April 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm , by Julie Bain
One of our favorite writers, Holly Robinson, and I appeared together on the Today Show this morning to talk about being polite when you really feel mad. (That’s us, right, pretending to fight in the Green Room at 30 Rock.) You can see our conversation with Hoda and Kathie Lee here.
Have you been in a situation recently where you felt your anger going out of control? It might have been in a slow line at the grocery store, or in a restaurant, or even behind the wheel after someone cut you off—you know that feeling of blind, roaring rage?
After a series of stressful encounters with rude, impatient people one day, Robinson snapped at a slow waitress. But then she felt terrible when she saw and heard the waitress stomp back into the kitchen and take out her anger on the cook. That made Robinson stop and remember her British grandmother, who always reminded her that “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
So she decided to try an experiment for the next week: No matter what happened, she would be polite and disarm with charm instead of blowing her top. The result was a revelation: People weren’t just more polite in return, but Robinson felt better—and much less stressed. For her, the key was acknowledging and appreciating the people around her, and understanding that the people she encountered had stresses of their own and were doing the best they could. (Read about the health dangers of too much anger after the jump.) Read more