I'm not always one to be overly outgoing. I tend to show my true colors only after I've felt you out and you've felt me out and we've somehow mutually decided that we'll be friends. Even though you might not hear me tell a story that I think is so funny I snort and cry in my laughter until we've hung out for a year or two...I'm still pleasant. I see no reason not to be.
I like flashing a smile when I meet you on the sidewalk. There's no reason not to say hello to the greeter at Walmart. If you've bagged my groceries and are walking me out to the car to then put them in my trunk...well, then, why wouldn't we chat about the weather?
Now, I also tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I mean, even I, who bubbles with friendliness, has off days. On those days my eyes might not meet yours, or my smile might be contrived. Nobody can be 'on' all the time.
All this said, there are are two women I have issue with. One is a bagger at our commissary. (If you're unfamiliar, the commissary is the grocery store on base. There are baggers who "work for tips only" and will also take your purchases to your vehicle and load them in for you.) I've seen her in the aisles of the store while she's on breaks. She's been at the end of my cashier's lane more than a few times. I've lived here for over two years. We've interacted. However, she has never said more to me than, "Plastic or paper?" She answers my questions with as short an answer as possible. And she wears a permanent scowl. I try not to judge, but really...you work with people! I bet if someone kept track the other baggers made more with their tips than she does because they smile or say hi to my kids or any of it! Enjoy yourself...just a little.
The other woman I haven't given years to impress me. She is a parent at Gracie's preschool. We've been there for two months! In that time, though, she's been on the phone every time I see her. I'm not really sure if she's talking to someone every morning and afternoon or if she uses the phone as a way to keep people at a distance. It's not just the phone that annoys me, though. She also keeps her foot in the door when signing her daughter in so there's no way she'll be trapped inside and faced with possible conversations. She doesn't say good bye to her daughter, just ushers her through the door, signs the sheet, and leaves. I have seen her give a brief wave to the teachers. And she parks in such a way that she'll be able to get out, regardless of what chaos this brings to the rest of the parents. The drop off portion of the parking lot is a one way U shape. She has never driven through it that I've seen. She parks in the entrance so the tail of her car is almost still on the road, then backs out when she's ready to leave. I have also seen her pull up on the grass, not in the driveway at all. This act, in and of itself, is not offensive. It's what most of us do when we don't want to get stuck in the U part, waiting for parents in front of us to come back out. However, instead of pulling straight out into the road and going on her way after scurrying out of the school, she does a 3-point turn in the road, stopping traffic in all directions.
Now, this woman might not annoy me quite as much, although probably, but her daughter is also unpleasant. She's not nice to Gracie and I'll assume she's not all that great with the other kids either. She's rude, bossy, takes things, a little brat. If I knew just her I'd think, "What a little imp," but having met(?) her mother I instead think, "How sad."
It seems to me that taking a little time to be cordial, pleasant, considerate to others encourages others to carry that positivity on in their days. It's discouraging when the rest of us consistently have to make up for one or two people's crabbiness, especially when we have to make up for it by trying to tolerate your kid's reaction to you. Frustrating. And I'm not even the teacher.
So, let your personality shine...and if it's a little dull, start polishing. Give it a good spit shine. Please.