Repay the good behaviour, not the bad

I saw a post on Facebook this morning which said

I always say you’re welcome really loud when people don’t say thank you.

And a comment agreeing with the statement, saying yes, I hate it when people are rude.

Are you not being rude yourself by saying you’re welcome loudly? Let me explain my point of view; it might even stop you from feeling upset when people don’t acknowledge your good deeds.

Let’s start with some assumptions.

Are you assuming that people should thank you each time you do something? Yes, I get it, it’s polite, and we are taught to do it, but what if the person was not taught this social convention?

What if they were extremely depressed and just did not notice you?

What if they have ADD and just did not notice you – and let me point out straight away, no, I am not saying people with ADD are rude, I am trying to point out that there are many reasons why people may not acknowledge the things you do, and distraction is one of them.

What if they just received some upsetting news, got divorced or were recently bereaved?

You could think that’s no excuse for rudeness, but I think to be rude, we have to be aware that we are doing something wrong.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

What I try to do, just for the simple reason that it keeps my life calm, is not to get upset or to take one wrongdoing further.

I am very aware that in writing this post, I am making myself out to be some sort of saint, which I am certainly not.

If I hold a door open for someone, and they do not say thank you, I do nothing; I don’t even notice it now. In another life, I would have been very upset.

If I had to think about it, which I am doing now, it’s not a life-and-death situation, so no need to stress over it.

From a psychological perspective, repaying the good can act as a Positive Reinforcement: where rewarding a specific behaviour can increase the likelihood of seeing that behaviour again.

You start to create a Positive Cycle: responding to good behaviour with more good behaviour can make a positive cycle where people are motivated to continue acting positively.

You are also modelling the type of behaviour you want to see if others by promoting a culture of positivity and respect.

There are a lot of posts on social media about paying forward good behaviour; this is good. I think if you do something, and someone doesn’t thank you, and you let them know ‘loudly’, you are paying forward bad behaviour, which is not good for you.

Pay forward good behaviour, and not the bad!

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