Project Nice – An Update

I have two things on my mind today. One, is Proverbs 31, a ministry for women I have been following and loving. They are cool and they are Godly.

Secondly, I have been taking stock of Project Nice. Since I’m Southern, maybe it should be Project Bless Your Heart.

Towards the end of my first marriage, I realized that if I did give in to the urge to whack my then-husband over the head with a skillet in his sleep, the police would be hard pressed to identify likely suspects – he had infuriated, peeved, frustrated and enraged SO many people in his work and personal life.

He wasn’t nice, and people weren’t amused.

Project Nice, now in its 10th year, started as a fun way to annoy the Brits when I lived in London. They don’t cope well with Americans at the best of times, but they REALLY don’t cope well with nice, friendly, smiling ones.

So I decided – I would be NICE.

To anyone who did anything for me. To anyone in my environment. Not scary nice (talking randomly to people on the Tube about details of my life) but nice-nice. If I noticed some one’s shoes were pretty, I would politely say so. If some one gave me my change at the store, I would thank her for helping me. I thanked the (rare) men who held the door for me. I chatted with the waitress. I chatted with the doctor (so much so that they decided I was smart enough NOT to need doctor visits for the easy stuff and I got my prescriptions called in with no 2-3 hour wait at the doctor’s). (Nice is good). I’m nice to the security guards in my building, to the lady at the post office and absolutely to the young man who bags my groceries so I don’t have to!

I’m NOT naturally nice. I’m mean, I’m feisty, I have a huge temper and I am prone to irritation and impatience. I get upset at bratty kids. I get even more upset at bratty wives. It is NOT my first instinct to be nice, kind, helpful, polite or grateful.

It gets even more fun when I’ve run into some one who doesn’t like nice. Then it’s a challenge – I upgrade to sweet and finally to an all-out assault of preciousness. Sarcasm doesn’t dent my onslaught, nor does eye-rolling or that thing New Yorkers do when you’re nice. Eventually, probably out of sheer amazement, they typically give in and are nice back. Eventually.

Why bother?

Well, I like nice people. I work with tons of them. I go to church with tons of them. I have the NICEST friends.  I’m married to a nice person. I love how they do things. I think they prefer being around other nice people. Better to be nice and get to stay around nice folks.

Secondly, in my faith we are told we need to be the face of Christ for people who aren’t familiar with Him. He isn’t grumpy. So, in my natural mindset and modus operandi, I’d fall down on that one every minute. I’m a terrible example of sweetness, good attitude, gentility etc.  So, Project Nice forces me to think about what I’m portraying – to my children, and to anyone else.

He was nice without caffeine. I’m nowhere near that level of good, kind, charitable or nice.

I’m going to continue with Project Nice (aka Bless Your Heart). Eventually maybe it will become second nature, and I won’t have the urge to whack people who irritate me repeatedly over the head with a broomstick (pink one), or lock them in a room and force them to watch Barney re-runs. Eventually maybe my first instinct will be to think “wonder what’s going on?” instead of “TERMINATE, TERMINATE!”

I don’t have any more Brits to annoy and the few Brits I see now are great folks, but I do have New Yorkers to amuse myself with. Bless their hearts!


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