettier than before!), but not because I had tried to be kind, but because her shift was over.
It was a bit deflating, but it did not change my philosophy at all, because even though it did not affect her at all, it had a positive effect on myself. I did not allow myself to get angry. I kept a feeling of kindness. I stayed calm.

So, even though a smile does not change the world, it definitely changes you.

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