Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

It seems like a radical idea these days.

I had this thought on my most recent bike ride when I had yet another encounter with an aggressive driver in a large SUV. I was riding on the road when he drove by me as if I wasn't there. He was so close I could touch the side of the car. There was no excuse for him not to move over. The road where I was riding has a large median strip and there were no cars coming in the other direction.

When I approached the driver at the stoplight, I asked him if he tried to run me off the road. He got defensive. "No, I did not try to run you off the road," he replied. I told him I was glad about that and asked him to be more careful the next time.

As I rode away, I fought tears.

This is getting old. But it's not just the bike.

Why are people so mean?

I don't know about you, but I've noticed just a general loss of kindness and civility these days.

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?


Maybe to you all, the idea of being nice doesn't seem so radical.

Treat people as you want to be treated.

In my running world, my blogging world, we are all pretty respectful and supportive to each other.

The real world is a whole other thing. I get a lot of "real world" at my job. I see sick kids. Stressed parents accompany them. They are demanding answers and treatments. It's really a test of my knowledge, experience, and diplomacy.

I think I do a pretty good job, most of the time.

But every once in a while, someone rubs me the wrong way. Sometimes, even though I shouldn't, I push back. I'm working hard on not getting defensive. After all, you never know where someone is coming from.

On the other hand, we live in a pretty confrontational world right now. We've got a presidential candidate who likes to bully anyone who doesn't agree with him. Even if you don't agree with him, you can't deny that his attitude has been contagious.

People are on edge.

This guy, the driver of the car? He came right back at me. I didn't rise to his bait. It was really hard not to. I wanted to tell him what I thought of him. Of his driving.

But when you think about it, I was pretty vulnerable. I was alone. On my bike.

As I rode away, I considered our encounter. I felt good that I didn't argue with him. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything at all.

On the other hand, maybe, because I was civilized about it, maybe next time he sees a cyclist, he'll move over.

Maybe not. But I'm confident that I didn't make the situation worse.

We have to arm ourselves to win the battle against the mean. 

Our weapon of choice? Kill them with kindness.

It might seem simple, even radical, but it's the only way.

Do you agree? Have you noticed people becoming more surly these days? How would you have handled this situation? Is it so radical to expect people to be nice?

I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word. Today's word is radical. What do you think?












I'm also linking up with the Wild Workout Wednesday ladies: Annmarie, Nicole, Jen, and Michelle!











And with Susie, Debbie, Lora, and Rachel for Coaches Corner.


118 comments :

  1. There isn't a bit of doubt that people these days have become crazy confrontational and just outright rude, and sometimes it's SO hard not to rise to the bait. I know my parents didn't raise me to treat people with such blatant disrespect, but all we can do is try and keep our heads on straight, especially when it seems no one else does.

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    1. Some days it feels like all we do is battle with other people. And then you encounter an amazingly nice person--it feels so good! We should all try to be that person instead of challenging everyone we meet...

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  2. Did you see the recent debacle with the woman in Charlotte NC? Pulled over INTO the bike lane to block a bunch of cyclists, then flipped them all off on camera when they confronted her. Needless to say, it blew up on the internet, people went after her employer, etc. It just baffles my mind. I can understand being frustrated, having a bad day, etc. But I cannot fathom why people would go to extremes that could potentially KILL someone else, just because they feel they may have lost a few extra seconds on the road to yield to a cyclist. Ugh. This is really the main reason why I gave up cycling/triathlon. Road riding petrifies me.

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    1. How did I miss this story? My husband drives through a suburb where it sees like everyone rides in the morning and they are quite aggressive. So I can understand the frustration--but it isn't worth it to confront cyclists! How would that woman feel if she actually hurt or killed one of them?

      I agree with you--one of the reasons I don't cycle competitively or do triathlon is because of the road. I mostly ride on trails but I do have to ride on the roads to get there.

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  3. Honestly, I see more people trying to be kind to counteract the meanness in the news. Riding on the road is scary. Some drivers are assholes but I think more are just clueless, don't realize how close they are or how dangerous it is to be that close. I'm glad you said something relatively calmly without it getting ugly.

