Get weekly newsletter updates from Gretchen.

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.

icon emailNewsletterLight

One Last Thing

Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. I share ideas for being happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.