POTW: Smiles Are Contagious

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Diana, Mar 2, 2013.

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Do you smile or show kind gestures towards strangers?

  1. Yes! I always smile or other nice gestures.

    42.7%
  2. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. It depends on my mood.

    46.0%
  3. I've never really thought about it before!

    8.1%
  4. I smiled once. IT WAS AWFUL.

    17.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. A long long time ago, I was told that smiles are contagious. If you smile at a stranger you pass on the street, they will almost always smile back. That people are naturally predispositioned to respond to a kind gesture. I can't remember where I learned that, or if it's even a real fact. But being a curious Diana who liked to see if that was TRUE, I put it in to practice.

    And I swear to glob, that it NEVER FAILS. o___o I smiled at strangers, at cashiers, at work, when I go to walmart, all over the place. People ALWAYS smile back. At the grocery store I frequented in Georgia I had a cashier tell me she and the other cashiers called me "that girl who always smiles" and they were happy to see me. While I worked at Freds once of the customers wound up being one of my boss' friends told my boss that she really appreciated the fact I smiled at her and was pleasant during checkout.

    Because of that those little confirmations, I always smile at strangers, no matter how bad of a mood I am in. Smiles seemed to have secret powers.


    Do YOU ever smile or show kind gestures towards strangers?


    I challenge you to give it a try if you haven't and see what the results are!
     
  2. Whenever I go out somewhere I will smile at people, greet them, do something nice or just be friendly. It usually gets you a lot farther than being grumpy all the time.
     
  3. For the most part, I don't initiate smiling. If a stranger smiles at me first, I'll smile back. Otherwise, I just nod my head and/or mumble a greeting whenever my eyes meet with another. People are too rude nowadays for me to feel like being nice all the time.

    Although... Now that I think about it... If I can sense that someone's having a bad day (employees particularly), I'll show my pearly whites and ask them how they're doing. I know I always appreciated that from others whenever I was feeling down at a job.

    Guess I really haven't thought about this until you brought it up, Diana. lol
     
  4. What is this smile and friendliness of which you speak. These are foreign concepts to grumpy Mako.
     
  5. I try to smile at people i don't know as a polite gesture if I happen to make eye contact with them. *shrugs* habit. Though I also tend to sometimes walk with my head down so I avoid eye contact...
     
  6. Of course I always smile at people :3
     
  7. I try really hard to smile at others but most of the time it fails miserably. In fact, I think my "awkward smiles" ends up being a "twitch"... and it might actually be offending others. Oops. :cry:
    But it is true. Often times if there is a random eye contact, it's better to smile it off then it is to look away. Sometimes it could become a little conversation and make my bad day a little better.
     
  8. Let's get this clear.
    I don't smile.
    If I smile, people get scared.
    If I act friendly, it ends up as awkward stuttering.
    Therefore, I am a miserable sot by default.
     
  9. I find people more approachable when they don't look like they are going to shoot me with laser beams coming from their eyes; therefore I try to have the same demeanor. I smile at people and I don't feel weird or awkward when they don't smile back. There have been times when I've been in an awful mood and a stranger has smiled or complimented me and it completely changed my day around. I don't think I've ever had someone smile at me and then thought, "Wow, what a freak! Who does that?" So I figure not many people will think that about me.

    Smiling is great, but my favorite thing to do is compliment a stranger. It's so crazy to see their eyes light up, as if no one has said anything nice to them before. In turn, it improves my mood. So, maybe that makes me selfish ;)

    -Athena
     
  10. I have a story for you all on this topic. It's long, and depressing in a few places but I promise a great happy ending by the end of it if you see it though.

    It's a little known fact that I used to be engaged. A long time ago I used to have a best friend by the name of Heather who meant the world to me. Over a period of about five years, we developed a close friendship and would go to each other for just about everything. We knew each other so well that she could pick up on things that were bothering me before I even really tee'd off on it, and vice versa. The kind mindset where you have a sense of Ire misdirected towards something that in all reality has nothing to do with what you're actually mad about.

    Anywho, she was pretty awesome. So one day, I go overseas and get deployed out to a place with little in way of basic comforts. We didn't have showers for a time, ate out of bags, and dealt with all manner of less than pleasant situations for extended periods of time. All and all, wasn't a terribly fun prospect.

    A few months into the deployment however, I managed to come across an internet drop at one of the more built up bases in the region. After I had finished with the operations that day, I stopped in to use it and managed to catch her on an Instant Messenger. Before I knew it it was 6:00 the next morning, the sun was coming up and I had spent the whole night talking with her. At the height of this conversation the both of us came to a rather revealing conclusion.

    "You know... I think I love you."

