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thread: Why do you do nice things?

  1. #1
    Registered User

    Nov 2009
    Scottish expat living in Geelong
    5,572

    Why do you do nice things?

    Inspired by Olive's lovely post about helping an old man...



    Do you do nice things for strangers? Why?

    For example, if the person in front of you at the checkout was 50c short to pay for their shopping would you pay? What if it was $5, or $10?
    Would you give a lift to a stranger who needed it? Why would you do this, for reward, public recognition, or private boost? Has someone helped you like this and you are just paying it forward?

    A person on my facebook (not a friend but one of those awkward situations where I can't find a way to delete her without making university uncomfortable) recently posted that she's glad she has been giving a lift to another student because now that person has been buying her gifts and I found it odd. Not that she shouldn't appreciate the gifts but it was the way it was stated which was basically "more people should do nice things because then people buy you stuff". But am I unusual and is her attitude more common?

    Just musing, would be interested in your thoughts

  2. #2
    Administrator
    Add Rouge on Facebook

    Jun 2003
    Ubiquity
    9,922

    Ew. You don't do nice things for people to get stuff. That's not being nice, that's being manipulative.

    I do what I think is right. If that happens to be being nice then so be it. If someone needs something I have and it won't put me or my family out I'll help. I don't go overboard though. But I do think that you get what you give back, and I do think you should treat others how you would like to be treated. And pay it forward and all that. It's what I always say to people that I help. Don't help me back, help someone else.

    And Olive, I still think that was super awesome

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Jun 2009
    vic
    2,886

    I do nice things because it makes me feel good I don't do it for anything in return although a smile of apreciation would be nice.

  4. #4

    Jul 2009
    Out North, Vic
    8,538

    I TY to do nice things for other people (including strangers).

    I have paid the difference in someones shopping before, left the $1 in the trolley for the next person who couldn't find a coin.
    I do it to help someone else out plain and simple, i'd also hope that IF i was ever a couple of $$ short someone might say here don't worry.

    If i help a friend i do it because they are my friend, not because they MIGHT get me a gift or it means they owe me, thats not how i work.

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Nov 2010
    Cairns
    681

    I am a big believer in helping where I can. I paid for a woman's fuel a few months back because she had forgot her wallet, was struggling with a little baby and was close to tears when she realized she couldn't pay. It was $20 and it saved her heartache. DH thinks it's mad sometimes but I remember when mine were little and things were hard, just little things made my day better. I didn't expect her to pay me back (even though she offered repeatedly), I was just trying to do a good thing for someone. We try and pass that onto our kids, being nice to others and helping people when they need it (and so far most of it is sticking). I can't say to them do xyz and not practice it in my own life ITMS.

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber
    Add sushee on Facebook

    Sep 2004
    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
    4,361

    I'm sure I do nice things. I can't remember what though! Generally speaking, I guess I try to be considerate. Holding lifts open, helping someone carry something, spending lots of time looking for the perfect present, giving people lifts. That sort of thing.

    Though yesterday I received a MASSIVE box in the mail and I picked it up from the bottom of my office building. Some random guy ran over and carried it all the way to my desk for me. And now the guy I work with has offered to carry it all the way to my car.

    People are nice. I want to be that nice right back.

  7. #7
    Registered User

    Nov 2009
    Scottish expat living in Geelong
    5,572

    I realise I forgot to answer my own question

    I do nice things when I can because I have received help in my life and I am just paying it forward. I have to admit though I feel good when I do something nice for a stranger, kind of like a high, so maybe I am doing nice things to get something in return. Not getting stuff in return, but that nice feeling. Not sure what to do about that though.

    Rouge, you are so correct in your call of manipulative, that is exactly what this person is.

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Nov 2011
    SE Melbourne
    2,975

    I think it's the very very very rare person who would do something purely for altruistic reasons. There's nothing wrong with doing something nice because it makes you feel good. I think that's honest and the 'true' reason most people do nice things... They just probably don't Realise consciously.

    I am nice because I like the feeling and I think it makes me a 'good person' - whatever that means

    I probably don't do it with money much, but holding doors, saying Thankyou, helping people lift things etc etc etc.... It's just nice, and feels good. And people usually smile at you, and that feels good.

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Feb 2005
    NSW/VIC Border
    734

    I like to think that I do nice things without even thinking about it, it just happens

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Dec 2008
    8,986

    I never give it a 2nd thought. I just do it.

  11. #11

    Jul 2009
    Australia
    5,102

    I probably don't do it with money much, but holding doors, saying Thankyou, helping people lift things etc etc etc.... It's just nice, and feels good. And people usually smile at you, and that feels good.
    Exactly this ^. I do nice things because the smile and thanks i get just feels nice and i do what i would hope someone else would do for me. The generosity of strangers is sometimes overwhelming.

  12. #12
    Registered User

    Feb 2008
    Gold Coast, QLD
    1,563

    I found an ipod touch in the playground and tried really hard to find the owner, called local high schools and put up posters. I didn't go to the police because I doubted they would actively try to find the owner. Eventually I took it to the Apple store to see if it was registered.

    It was. But the Apple guy was so weird and rude to me, treated me like an idiot. I have no idea why. He asked me if I wanted to give the owner my details and I said "no, that's not necessary." I didn't want anything or to make them feel like they owed me. This just made the Apple guy treat me even worse.

    I left the store feeling like sh**. But I wouldn't have done it any differently (I will, however, never go back to an Apple store).

  13. #13

    Mar 2004
    Sparta
    12,662

    I've always assumed I do nice things because I am an animal that lives in a herd and it's biologically hardwired into me to advance the needs of the herd and therefore propagate my species.

  14. #14
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber & MPM

    Feb 2007
    Melbourne
    5,462

    I think most of us are nice to others just because it's a nice thing to do. It seems to be part of human nature and I agree, gives a lovely high . What goes around comes around, I totally believe that. I don't do nice things to have nice things in return, it's just in my nature (and in lots of people's nature that I know).

    I have a lot to be thankful for thanks to the kindness of others - growing up we literally had nothing and the amount of kindness we were shown by friends and strangers is just amazing. I am only more than happy to be generous in return (paying it forward I guess) as I know how much it means

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber
    Add sushee on Facebook

    Sep 2004
    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
    4,361

    I always knew that that was why you did nice things for me, Onyx! I AM your herd.

  16. #16
    Life Subscriber

    Jul 2006
    Brisbane
    6,683

    I think this a paradox. If someone bought me a gift for doing something nice i would feel uncomfortable because it's so un-necessary and just kind of doesn't need a gift. But I have at times bought gifts for people who've helped me out. Is that weird?

    But definitely I would just help someone for the sake of it - because that's the right thing to do and it's part of being a community (or a herd if you prefer).

  17. #17
    Administrator
    Add Rouge on Facebook

    Jun 2003
    Ubiquity
    9,922

    I've always assumed I do nice things because I am an animal that lives in a herd and it's biologically hardwired into me to advance the needs of the herd and therefore propagate my species.
    Duuuuuude! I wish that were the case. Or the world would be perfect.

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Add fionas on Facebook

    Apr 2007
    Recently treechanged to Woodend, VIC
    3,473

    I think it was hardwired into me at a young age at school - that it's important to be a "good" person and help others. I don't remember my parents telling me that but my dad is a very considerate, giving man so he probably set me that example.

    Later on, I think I realised that it makes me feel good too and later still that yes, I think there's a certain amount of truth in the idea of karma.

    So yes, I would definitely help people out if they were short of cash at the checkout. I'm also conscious of setting my girls a good example. The other day, I saw a woman parked at the side of the road with her hazard lights on. We went back to see if she needed help.

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