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    1. I respectfully disagree, Coco. I think the large majority who behave in this way ARE assholes. It's so incredibly depressing. And sad. And dangerous. Clueless I can handle. Meanness, not so much.

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    2. I don't know if the guy was clueless or being an asshole. It just seems like common sense to me to move over.

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  4. Ohhhh I agree! People are mean! Please be careful with the bikes and roads-- scares me!!! Hope you'll stop by for the Best of the Blogs linkup today.

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  5. I think one of the downsides of social media is that people don't have a filter anymore. They just feel like they can insult people without any care. The political season right now does not help either

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    1. Perfectly stating an imperfect situation.

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    2. I think that people find it easier to confront others behind a screen or the wheel of a car, rather than face to face. It's been interesting and kind of sad to see this evolution.

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  6. I'm not necessarily a wimp, but I do usually play the role of the "nice person." And, most times, I leave a lot of those situations wondering if I should have been more of a #itch about things. But, I'd rather be the (somewhat) calm & collected (classy?) one than the ranting lunatic LOL I have a gal I work with who is always in a bad mood. I think she's just socially awkward, but it comes across as defensive...and she NEVER smiles, laughs, or lets down her guard. Like you said, we never really know where people are coming from...so it's best to be nice no matter how they treat us. Stay safe!!! ;-)

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    1. I bet where you live people are generally nicer--that small town/college town atmosphere has to be conducive to niceness. Here I find people are very aggressive. Even though I've lived in the suburbs for almost 20 years, I still can't believe how rude people can be.

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  7. This post made me cry. The level of hatred, meanness, and vitriol that envelopes our world is staggering. There are so many reasons: the political process this year foremost among them, but, as also noted by Deborah, they relative anonymity of social media is in part to blame, as is the "Me First" world in which we live.

    I tend to be defensive, too, and fight uttering retorts. I will remember this story in the future and use it as a guide. Your advice is wonderful, and yes, radical: Be kind. Always.

    Can you imagine if all your followers began today and it spread, one person at a time? Can you imagine if your story was the beginning of a movement? Can you imagine the world if kindness prevailed?

    Just imagine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhq-yO1KN8

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    1. I'm not always calm and collected, especially when I'm verbally attacked, but I felt so vulnerable on my bike. I need to remember this too, when I'm at work! I was surprised how that encounter on the bike brought tears to my eyes. I think I'm just tired of it.

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  8. I agree and I think that people are just overall mean and miserable these days.
    During my run yesterday I must have smiled, waved or did a head nod to about 20 runners, and only 1-2 acknowledged me. Finally I just screamed out "Why is everyone so fucking rude?!". I know the last runner that didnt acknowledge me heard me and I'm glad that she did. I was SO annoyed. I am so sick of people that have a constant stick up their butt. If you are in good health and can put one foot in front of the other, there is nothing to be cranky about!

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    1. Oh, that happened to me yesterday on my run! I was running in my neighborhood and I passed a guy. I raised my hand to say hi and he looked the other way. That really bothered me. He broke the runners' code!

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  9. I see people being more surly on social media, but I don't really notice it in face to face contact. Being a teacher, I have to deal with all kinds of parents and family members (much like you do!) who aren't always very nice to me. I remind myself it is NOT about me. It is my JOB to of course do what is best for the child, and being rude to families doesn't help anything. Now that doesn't mean I acquiesce to parents demands, but I have to be firm and polite. For instance, last June a parent asked me three times to change their child's music grade because it was MY fault they didn't get their work done. Omg I had so many things I wanted to say, but unfortunately none of it was very professional and a simple, "No I will not change your child's grade. That is the grade your student earned." had to suffice.

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    1. I try so hard not to take it all personally but I have days when I do a better job than others! I think I surprised everyone the other day when I had to deal with a vaccine refuser who wanted me to sign a religious exemption form. I was calm but firm. It's not easy to say no but it's the right thing to do.

