Boundaries of Kindness

Kelson - rexburg, Idaho
Entered on October 15, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

There is a lot of hate going on in the world. People are ignoring others on the street, bulling work and class mates, and killing people without even a flinch. I believe in treating everyone with kindness from the heart, and being polite to everyone I come across. My mom always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This cliché is used many times in life, but I apply this motto in mine, for rudeness and mean words only bring people down and cause wars and conflicts between one another. I prefer to keep myself on the good side of people’s lives, and be the person who puts a smile on their faces. But is there ever a line that could be crossed between being nice to everyone and treating people as they deserve?

There is this dude who lives in the same hall of the BYUI dormitories as I do. When I first met him, I couldn’t tell what kind of personality he had, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and treated him with the same kindness and politeness as I do with everyone. But as time went by, I got to know the real person behind that first impression.

Brotherly love can only go so far. I would give a simple greeting to him and then he’ll turn it into an autobiography lecture. He talks about himself, nonstop. And while he talks to me, his oddly shaped head and his slobbering mouth, wearing his oversized blue, clown shoes, dog tags, and ridiculous Mario shirt, stands no more than five inches from my face. Personal space is being invaded. And the obvious odor that comes from his total lack of hygiene skills, his greasy, uncombed hair, unbrushed teeth and unknown session of last shower, would overpower me. Not to mention the sight of his SpongeBob Square Pants bed sheets, with star wars, hunchback of Notre Dame, and Goosebumps pillowcases, surrounded by loads of dirty laundry, and piles of dirty dishes in his room would creep me out.

But the problem is not his nerdy, dirty appearance, it is the way he interacts with others. He has a total lack of social and communication skills. He doesn’t know when to shut up or what not to say when talking with others. He would walk into my room and just blatantly insult me, then blabber on about him and his day and his life. I feel less inclined to be kind to him when he talks to me like this. To relieve my anger, I would participate in the pranks that were pulled on him, and I would laugh along when other dorm mates would do hilarious and accurate impressions of him. I would also try to ignore him when he would talk to me, or completely cut him off while he was talking hoping to avoid another long, annoying conversation with him.

How could I treat someone like this? I knew that this was wrong. If I don’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. It doesn’t matter how annoying, or disrespectful, or just plain weird he is, that gives me no right to treat him badly. I would not like to be treated this way. He has feelings just like everyone else and it doesn’t make it right for me to treat them lightly. After I pulled the prank on him, I felt horrible. Who knows what kind of reaction he would have. And if he would have jumped over the edge, I would feel responsible and I would never forgive myself. It helps for me to treat others as I would want them to treat me. Another cliché, I know, but clichés help influence good behavior, especially in my life.

It doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end, I believe that I should always be polite to everyone and treated everyone with kindness. My belief should not be compromised by this weird looking dude. He deserves to be treated with kindness just as much as everyone else. The teasing and mocking has stopped, but this guy is great at coming up with reasons for us to make fun of him.