    Maybe it was just because of being lonely from being so far apart, or a side effect of where I was. The reasons don't much matter.

    For those of you who've had a chance to catch me in the Cbox at some of the more opportune times, You know I'm a fan of dark humor. This developed while I was on that deployment. It probably existed before then, but here was where it really came into it's own. Before that conversation, death really didn't bug me. I didn't really have much of anything back home to really come back to. I volunteered for the deployment because of an absence of purpose in my life. On several occasions I joked about coming back in a box as being the "Box Special" Home. Kind of like the Box special you'd get from KFC or something. You look at it, it's a bunch of parts, packaged neatly in a box. It was a dark train of thought, but it was how I dealt with the circumstance.

    After hearing those words, everything was different the prospect of death became a whole lot more terrifying. I started to get plagued by these thoughts of "What's going to happen to her if that goes down?" How would she be informed of the situation? Who would tell her? Would she be taken care of? These thoughts and dozens more flooded my head and honestly worried me on a regular basis. Regardless of this however, when the end of any given work day would come to an end I could find a phone and give a call back to the woman I considered the love of my life. I'd bear my soul to her and she'd make all of that worry worth it. At that point, I had discovered something to live for.

    So the months go by and Heather gets accepted to a collage in Pensacola FL. She gets moved and established there and we agree that for my 2 week block of R&R, I would go down and visit her there. For those of you that don't know, R&R is a period of 15 days that troops in a combat zone get to get out of the area and take a break.

    About a month before the date of my scheduled R&R, All manner of communication with Heather stopped. I kept sending emails and calling, but I stopped getting any response. At this point in time, I am terrified something's happened to her. I have no means to get a hold of her and my mind begins to tear itself apart dreading possibilities. All the same, I keep trying. Time continues up until about a week before I'm supposed to leave and I finally get a hold of her on the phone.

    I ask her what happened. She tells me her life since I got a hold of her last has turned to a mess. Says her uncle is in the hospital, that her family as a result is all manners of crazed as a result. Says that on top of that, she's failing school and running out of money. She finally tells me that she's sorry, but she can't do "This" right now. In spite of it all however, she tells me she still wants me to come down with her to Florida.

    I'm a bit floored at this point, not entirely coming to terms with if I'm being broken up with or not. I tell her that I'd still come down, and if I could do nothing but hug her and tell her everything was going to be okay, I'd have done my job. I don't really know how I thought it'd work out at the point. In reality I tried pretty hard not to think about it.

    So the day comes and I get on a six hour Helicopter ride which connects me to one of the main transit points of the country. From there I get on several different planes that span a 28 hour trip sitting in a commercial air liner. Kuwait goes to Germany, Germany goes to Maine, Maine goes to Georgia, and from Georgia I find myself in lovely Pensacola. I take a taxi from the airport, check into my hotel and try to call Heather. Mainly, I wait. For two whole weeks.

    She never shows up.

    So I'm sitting there in a hotel, living on Delivery and too uncomfortable going out due to the culture shock of coming back into 1st world society. I came across the world to see a woman I loved and she abandoned me in a 10x10 box made to house nomads. I can't put into words how terrible I felt.

    So in any case, I can't end the story there because it'd be hopelessly depressing. For those of you who've gotten the chance to talk with me more regularly, I happen to be a reasonably stubborn bastard of sorts and I could not leave that situation without some semblance of closure. I couldn't do it. I'd go mad. I think anyone would. So using what resources I could at my disposal I made my way to her Collage and proceeded to track down her schedule. The next day that was available, I parked myself in front of her first period class and proceeded to wait for her. After some time, I see her walking with her face buried in a book. I cut her off, and when she sees me I see the color drain from her face. I tell her we need to talk.

    So we go someplace quiet and I begin an awkward conversation that quickly devolves. I tell her that she had really let me down here. At this point she looses it.

    "How dare you. You have no idea what I'm going through right now." she tells me. "You have the audacity to pull me out of a class I'm barely scraping by to tell me this when my Uncle is dying and my family life is in chaos? On top of that all I have you overseas not being Conservative about the things you tell me that are going on, scaring the living hell out of me..." She continues to chew me out for quite a bit of time until something inside me snaps. It was a very weird breaking point and to be honest I don't entirely know where the direction I took the conversation came from.

    I told her, "You know... I have thank you. Because if I wasn't so in love with the Idea of you, I wouldn't have tried so hard to stay alive overseas." It silenced her. There was nothing more to say after that, so I wished her the best life she could have... and I left.

    Once again, closure or no, that'd be a terrible place to end that story. So I won't.

    It's the last day of leave. I wake up wanting to lay down in the street and be run over by a very large truck. I pack the last of my things and make my way downstairs to check out of my hotel. At this point, everything in me wants to stop existing. As I'm leaving the hotel, I hold the door for the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life.