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  10. I've had this conversation with my husband before. It does seem that everyone is angry and aggressive these days. Though I wrote a similar post about cars vs. runners about four or five years ago, so it's not new. And cars vs. bikes are the worst! Some drivers just hate people on bikes. I'm not sure if they had a bad experience and now need to take it out on all cyclists or what. We had a case about 5 years ago in California where a doctor(!) got so mad at the cyclists that he drove in front of them and slammed on his brakes! One of the guys in particular was severely injured. And just recently a friend of a friend had a confrontation with a driver where the guy was yelling and calling the cyclist names on camera. He later apologized (because the video blew up and went kind of viral), but it could have been dangerous. You did good by staying calm and maybe the driver will do things a little differently. Plus, since you never know who you're dealing with, getting angry could end up being dangerous for you.

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    1. Part the the anger towards cyclists is on the cyclists who ride aggressively and hog the road. They make it bad for all of us. But people in cars have to realize that they can inflict much more harm than the people on bikes.

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  11. Kill them with kindness is always the best approach.

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  12. Almost got hit by a (possibly drunk) driver the other night who ROCKETED backwards out of his driveway while I was crossing it on an evening run. Didn't even look - I had hit his driveway while he was getting into his vehicle, so it's not like I just ran in front of a car pulling out. He hopped in and SLAMMED on the gas; if I had been even slightly less agile or wasn't paying attention I'd be missing a leg right now (and THANK GOD my dog was out in front of me and safely across). I yelled "Hey watch out man!" as he continued to pull out with his window open, and he just looked at me like *I* was the problem before speeding down the street (and blowing the stop sign) without saying a word. Looped back around the same block for a second mile and there he is coming home! So I said "Oh good you're back, maybe now you can apologize." Guy says "Geeze, I'm sorry already, get over it!"

    UM NO.

    You could have killed me and my dog, and I had to ASK YOU to apologize. I'm not going to "get over it" because if I just moved on without saying anything, you'd probably end up killing someone else. This guy has NO respect for pedestrians and I would venture to guess he doesn't move over for bikes either. He can't even seem to stop at stop signs. Awful - and then he gives ME attitude. NOPE.

    On the other hand, I was running in the rain at night last week, on a road with no sidewalks and minimal shoulder, and almost every single car moved almost to the other side of the road for me. I'm glad I wore reflective clothes and had a big white towel to wave around to draw extra attention to where I was, and SO appreciative of the people who gave me plenty of room!

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    1. That is so scary! I almost ran over a kid on his trike a few years ago while backing out of my driveway. Of course, his dad let him ride on ahead and I did not see him. I felt terrible and that dad was such a jerk about it. I asked him to either walk with the kid or put a flag on his trike so people can see him.

      On the other hand, when people let me pass on my bike or on a run, I always acknowledge them with a wave.

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  13. I have a tendency to get a little aggressive (or maybe assertive is a better word) when someone is rude or mean in general. I don't understand why people just can't be civil and respectful? Is it really that hard?

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    1. I have that tendency as well and I am learning that it isn't helping me out. So I'm trying the kill 'em with kindness tact. No one wins these things anyways.

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  14. Ha! A few weeks ago I was shopping with a friend. My friend was driving (and didn't do anything wrong/disobey any laws, etc.), and we could clearly see the guy backing his truck up in front of us mouthing the words "F--- you" to us. I opened my window with the biggest smile on my face and just said, "I'm sorry, sir. We couldn't hear you with the window closed". He again yelled "F--- you". With that great big smile I shouted back, "oh, okay! And F--- you, too!" He got so pissed! We just laughed and drove away. I think our laughing and giving it right back to him was what really got to him. Of course being alone and on a bike is a whole different situation.

    I'm never the aggressor in a situation, but I will always give it right back when they're being blatant jerks like this guy was. I agree it's very tough in the patient care situation as we know (or do we?) just how stressed parents of sick babies/kids can be. I've definitely had to bite my tongue more times than I can count!

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    1. Your story made me laugh! However, I'm starting to rethink the whole giving it back thing because it never seems to end well.

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  15. People are so rude! I don't understand how they can be so mean and inconsiderate. As a biker or a runner you should be able to just get out and go without fear of being hit or attacked. Praying for this world! I'm glad you are ok

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  16. Even though it probably wasn't the "safest" thing to do, I'm glad you confronted that asshat. Maybe it'll make him think twice, maybe not. Sigh. I wish I could say I've never experienced anything like that but the truth is I do most days I'm out there. I made the left out of the school parking lot onto the road with a 30mph school speed limit to have a pickup truck doing at least 50 race up on my bumper, swerve into oncoming traffic all the while screaming at me. This is why we can't carry guns.
    You're right: treat people the way you want to be treated. LOOK for the kindness around you. We see what we choose to see. xo

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    1. I know, I thought twice about calling him out. But I think I was just so sick of it that I lost my head and did it. Glad it turned out ok.

