The Kindness Project

Ok so I have to do a project for my psychology class where I have to go out into the world and be super nice to everybody no matter how grumpy they are. Ok I do that all the time but I want to know what do you guys feel when a complete stranger is "nice"? What emotions do you experience?
I take stock of where my purse/wallet is to make sure I'm not being pickpocketed, and then I wonder what the person wants from me. Are they trying to solicit money for something? A name on a petition? Are they trying to hit on me?

But that's just my big-city nature :-)
"I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON
Define "nice".
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Rock on with your bad self.

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Be excellent to each other. ~ Abraham Lincoln

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It depends on where I am and how nice they are being. Most consistently, if the person is a stranger and being nice involves more than saying hello and a smile, I'm thinking "I wish this person would stop talking to me and leave me alone". If I'm by myself, I'm usually 'inside my head', so I was already having a great conversation before I was so rudely interrupted.

If I am with Dia (daughter), she will probably be thinking, and potentially saying, "Mommy, they're trying to scam you!"

If I'm with DaNa (hubby), he will likely be talking right back, for a good while. And Dia and I will be giving hints to wrap it up.
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
If by "nice" you mean chatting to people in line, on the elevator, etc., guilty as charged! If you mean carrying on long winded in-depth conversations the no.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rock on with your bad self.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Be excellent to each other. ~ Abraham Lincoln

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Define "nice".
Originally Posted by PartyHair
Ok lets say for example a person in line behind you at the grocery store offers to pay for your groceries for no apparent reason or somebody hands you a rose while your walking down the street with a big smile. Something like that. Random acts of kindness.
Asking to pay for my groceries I think is odd. I don't know why but it would make me uncomfortable. However, paying at a toll booth for the person behind you is surprising and nice.

I'm a city person too, everyone is suspect. Hold the door for a stranger, make eye contact and say hello, sure. Pass me a flower, no thanks...for me, minimal contact with strangers is best.
If someone offered to pay for my groceries, I would think they are trying to hit on me and I'd be a little afraid to walk to my car.

If someone gave me a rose, I would be very flattered and I would think it was sweet.
3c/4a
The things you mentioned would make me feel like something weird was going on. I'd be looking around for a TV camera crew or something.

When I was moving to live with my now-husband, I stopped at a gas station to fill up, check my tire pressure, etc (long drive) and there was a woman watching me check my tires. I looked at her for a second and noticed her tires were VERY flat. I figured she was just waiting for me to be done, so I pulled away from the air machine and got my gas. She stood there looking really confused/upset and finally came over to me and ask me to check her tires for her. I'm not really a car expert, but I could tell they were really low, so I checked them and helped her add some air to her tires and told her to go to a garage asap to find out what was going on that was making them go so low. She was in tears thanking me. It was the oddest thing, like no one had ever been nice to her before.
Once the woman ahead of me at the Starbucks drive thru paid for my coffee and dessert, w/ the understanding that the barista had to pass me the card from her church...which I guess was trying to recruit new members. I thought that was very nice, and actually planned to visit the church, but I misplaced the card. It wasn't my denomination or anything so t's not like they were going to get me to join. But I thought it was a nice gesture and good marketing.

I would love it if anyone did something nice for me.

Maybe I am too dumb or naive to be suspicious.
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The things you mentioned would make me feel like something weird was going on. I'd be looking around for a TV camera crew or something.

When I was moving to live with my now-husband, I stopped at a gas station to fill up, check my tire pressure, etc (long drive) and there was a woman watching me check my tires. I looked at her for a second and noticed her tires were VERY flat. I figured she was just waiting for me to be done, so I pulled away from the air machine and got my gas. She stood there looking really confused/upset and finally came over to me and ask me to check her tires for her. I'm not really a car expert, but I could tell they were really low, so I checked them and helped her add some air to her tires and told her to go to a garage asap to find out what was going on that was making them go so low. She was in tears thanking me. It was the oddest thing, like no one had ever been nice to her before.
Originally Posted by Like.Australia
Exactly something like that. My husband has stopped two times since we have been together in the pouring down rain to help someone change their tire, usually while the guy in the car stands back. But for the most part what I'm getting is suspicion and paranoia?
Define "nice".
Originally Posted by PartyHair
Ok lets say for example a person in line behind you at the grocery store offers to pay for your groceries for no apparent reason or somebody hands you a rose while your walking down the street with a big smile. Something like that. Random acts of kindness.
Originally Posted by poisonivy
These things would definitely brighten my day (as long as they were not done by a guy who then asked for my #) and refresh my belief in the kindness of strangers. Did receive a flower from a stranger once, and he didn't linger to get my # or anything, it was lovely.
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The things you mentioned would make me feel like something weird was going on. I'd be looking around for a TV camera crew or something.

When I was moving to live with my now-husband, I stopped at a gas station to fill up, check my tire pressure, etc (long drive) and there was a woman watching me check my tires. I looked at her for a second and noticed her tires were VERY flat. I figured she was just waiting for me to be done, so I pulled away from the air machine and got my gas. She stood there looking really confused/upset and finally came over to me and ask me to check her tires for her. I'm not really a car expert, but I could tell they were really low, so I checked them and helped her add some air to her tires and told her to go to a garage asap to find out what was going on that was making them go so low. She was in tears thanking me. It was the oddest thing, like no one had ever been nice to her before.
Originally Posted by Like.Australia
Exactly something like that. My husband has stopped two times since we have been together in the pouring down rain to help someone change their tire, usually while the guy in the car stands back. But for the most part what I'm getting is suspicion and paranoia?
Originally Posted by poisonivy
Well, she asked for help and she was an older lady. If she hadn't asked, I probably would've gone on my way. *shrug* I do think I'd be suspicious of people being overly nice for no apparent reason.
Once the woman ahead of me at the Starbucks drive thru paid for my coffee and dessert, w/ the understanding that the barista had to pass me the card from her church...which I guess was trying to recruit new members. I thought that was very nice, and actually planned to visit the church, but I misplaced the card. It wasn't my denomination or anything so t's not like they were going to get me to join. But I thought it was a nice gesture and good marketing.

