Speak Nicely, Act Nicely
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
I rent out my apartment from time to time. Yesterday, I received an email in Spanish from a prospective tenant. So I copied the email in Google translate and, to my surprise, she was writing a scathing email about me to 3rd party and accidently sent it to me….oops!
Many years ago I had a fallout with a cousin. Soon after, I moved to Australia and so did a mutual friend. I opened the mail one day and there was a letter from my cousin to this mutual friend which was accidentally sent to me. The letter was so nasty. I read it and returned it to her with a post-it note that said, “Read by your cousin, Jodi”. To this day I regret sharing this with my parents as it strained the family relations for a long time.
I have a few more juicy stories. I had a roommate in Israel in the early 90’s. In 1997, I was living in Australia and visited this friend in New York. We had an argument before I left for Shabbat and, when I came back, she had dumped my stuff at the doorman and refused to speak with me. I guess she never thought she would see me again. Ironically she lived on 96th and Central Park West. I am sure she never imagined I would one day be living at 97th and Central Park West. Now I always see her at shul and at local events.
Another crazy coincidence: I was in transit from NY to Israel, via London. While on the plane during the stopover, I received an email about something and I was venting to Gavin about the person involved. Really venting! I looked up and a new passenger had boarded and was sitting next to me – it was the person’s twin brother. Caught in the act!
When I was 18 and studying in Israel for my gap year, my friend and I joined a group that was backpacking through Europe. The trip was kosher/shomer Shabbat and budget-style travel – everything I needed. But after a few days, my friend I decided that the tour wasn’t right for us and that we wanted to leave. We approached the tour leader who did not want to give us our money back. He was concerned that we were travelling in rough areas–as the itinerary included countries that had just emerged from the Soviet Union–and were not tourist friendly or female friendly. He was also concerned about us walking around with so much cash and, above all, he felt that he had promised our parents that we were on a trip with an experienced intrepid traveler. We made this guy’s life such a misery; I acted like a spoiled brat. Eventually he gave us our funds and we went on our way (the rest of our journey is a blog in itself). Fast forward 15 years and I found myself sitting in a class in NYC. The guy next to me looked familiar so we starting talking, playing Jewish Geography, and he said, “You are Susan’s friend!” and the penny dropped. I just looked at him and said, “My only defense is that I was young.”
The bottom line: Speak nicely – act nicely. No excuses. Sadly, yesterday I attended the funeral of a 2-year-old. Such a tragedy, so much sadness and so much pain! However this little girl achieved so much in two years. She united people through acts of kindness, she had thousands of people open the gates of prayer. Her bone marrow registry had its 21st match on the day she died. In the merit of Ayelet Yakira Bas Chaya hinda Matel Nechama, I am taking on the task of Speaking Nicely, Acting Nicely.
Metroimmas, let’s all challenge our friends and families to make this world a better place. Please check out fellow metroimma Audi Weitz’s site speaknicely.com for ideas for bringing positive messages into this world.
Originally published: February 2, 2012