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  17. I wish people looked out for cyclists and runners more! I have such a hard time udnerstanding why anyone would want to be cruel or not nice. Its sad that some people have so much hate and anger in their lives- all we can do is spread love and kindness :)

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    1. I'm not sure why everyone has become so confrontational these days. Where is this coming from?

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  18. It is so easy to stay and expect everyone to act as they do in the supportive blogging world isn't it? Why is it so hard to just "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you?" Good for you for confronting the man. I hope it made him think the next time he approached a biker.

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    1. It's pretty darn nice here in our little bubble!

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  19. Sorry this happened to you. The other day I was running on a road in town (it is two lanes both going the same direction on a one way street mind you). And instead of running on part of the sidewalk that was crummy and dangerous, I decided to run on the edge of the road (right by the sidewalk) for a while. This guy in a beat up old Honda drove right up beside me (when he clearly had 2 lanes to ride in) and hollered at me "Run on the sidewalk". It actually scared me because no one has every hollered at me while running before. I didn't think I was taking up more of his space when he had two whole lanes to drive in. Some people...!

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    1. I've been called out for running in the street but the fact is our sidewalks are in terrible shape. Don't forget the people who park their cars across the sidewalk too.

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  20. OmG! I can't believe you approached the driver! That is so brave! I'm glad you were safe and nothing happened.

    I firmly believe that having Orange Man running for president is making people all over the country to act like him! And all of his supporters think that it is their given right to be complete jerks!

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  21. Your experience really touched a nerve! I too find it very scary to ride on roads, and do very little of it. On my occasional bike commutes to work, I am so, so grateful to the polite drivers in my neighborhood. But sad to say, I never expect politeness. I'm glad you are okay!

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    1. Looks like all of us have experienced rudeness and scary situations. Maybe we should all be nice about it? And maybe, we could hope, that people will think twice in the future.

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  22. To be honest, I have seen some pretty mean things in the blogosphere as well (people who hide behind a compute screen and think they can just be mean and criticize others), although it hasn't been directed at me personally (yet).

    My approach is always to be kind and give someone the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes it's really hard when everything is met with cockiness and condescending remarks. I think it's good that you said something to the driver of the SUV... maybe he will take your (kind!) comment to heart and be more careful around other bikers from now on. Sometimes, I think people's heads are just up in the clouds.

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    1. I feel very fortunate that the worst thing I've experienced on my blog is spam. I got called out last week for a comment I made that was misunderstood, but I apologized for that. That's the thing. People are so on edge and defensive. Just watch the news. There's a protest for almost everything.

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  23. Especially living in a big city (of very opinionated people), I see outright people being literal bitches to each other on a regular basis. I hear about it on the news on a regular basis. The stupid (and yes, stupid is the only word that seems to fit) political race and election year just makes me sick.
    Why can't people keep their punk ass selves quiet? Or are we all so miserable?

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    1. It's almost as if there's a challenge and everyone has to be in on it. Like being nice would be "giving in". No really, it's those who argue and insult who are the losers here.

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  24. I'm often reminded of this when we travel and it's crazy to see how aggressive people can be with driving in different areas and something I always take note of when we are in a new place. Sometimes I get so nervous when my husband decides to run in some of these places. Where we live there aren't a lot of aggressive drivers. However we do have a lot of protests here lately that shut down roads which always freaks me out and puts people on edge.

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    1. People around here drive very aggressively (and I won't deny that I am one of them). But I am extra cautious around pedestrians and bikers. Because, you know, karma...

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  25. I can't say that I've personally experience the rudeness around here. So far, everyone has been pretty respectful while I'm cycling. My worst encounter this morning was the usual group of old men (with canes) who were standing in the middle of the road. LOL. Get on the sidewalk! But, I agree the hatred is all over social media.

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    1. I'm moving to the south! I do think a lot of what I see has to do with living outside of a big city. Everyone's in a hurry...to go nowhere fast.

