The second Monday in January after Christmas has to be one of the most depressing days of the year, doesn’t it? Trudging home from work in the cold, drizzling rain, clutching my salad miserably to my chest, with the prospect of an evening spent guiltily avoiding the gym whilst jealously scrolling through Instagrams of celebrities on the beach, I guess I wasn’t concentrating on the pavement, and I accidentally stepped on the shoe of the man in front of me, tripping him slightly.
‘Oh, god, sorry!’ I exclaimed immediately, because you know, I’m not evil, I don’t go around kicking people in the shins for a laugh. I don’t know if he didn’t hear me (he had headphones in, to be fair) or if he was just in an equally miserable mood, but he yelled ‘OUCH!’ and leapt in the air as if I’d stuck a boiling hot poker up his bum, then turned and gave me the kind of look usually reserved for paedophiles in prison, muttering furiously ‘Stupid cow.’
I gave him one of those very British ‘WHAT?’ looks, tutted, muttered ‘I said I was SORRY,’ and made it about halfway down the street before I burst into tears.
And it made me think – you know what? He could’ve just not done that. He could’ve said ‘Oh, don’t worry love,’ and given me a kindly smile, and I would’ve maybe felt a little cheerier. What did he get out of making me cry on my way home? We could all just do with being a little nicer.
So here are my ten ways to, you know, not be that dickhead man.
1. Don’t yell at people who accidentally bump into you or tread on your foot or cut you up in their car. Think about all the times you have accidentally bumped into someone, or been driving really quickly because you’re late and accidentally got in someone’s way, or pushed onto a tube when there isn’t any room because you just really want to get home to watch Netflix in your pyjamas. You don’t do these things to piss other people off, do you? So why shout at someone else and make them feel even more like crap?
2. Leave a tip. Being a waitress is horrible.
3. Force yourself to give one compliment a day, whether it’s to a complete stranger (brave) or your significant other (less brave but still appreciated). Think how nice you feel when someone says ‘I like your bag!’ Give that feeling to other people.
4. Don’t troll people on the Internet. Imagine if everyone found out you were commenting on some girl’s Instagram calling her fat – they’d think it was weird and creepy, and that you were probably just jealous. It is. You are. Stop it, creepy jealous weirdo.
5. Smile at people, especially children and the elderly. Wave at kids from train windows. It makes you live longer.
6. Help people pick things up when they drop them. Help them clean things up if they spill them. Don’t tut and move your stuff away as if they’re trying to infect you with their lukewarm Starbucks caramel latte. They're embarrassed as it is!
7. Give money to homeless people. So what if they’re going to spend it on alcohol and cigarettes? What the hell were you going to spend it on? Buy them food instead if you’re so concerned, but come on – spare a pound.
8. Hold the lift for people. Don’t roll your eyes if they want to stop at a floor below yours. You will not die if you have to wait another 25 seconds to get to your desk and eat your Chop’d salad.
9. Do not loudly point out when people have made mistakes just for the sake of it. E.g. if you are at dinner and someone says ‘the Oasis song Park Life,’ you do not need to leap in and prove your music prowess by embarrassing them. They probably meant to say Blur anyway and you just look mean.
10. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Yes, exactly like your mother taught you!