    I have problems putting into perspective how beautiful this woman was. The closest thing I can think of to explain it is to refer back to Helen of Troy from the Iliad. In that work, Helen was a woman who was so beautiful that two countries went to war over her. It was not a sexual beauty. She was the most captivating thing I'd ever seen at the time. In spite of everything I'd been through, I managed to smile at her... and she smiled back. She asked me how I was, and I told her "Man It's been one of those days..." She laughs and goes inside.

    Here I proceed to wait outside for a taxi that never shows up. It's at this point that I realize this is a reoccurring theme in Florida and I should never come back to this godforsaken state as long as I live. Ten minutes late turns into twenty. Twenty minutes turns to forty. Forty minutes turns to an hour and soon enough I begin to realize that I'm about to miss my plane. My mind starts to tear itself apart thinking on the things that will happen if this comes to pass. I realize I'll have to call my unit and explain to them why I was late and what happened. I'd likely be reduced in rank, be reprimanded, get all manners of extra duty and God knows what else.

    As my thoughts are tearing me apart, I hear a voice behind me. "Hey. Are you going to the airport?"

    I turn around, and it's the girl I held the door for. I tell her yes and she points to her car. "Get in, I'll give you a ride."

    I'm floored at my luck and jump in. As we're making our way there she begins to tell me, a man she doesn't know from Adam, about her Daughter. Says that earlier that day she was running late and her daughter comes up to her. The child says "Mom, I know you're running late. Give me your keys, I'll start your car."

    The mom is overjoyed at this point and hands her keys to her daughter. "Sure." She says "That's a huge help, here's the key to start it. You should know what to do."

    So the daughter takes the key and turns on the lights, the AC, the radio, and pretty much everything in the car EXCEPT for the car. When the Mom gets out there, she is surprised to find that her car is dead. She tells me from there she had to find a neighbor to jump her and the morning had been proper crazy.

    After she tells me this, she apologizes to me. She tells me she was using me for Karma points. This led me to start talking with her. Tell her about Afghanistan, about my life and why I came down here. I tell her about how my last two weeks had been and tell her about Heather. I bore my soul to that woman, the only thing I really needed when it all came down to it. She listened to me.

    So we finally get to the airport. I pull my bags out of the trunk of her car and I stare at the mechanical double doors of the building as if they are the literal gates of hell. I'm trembling as I'm standing there. I don't want to go back.

    The woman in turn steps out of her car and makes he way over to me. She looks at me and she says, "You know... Everyone needs someone to hug them off as they go Overseas."

    ...And she hugs me.

    And I'm standing there, embracing this woman as tears are running down my face. Laughing all the while because I have no idea how to react to any of this. I had never seen this woman before in my life and she had just done the nicest thing anyone had ever done for me. I hugged that woman for what seemed to be an eternity and thanked her from the bottom of my heart. I then proceeded to walk through those same doors that terrified me not minutes before.

    So I have this saying that goes: Never Forget the lady in Red. Not because she was wearing red, as she was wearing a black dress suit. But she had the most stunning shade of red lipstick on.

    The point of trying to make of all this, is never underestimate the power of what the smallest gesture of Kindness can do for a person. That tiny gesture that woman gave me, didn't just change my life, but my entire perception on life. That woman gave me reason to live, and she is the reason I am me.

    And I love who I am.

    I would give the world to tell her that. I thanked her, but I was far too awestruck from the situation to give it the justice it deserved. I'll spend the rest of my life telling this story, because it's the most Important one I have.

    So yes.

    Yes I do.

    Every chance I get.
     
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  11. I'm actually a very polite person to people I don't know. I apologize constantly and always say "May I" and "thank you" and crap. I'll always give random people a friendly salute, nod, or smile.

    No, but seriously, one time I spilled some lady's coffee as I was leaving a room and my party had already left and I turned around to survey the damage and apologize. I stayed for a second looking stupid and being embarassed before I made a tactical retreat and absconded.

    The little things.
     
  12. [​IMG]

    You knew there was only one reply when you made this thread Diana.
     
  13. Ever since I went to this Friend to Friend conference for my Peer Mentor class I've been smiling at everyone I see. And when someone looks down I make sure to let them know that it was great seeing them that day. Even if I've never met them before. Because I know how much it would mean to me to have someone notice me, especially when I'm feeling down. :)
     
  14. I'm nice to people, smile, hold doors, etc. BUT if you're going to be an inexcusable ass to me, then I try not to return the favour, but you just lost your sunshine treatment.
     
  15. This is how I smile:

    [​IMG]

    Exactly.