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  26. I'm glad you said something! I often keep my mouth shut and wish I'd set something. Like you said, good not to argue with him, but hopefully he'll be more aware from now on.

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    1. I hope so! He just seemed really annoyed with me.

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  27. Do you know how many times I heard "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" while I was growing up? As the youngest of four, probably daily for many years. Our home could erupt in chaos, but my mom was on our case all the time to get along. I think that phrase has disappeared for many and "just being real" has crept in as an excuse for meanness and cruelty.

    As far as handling that situation - I think you did it just right. I had a guy pull a u-turn right in front of me while I was on my bike. "Pay attention, please!" flew out of my mouth as I slammed on my brakes. He acted like he hadn't even seen me up to that point.

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    1. That was the rule of thumb at our house growing up too! And not to stir the pot. Better to put up and shut up...nah....

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  28. Oooh good post! People are rude, but then there are always people who are incredibly kind. I think it's easy to let the rude outshine the kind because rudeness is just plain and simple nasty to deal with.
    I try to wave, smile, and greet everyone I encounter on my run - whether they wave back - because I just hope that maybe kindness can be contagious also.
    Oh, and don't get me started on the presidential debate. It makes me truly sad because people think that having a candidate who is a bully gives them permission to be bullies. I was so happy when the Olympics gave us a break from all of that and we saw genuine examples of kindness and character - from Usain Bolt pausing an interview to honor our national anthem to the two girls who helped each other up on the track.

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    1. Maybe that's why I enjoyed the Olympics so much this year! I hadn't thought about it that much, but I was sad when they were over. All the goodwill!

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  29. I relate to this so much (from both sides). I generally try to be as nice and respectful of all people as I can, but occasionally I let a bad day or whatever else impact me and I'm not-so-nice. I always feel terrible if I lose my cool or take my stress out on someone else, but I know it happens. That's why when someone is rude or mean to me, I try to remember that it probably has absolutely nothing to do with me. It's probably something that is going on with them in their life.

    While it's no excuse for being disrespectful or rude, it does help me move on and remember that people are inherently good.

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    1. No one's perfect and as much as I try to be accepting and not take things personally, it happens.

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  30. Some drivers have such animosity towards bicyclists in general that I've been yelled at for doing nothing but bike on a city street. Also sometimes when I run out in the 'burbs on the shoulder of a road most cars slow and swerve around me. But the occasional car speeds up and come within a foot or two of taking me out. I just don't get it. :(

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    1. Well, this was in the 'burbs! I can't imagine how it must be in the city...I don't know if I'd bike there!

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  31. Oh man, it's such a challenge to not push back when people are being jerks, I feel you.

    I'd also be really shaken if I had the SUV experience. Ick.

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    1. The lack of consideration really bothered me. Can you tell?

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  32. People are definitely a lot more confrontational these days...Facebook is an especially hostile place. I'm sorry you had to go through that with that driver...ugh. I've found that people's rudeness makes me ragey and I'm more inclined to speak out now than I used to be. We just have to be careful...

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    1. I've cleared a lot of those rude FBers out of my feed. Every once in a while I'll read the comments on a political post and it's really frightening to see the things people post. Would they say that to the person's face? That seems to be a good rule of thumb..

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  33. What a great post. So sorry to hear you almost got hit. I do see a mix of things. We live in a college town and my husband and I were out walking the other night. We purposely try to say hi and make eye contact with anyone we pass... every college student just looked right past us and never said hello. It's so sad to see people like this. Especially our next generation. Makes me a little fearful of our future. SO I pray .. a lot!!
    Be safe out there and kill them with kindness.

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    1. Were they all on their phones? That seems to be a big problem...everyone is so distracted!

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  34. Unfortunately, this is all too commone everywhere these days. Just this morning and friend and I were getting an early morning run in while dodging cars who were in such a hurry that they didn't have time to move over and give us a little room. It has gotten so bad that I'm afraid to ride my road bike alone. You're right, it seems as though our running communities and the blog world are about the only "nice" refuges these days ....leaving us all to just go log a few miles then blog about them! :)

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    1. I wish I had someone to ride with! I'd feel a lot safer that way. But I do like my solo runs and rides--it's my me time.

