Gretchen Rubin

My attempt to be friendly backfires.

I’m trying to be friendlier in the anonymous interactions of daily life. So, while standing in a very slow-moving line at Kinkos, I decided to strike up a conversation with the two other people waiting. In a friendly, we’re-all-in-this-together way, I said, “You know, if they actually had good service here, I’d be in Kinkos every day.”

Well, my experience proved again the power of one of Life’s True Rules: emphasize the positive. My foray in friendliness did energize the other people, but with dire consequences. They both talked in a very nice way to me, but they both became distinctly unfriendly--or more accurately, enraged--with the clerks. Apparently, until I pointed out how long we’d been in line, the three of us had waited with a kind of dreamy patience. But when I focused their attention, I unleashed a horrible wrath.

Next time, I’ll talk about the weather.

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