So, let’s do a little exercise here. Take a second and think about the last time you thought something nice about someone else. Gentlemen, thinking “I would totally tap that ass” does not count for this exercise. Now, think about the last time you said something nice to someone else.
There’s probably a gap there, right? When you think a little longer and stretch that window of time further, the ratio of the positive things we’ve thought about people to those thoughts we’ve actually communicated to them is pretty staggering. Given the relative ease of offering a kind word or two, why don’t we choose to?
The reasons are myriad and range in origin from the innocuous (“they seem really busy”) to the devious (“I wouldn’t want to show vulnerability to a co-worker or, God forbid, a subordinate”). On top of that is a certain social timidity we all have to some degree – no one wants to be the one person that does something unexpected and makes the other people in the room take notice. Well, everyone other than Bjork.