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  35. good point. killing them with kindness is the key. i also have so many of these experiences.

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    1. It seems to be the golden rule...I need to remind myself throughout the day to be kind.

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  36. Aw, Wendy, this sucks. I'm so sorry people try to run you off the road. If it makes you feel better, I have to run on a very busy, two-lane 40 mph road where everyone drives 50. MOST of the time people move over. But other times, they're too busy with their phones or staring off into space and end up crossing onto the shoulder heading toward me.

    And I couldn't agree more -- kill those suckers with kindness. Unless they're running us off the road. Then blab the F word at them. xxoo

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    1. Sometimes I let out a swear after they go by. Where they can't hear it. I really don't want to be confrontational. Too many crazies out there.

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  37. I think I try really hard with the kill them with kindness thing..... my only exception being towards trump...I try to embrace the whole #morelovelesshate as the solution to most things, except trump...
    I have to say that I have been almost run over while running many times... cars stop to look for other cars, but somehow don't notice actual people... it's crazy

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    1. Isn't that crazy? People just don't pay attention. I've had plenty of close calls while running too. But I felt a heck of a lot more vulnerable on my bike.

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  38. I agree, why can't we all get along? Everyone is so tight and stressed! Multi-tasking not paying attention, it drives me crazy to. I guess all we can do is lead by example but sometimes you need to call a spade a spade or an asshole- it can go either way :) XXOO

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    1. I don't know if they'd understand me tho, I don't speak assholian...

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  39. Wendy thats terrible, I feel your frustration. Dont waste your energy on ignorance, you did the right thing. Kill them with kindness and let karma take care of them.

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  40. I am so sad about the state of our country these days. When I run, I always move over for on coming cars and raise my hand to wave/say thanks for those who move over or stop for me...I have also preached to my two driving kids that they have to slow down, move over or stop for runners, bikers, pedestrians because they would feel terrible if they hurt or killed someone. As far as the election, ugh, I am not a fan of either of the candidates and I can't figure out how we, as a country, got into this predicament. So sad that there are leaders that preach hate and intolerance and people are buying in to it. Ugh. I just try and be the best I can be and teach my kids the same.

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    1. The insulting and bullying that has been on display for all the world to see is just embarrassing. Shame on everyone who is supporting that.

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  41. I think people have become pretty isolated, insular and impatient. It's a bad combination, and while I don't think a lot of it is intentional, it does come across as meanness.

    I am one of those annoying glass half full people, who tries to give most people the benefit of the doubt. You just never know what's going in someone else's world. There are times when, like you, someone just sets my teeth on edge, and I respond in kind. I probably would have flipped off your little SUV buddy. I try to be careful, because like you said, a cyclist or a runner is in a vulnerable position. Even in cars at stoplights - you just never know who's carrying a weapon or is looking for a fight.

    You are a good person, and I (probably naively) believe that good always wins out. Shake it off. Tomorrow will be a better day.

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    1. Yep, no "turn signals". I have had too many negative encounters with motorists to risk any problems. So I will resort to kindness..

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  42. Great post! Great Comments! The anger in the world is palpable. I feel it every where. It scares me. How hard is it to listen to understand not to respond? How hard is it to carefully go about your daily business and not be in everyone else's business? It was so nice to read all the nice comments. Recently, I went biking with a friend I've never biked with, and she was horrible yelling at the drivers and the other bikers. It was embarrassing. I take the blame for one interaction because I wasn't sure just how to execute a left hand turn. It all went pear shaped, and fired her up. I don't want to be around aggressive bikers, they give a bad name for all bikers, I have to figure out how to discuss this with her and not have her get defensive. Sorry this went all over the place, it was a great post and I appreciate you talking to the driver and I'm sure it made him think, I had a driver talk to me once, it was terrifying, all he wanted to do was tell me great job and he loved seeing how much fun I was having going down a hill. I hated feeling like I needed to put up my defenses. Oh and a I was crossing the street in the town I live it. I run and walk the streets a lot and keep an eye peel and pay attention however I stay focused forward, avoiding eye contact and any confrontation (paranoid much?) I was crossing at a crosswalk where I had the right of way and someone reved their engine. I looked up with cold blood in my eyes (his description, my FRIENDS description of the look on my face) he apologized for setting me off and we talked about it and I said that I was sorry, I am so focused on making sure I am safe or my dog and I are safe that I have a hard time noticing friendlies trying to get my attention and say HI! He thought about it a few minutes and said he could really see where I was coming from because we both know a runner who was hit by a car at that intersection, when he was running across when he had the right of way.