I would love it if anyone did something nice for me.

Maybe I am too dumb or naive to be suspicious.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I dont think you are dumb or naive.

growing up where I grew up, people seldom did kind things for people without some sort of payment. i grew up a bit cynical. once i left and ventured to New orleans and texas, i discovered that little thing known as southern hospitality. I have a ton of examples of people being nice and at first it was mind boggling, and I thought everyone wanted something. It was so strange to me. After a while i got that some people are just nice for the sake of being nice. I'm fortunant that some of it rubbed off on me. being around family, they thing i'm strange because of it. But i dont care, i'm nice to people, and it makes me feel good!
The things you mentioned would make me feel like something weird was going on. I'd be looking around for a TV camera crew or something.

When I was moving to live with my now-husband, I stopped at a gas station to fill up, check my tire pressure, etc (long drive) and there was a woman watching me check my tires. I looked at her for a second and noticed her tires were VERY flat. I figured she was just waiting for me to be done, so I pulled away from the air machine and got my gas. She stood there looking really confused/upset and finally came over to me and ask me to check her tires for her. I'm not really a car expert, but I could tell they were really low, so I checked them and helped her add some air to her tires and told her to go to a garage asap to find out what was going on that was making them go so low. She was in tears thanking me. It was the oddest thing, like no one had ever been nice to her before.
Originally Posted by Like.Australia
Exactly something like that. My husband has stopped two times since we have been together in the pouring down rain to help someone change their tire, usually while the guy in the car stands back. But for the most part what I'm getting is suspicion and paranoia?
Originally Posted by poisonivy
I would be incredibly suspicious with someone buying my groceries or handing me a flower on the street. I would refuse it outright repeatedly and if they kept demanding I would just leave immediately without my groceries, I think. So yes, definitely suspicion and paranoia.

But if someone offered to help me with something I was struggling with? I would be appreciative and thank them profusely, even while telling them they really don't need to do it (but meanwhile being really glad they stopped to help!). I don't know why, exactly, but I think there's a big difference between someone offering help to someone who "needs" it, and someone just doing something generous to someone who really didn't need or ask for anything.
"I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON
The things you mentioned would make me feel like something weird was going on. I'd be looking around for a TV camera crew or something.

When I was moving to live with my now-husband, I stopped at a gas station to fill up, check my tire pressure, etc (long drive) and there was a woman watching me check my tires. I looked at her for a second and noticed her tires were VERY flat. I figured she was just waiting for me to be done, so I pulled away from the air machine and got my gas. She stood there looking really confused/upset and finally came over to me and ask me to check her tires for her. I'm not really a car expert, but I could tell they were really low, so I checked them and helped her add some air to her tires and told her to go to a garage asap to find out what was going on that was making them go so low. She was in tears thanking me. It was the oddest thing, like no one had ever been nice to her before.
Originally Posted by Like.Australia
Exactly something like that. My husband has stopped two times since we have been together in the pouring down rain to help someone change their tire, usually while the guy in the car stands back. But for the most part what I'm getting is suspicion and paranoia?
Originally Posted by poisonivy
I would be incredibly suspicious with someone buying my groceries or handing me a flower on the street. I would refuse it outright repeatedly and if they kept demanding I would just leave immediately without my groceries, I think. So yes, definitely suspicion and paranoia.

But if someone offered to help me with something I was struggling with? I would be appreciative and thank them profusely, even while telling them they really don't need to do it (but meanwhile being really glad they stopped to help!). I don't know why, exactly, but I think there's a big difference between someone offering help to someone who "needs" it, and someone just doing something generous to someone who really didn't need or ask for anything.
Originally Posted by Who Me?
Agreed.

I've pumped an older lady's gas before because she didn't know how to do it. Pulled a grocery carriage out for a lady who was trying to do so with a baby on her arm. And another lady had little children in her car and was trying to get a large rolled up carpet in to her trunk, so I helped with that.

To me, these are random acts of kindness. Hell, in this day and age if you held the door instead of letting it slam in my face I'd be pleased.

But big grandiose gestures make me suspect and if I'm being honest, seem a little fake. Anyone can plan to go to the grocery store with wads of cash to 'make someone's day' but if you walk by the 70year old with a flat tire on your way there because you didn't recognise someone in need...what's the point.
There was a time when I was at the grocery store and my damn debit card wouldn't work (probably no money lol) and an old guy behind me just paid for my groceries. I was so embarassed. I only had like 3 things though but it was probably the nicest thing anybody has ever done for me. Kind of unsettling because you don't know what to say.
When I'm walking down the street and somebody is struggling with a door (because they have a stroller or a food cart or something) I always stop to just hold the door for five seconds for them. I'm always surprised others don't.

I always try compliment strangers. I was feeling down a few weeks ago and a lady at church told me I was beautiful. It cheered me up. A random compliment can go a long way.
I think one of the biggest things that brightens my day is when a complete stranger compliments me and then walks off (especially when it comes from a guy, since that means they weren't trying to hit on me)
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