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For Smile Power Day: Times To Smile Instead Of Scream




smile power day

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It’s National Smile Power Day. If you’ve been meaning to edit your reactions and responses to the things that annoy you, today is as good a day as any to try smiling when you feel like grouching, snarling, or even screaming. Look, we all know those things people do in society that are so irritating, and even rude. But, responding to something that bothers you with aggression never makes things better. In fact, it just perpetuates the exact type of behavior you want to stop. For example, when people are being loud outside of your apartment and you stand on your balcony and yell in a tone even louder than theirs, “Shut up!” you just became the loudest neighbor, bothering everyone else. Meanwhile, it’s amazing how far a smile can take you in decelerating negative situations. For National Smile Power Day, here are times you should smile instead of scream.

 

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When a server makes a mistake

It could be her first day on the job. Hey, it could be her 100th day but she is easily overwhelmed and struggles to remember a lot of details. She could be going through something difficult, personally. It may be a very busy day, and another server didn’t show up, so she’s taking her tables. Either way, what’s really the big deal? You got the wrong appetizer? You’re out at a restaurant—that’s a reason to smile.

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When a server is just cold

Sometimes, your server may not give you the peppy disposition you hoped for. She doesn’t have any recommendations. She barely smiles. She’s all business, and then she’s gone. Again, she may be having a tough day. Maybe she needs your smile right now.

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When someone blocks the sidewalk

Like a tourist group, an elderly individual with a walker, or teenagers jumping all over the place to take selfies. Just remember you’ve been a tourist doing the same thing. You will be elderly one day (if you’re lucky). And you were once a teenager, filled with energy and unaware of your surroundings. Give them a smile.

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When someone eats something smelly in public

So you’re on the train and the person next to you whips out a big, smelly tuna sandwich. You think, “How could they?” and want to shoot them dirty looks. Try to remember that this person could have a very busy life. She could work two jobs and have kids and this could be the only time she has to sit still and eat all day and she just loves tuna sandwiches. It’s her one little moment of bliss.

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When someone takes forever to check out

The person in front of you is using all sorts of coupons, wants to put half the purchase on a card and pay half in cash, and realizes she got the wrong type of milk and needs to replace it. You want to pull your hair out. But, it is her right to do all of that. She must really need to save the money if she’s using all of those coupons. She may be low on money, having to put some food on the card, but close to maxing it out so she has to use cash. You never know what her situation is. Smile and wait patiently. It’ll be your turn soon.

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When a sales person tries to sell something

Don’t roll your eyes and get aggravated with the sales person trying to sell you some perfume or shoes. Remember that it is literally her job. She’ll get in trouble—if not fired—if she doesn’t make these attempts. She’s not actually harming you in any way. You can just smile and say, “No thank you” rather than making her feel like a monster for trying to make a living.

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When somebody cuts you in line

It’s always infuriating when someone cuts you in line. When it’s a clear cut, that’s messed up. But sometimes, it’s a just a hoard of people, and it’s not quite clear where one line ends and one begins. Or the person is joining her friend in line. You can let it ruin your day—even though you’ll really only be waiting an extra 90 seconds—or you can smile and decide to believe this person meant no harm.

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When people are being loud

So there are children playing outside of your apartment. They’re screaming, giggling, and playing with loud toys. Or there are young people just partying and hanging out. They’re disturbing your peace. You want to go out there and abruptly tell them to keep it down. But, maybe take joy in the fact that they’re having fun. Remember when you were young and loved just being outdoors, playing or listening to music? If you must ask them to keep it down, do so with a smile on your face and ask nicely.

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When dogs bark at you

If I’ve learned anything from having dogs my entire life and making a point to befriend most dogs I meet, it’s this: most dogs who are barking at you just want you to acknowledge them and show them you’re not dangerous. Often, just speaking in a soft tone (think a baby voice) will get a dog to not only stop barking, but also wag her tail. Dogs are humans’ best friends! Don’t get annoyed at them for barking a little. They’re smaller than us and just want to protect themselves.

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When someone is late

It’s obviously annoying when someone is very late to meet you. It feels like she’s disrespecting your time. And while running a half hour or hour late is certainly very rude, try to let it slide if someone is just 10 or 15 minutes late. If she truly didn’t care about you, she’d be much later, or wouldn’t be there at all. Time management isn’t easy. So smile and say, “It’s okay” when she apologizes for being a little late.

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When someone is driving slowly

When someone is driving extremely slowly in front of you, you can want to rear end them, just to prove a point. When you pass, you want to glare at them to make them feel stupid. But, it could be an elderly person who feels insecure behind the wheel or a student driver. It could be someone unfamiliar with the area. This person didn’t mean to bother you. Just smile when you pass. This person is clearly already nervous on the road as it is and doesn’t need your death stare.

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When someone just talks too much

Some people just talk too much. It is grating to listen to. But keep in mind, they do so out of their own negative feelings. They could be insecure, and worry they aren’t important enough, so they talk a lot to make up for it. They could have a lot on their mind. They could worry they aren’t good at conversation and are over-compensating. You can just smile, listen, and decide to avoid this person more in the future. (Or you can lovingly tell them they talk too much).

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When someone walks through the door

So you open a door and several people walk by, without saying thank you. It is very rude. However, it’s really not something you should allow to ruin your day. You never know if, in some little way, your act of kindness will put them in a better mood and inspire them to do the same for someone else later.

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When given unsolicited advice

Receiving unsolicited advice is so annoying. In fact, it can feel very rude. But, try to keep in mind that this person is probably just trying to help you, and doesn’t even realize she’s being condescending. You don’t have to take the advice. You can smile, say, “Interesting idea,” and move on.

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When you hear, “You never call me!”

Even though it drives me crazy if a friend or family member tells me, “You never call me!” or “You never visit me!” I try to remember that this person wouldn’t say that if she didn’t just love me. So I smile and say, “Well, I’m glad we’re talking now.”




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