    I think I'll try and look past the danger and smile and interact a bit more, especially with the pups, I know that people see them and dogs soften up quite a few people.

    Thanks for this and sorry for the ramble.

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    1. No apologies necessary. Clearly this post struck a chord with many of us!

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  43. Wendy - I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately this is something I see every single day, especially since I deal with rush hour. I'm lucky to see a turn signal before the car in front of me cuts me off and it just seems like everyone is in a hurry. They're all walking around life with blinders on and not paying attention to other people, or even the beautiful things life has to offer for that matter. I wish more people had your mindset.

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    1. I'm pretty sure I got this mindset from being on foot. Those people should go a mile in our shoes,right?

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  44. I feel like any more ppl actually go out of their way to be careless and rude...I still think it is easier to smile than frown!

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  45. I wish cyclists were protected in other parts of the world the way they are here in the Netherlands. I hear similar stories all the time from running/cycling friends in the UK. Some people really are just MEAN. And they have something against sharing the road with others. Everyone is on edge, in a hurry. No one takes the time out to be respectful of others. It's as if wherever they are going, what they are doing is more important than what anyone else is doing. And it's super hard not to feel sad about it or to want to push back. I do think that in the US there is a LOT of negative energy right now, especially because of the upcoming election and issues that are important to people. I have always believed in "kill them with kindness" and though I may not ALWAYS be able to react positively, I will not waiver in how I want to be in this world. If there are enough of us, maybe we will win :)

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    1. When I'm not in the congested area where I live, it seems that people are a lot nicer. Hopefully niceness will win.

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  46. I had an encounter recently that was just so over-the-top mean, for no really reason, and it has bothered me since it happened! This post resonates with me since I get a lot of a-hole drivers when I'm on my bike but I also get a lot who give me a wide berth so... I agree 100% about the bully on tv every single day and how it has people on edge. I feel like we came so far with kindness for a while and now? Not so much.

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    1. It's hard to shake off those negative encounters, isn't it? I'm not good at it.

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  47. i agree. people can be mean for no reason. if we all just tried to be nice, how fantastic would that be. i do think th fitness/blogging online community is so supportive of each other (thank goodness).

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  48. As a culture, we are individualized more than ever. We used to know all of our neighbors, give a friendly wave to anyone we passed around the area. Now, people are overly stressed, always in a rush, and only concerned with themselves. I think it's due to the increase in technology. We're not forced to go outside of our home and interact with others enough.

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    1. I completely agree with that statement! This summer, I've been walking my pup and it's been great getting out and seeing all my neighbors. It's easy to get complacent and stuck in our own little world.

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  49. I hate that you keep having these experiences. Why can't people just slow down for a minute be a little considerate. I do like that you aren't afraid to confront them.
    I find that my patients tend to be super friendly but I think that is because they are going back for surgery and are super vulnerable. I recently had a guy that lived up the road from us when I was growing up. He threw beer cans at us once when we were out picking up garbage along the road. He was always angry. He once (maybe more than once) hit one of our cows when he was driving home drunk at night and tried to sue us. He sold his place about ten years ago and told the new owners the name of the place they had just bought was Indian Creek Ranch (our ranch's name) they had it put on a big sign and on all their vehicles... weren't they upset when my dad went and met them and told them the name of our ranch. Anyway I had the jerk as a patient and he was sweet as honey. Of course I didn't tell him who I was and I was sweet as honey too. Not really like your situation but I am glad I don't have to run on roads he drives on anymore.

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    1. There are always those jerks--I grew up in a small town and we had a few of them, but they were the exception rather than the norm. I would think where you are, people are pretty decent.

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  50. I'm so glad you are ok, really. He could've flipped out. But you did the right thing, by at least mentioning it to him. It seems the world needs reminders to be kind, so I hope this post reaches a lot of people (which it seems it has). This post also struck a nerve with me in regards to just being kind. Helping others out in need. During this deployment I've really embraced the meaning of reaching out to people that could use an extra word of encouragement. I've had only a couple people really keep an eye on me these last 6 months, and their constant support has meant so much.
    Great post, Wendy.

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    1. People can be pretty mean and it's so easy to just lash back out. I'm going to make a concerted effort NOT to do that. No one wins, really. May as well try being kind. Maybe it will be contagious.

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  51. something similar happened to me only this past week...and honestly, being nice isnt that HARD.

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  52. that's crazy. i'm so sorry he did that to you!
    like you i always try to take the higher road and kill em with kindness!

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    1. Oh, it happens almost every time I ride. I think this ride was the one where I had had enough.

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  53. I'm surrounded by sad and surly at work and it's not the kids. I've been talking to my husband about how the people I work with rarely smile. A few but not many. I don't let the surly bother me anymore. Actually it makes me kind of sad. The sad and surly speaks volumes about the person and I can't imagine they have much happiness and joy in their lives. So, I say good morning everyday anyway. #ignored haha

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    1. There are a lot of sad and surly people in my world! I'm still shocked at the level of disrespect I receive as a medical provider. But most days (not all) I try to just suck it up and be nice. Because I'm not going to win no matter what. So I may as well just take the high road.

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  54. You catch more bees with honey, as they say! I work for an elected official, and people call here about all types of things. With the current presidential election being what it is, people seem to feel much more comfortable with being downright nasty. It's really disheartening some days, and it's hard to remain patient and levelheaded sometimes. Keep your head up, and keep your positive attitude!

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    1. Oh, I can only imagine the stuff you hear! Kudos to you.

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  55. I'm honestly (and luckily) surprised to read about so many negative encounters with drivers. I've only been running for 3 years, and intermittently biking along the way. I have never experienced what seemed to be a purposeful or aggressive "near miss" by someone in a car. Certainly I have had my share of people not paying attention, sometimes even texting while driving (mostly late teens/early 20s with the texts), who simply didn't see me. Inevitably though, they seemed very concerned and generally apologetic about the misstep. The ones who drive me crazy are those who roll through stop signs--whether or not they notice me crossing the intersections. In those cases, I just look at them and throw my hands in the air, shouting, "seriously?"

    I generally run mid-day, so I'm sure that has something to do with my lack of negative experiences. Some of the streets I run on are very busy during morning and afternoon rush hours, when it's tough for a driver to swing out into the opposite lane. However, during those times, people generally slow down or stop and allow me to run past. Like Wendy, I DISOBEY Illinois law and run against, rather than with traffic. I feel much safer seeing cars coming toward me rather than not knowing what's behind me.

    It's tough. The extreme changes in Chicago weather across seasons wreak havoc on our sidewalks (as well as our streets). Last July, while walking (WALKING!) in my neighborhood, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk just a few blocks from my home, fell and broke my collar bone. That was the end of my marathon training last year, and also the end of my walking on sidewalks. I now stick to the streets and keep a keen eye out for traffic.

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    1. Aren't we supposed to run against traffic? There's no way I'd run with cars coming behind me! People are crazy behind the wheel. Just yesterday while leaving work, I saw an ambulance outside of the parking garage. Apparently someone hit a pedestrian while leaving the garage. Come on!

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  56. I've seen some of those negative changes in our society too, but just this week after a tragic accident hit our community, I've seen the good in so many people as well. It's been heartwarming.

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. It's sad how it takes a tragedy to bring out the good in people!

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  57. Remind me to never ride a bike in the US. Your story and all the comments are very scary. I don't find that level of aggressively here in France, but then again, I am such a positive person that I have learned to ignore all negative energy. I am one of the least confrontational people on this earth. I never take anything personally, and try to kill them with kindness. I go out of my way to say hello, good bye, overly thank people for their help (even when they didn't help). I refuse to let other people's problems and negative energy affect me.

    But again, I don't find people in Europe very aggressive. Maybe the presidential race does have something to do with it.

    And laughed out loud at your assholian comment.

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    1. I truly believe that this presidential election is like a disease of negativity that is spreading across the country. People are so confrontational and mean right now.

      I'm moving by you!

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