To wonder what happened to kindness?

(56 Posts)
Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:27:09

Serious question.

When people say MIL wants X but I don't or friend wants a lift or etc etc

people constantly say: your wedding, your rules
your house, your rules
your child, your rules
your car, fuck them

What happened to simple kindness and putting other people first? Has there really been a sea change in attitude, or do I just not come across it in RL?

atthewelles Thu 07-Feb-13 13:30:48

Totally agree. I hate that attitude and you see it a lot on here, particularly in relation to MILs.

Sugarice Thu 07-Feb-13 13:31:14

I think kindness still exists yet we may be more hard faced these days and are aware of not wishing to be seen as pushovers or doormats.

I'm kind at heart and would help anyone in need but I won't be taken advantage of and it's a fine line, in my opinion anyway.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:34:01

I think one should always be kind if possible, mostly it's no skin off one's own nose to make someone else really happy. Isn't that a nice thing to do?

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:34:53

I bring my dc up to be as kind as possible, I would hate it if they did the "my rules" thing or didn't think about other people's feelings.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 13:35:55

I agree. A little kindness goes a long way.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:37:17

It does. And even if it isn't returned, it just means the other person isn't very evolved and/or well-mannered. It shouldn't stop one being kind oneself.

WandaDoff Thu 07-Feb-13 13:38:49

Hear Hear.

WhatsTheBuzz Thu 07-Feb-13 13:39:47

I'm not entirely convinced that (some) people are as outspoken and assertive in RL as they can be online.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:40:46

Do you mean people in RL just pretend to be kind?

Yes of course being kind is a good thing. But imo, always putting other people first at the expense of your own family's happiness/plans/sanity is just being a doormat.

And on here the "your house, your rules" advice is usually given because the MIL/family member/friend has already made inconsiderate and/or rude demands.

It's not in my DNA to put up and shut up in the name of "kindness". It has to be shown to be received.

Mitchy1nge Thu 07-Feb-13 13:40:49

it's my only house rule! Be Kind. It covers everything.

wonder what happened to it?

Lifeisontheup Thu 07-Feb-13 13:41:55

I think you should operate the 'treat other people how you would like to be treated' not necessarily as you are treated but how you would like to be, then you can't go far wrong.

sleepyhead Thu 07-Feb-13 13:43:12

Kindness just helps society rub along so much more easily. I hate the phrase "But why should I?" Why not?

WhatsTheBuzz Thu 07-Feb-13 13:44:04

I just don't think many people would be bold enough to actually say 'my house, my rules' (for example) to a family member. I think people put up with stuff to avoid stress. I often do.

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 07-Feb-13 13:44:50

I agree Hully, but I've always been a soft hearted cow.
I also hate 'Your house, your rules' with a passion. Unless someone is taking serious advantage, surely welcoming people into your home and putting up with their little foibles is a good thing?

Ponderingonaquandry Thu 07-Feb-13 13:44:56


Society has become so selfish now it's horrible. I help pick up after this attitude at work and it can have devastating effects.

TroublesomeEx Thu 07-Feb-13 13:47:40

I am kind.

But I don't want to be a push over or a doormat.

There's a difference between being kind and letting other people do whatever they want regardless of how you feel about it. Particularly if it affects you and your children/family.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:49:00

There is a vast vast gulf between kindness and doormattery

I agree that "kind" should be the default option. But a lot of people, especially women, are brought up to think they should help and serve and look after without regard to their own needs, and that they are intrinsically awful if they don't. If you are surrounded by that attitude, it's hard to see that fine line between "kind" and "doormat", and all the "your rules" stuff on MN helps people see that they are allowed to make the decision to be kind, or to put themselves and their family first.

ENormaSnob Thu 07-Feb-13 13:49:49

I am always kind and will do favours etc no problem.

However, I'm not a pushover and won't allow people to take the piss.

Psammead Thu 07-Feb-13 13:49:51

I think kindness will come back into fashion again. I think hard times brings it out of people, and these are apparently hard times. I think being too comfortable for too long makes people less inclined towards empathy.

EwanHoozami Thu 07-Feb-13 13:51:02

some seem to equate kindness with weakness when usually the opposite is true.

Trills Thu 07-Feb-13 13:51:52

I think we assume that there is something more than a simple favour being asked, or else the issue wouldn't end up on MN in the first place.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:52:16

I suppose it's the change from kindness, feeling a member of a society/community/ putting others first to a kind of glorification of selfishness. I see a righteous gleefulness in putting oneself first which is very retrogressive and depressing.

TheOriginalLadyFT Thu 07-Feb-13 13:52:45

I think there are some really harsh things said on here, and a lot of righteous indignation etc when actually people might do well to remember that we all have failings and sometimes it would be kinder to make allowances than judging instantly.

Some of the MiL stuff makes me sad - seeing how much my own DS loves his grannies reminds me that no matter how annoying they can be I should mostly just button my lip and be more tolerant

TroublesomeEx Thu 07-Feb-13 13:54:45

I suppose for me the difference is:

When the snow was really bad, I knocked on the doors of a few of my neighbours to see if I could do shopping for them as I was going to do my own. That's kind.

Another child's mum asked if I could pick something up from school for her as her child was sick. I agreed. That's kind.

Asking someone how they are; offering to do them a favour; 'remembering' someone is kind.

But making demands of someone else is rude and if they say "no" that doesn't make them unkind.

I suppose the distinction is that if you are 'giving' that is kind. If you are on the receiving end of 'demands' then you are not acting out of kindness.

TuftyFinch Thu 07-Feb-13 13:56:56

I am very kind. I go out of my way to be kind. I am constantly telling DC to be kind. I give up seats. I give people tables. I give people sofas. Cake tins. Walk peoples pets. Look for lost pets. Chop wood. Do shopping.
It's a full time job actually.
But, other people seem very kind to me and do me the most enormous favours.
I live in a sea of kindness.
The downside is when I come across unkind behaviour I think it affects me disproportionately because I'm shocked that they couldn't be kind.
Sometimes though, if someone has been unkind in a massive, self important twattery way I will dream up ways of not being kind to them.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 13:58:29

I need a sofa tifty

just saying

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Feb-13 14:00:05


real kind people just DO IT

unkind people come and bitch about it on AIBU

I can be a bitch on here, but I do try and be kind in RL

TuftyFinch Thu 07-Feb-13 14:00:10

It's yours Hilly.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 14:04:53

No I don't think it is becasue it's AIBU. I don't think people make out they are horrid on here. That would be plain odd. It is about ATTITUDE, about egocentricity and solipcism and seeeing them as virtues.

sleepyhead Thu 07-Feb-13 14:12:56

I've got a very odd friend (well, sister of a friend tbh, I don't think she calculates me as having enough worth to her to call me "friend") who is utterly egocentric and seems to be able to very precisely measure the benefit/loss ratio of every act to her or her family.

If the scale comes down on the side of loss, whether that be loss of time, money, effort, boredom whatever, then she just says no. She is excellent at saying no and the only person I've ever seen put the old mumsnet chestnut "no is a complete sentence" into practice.

It's both fascinating and appalling to watch. Interestingly, she expects everyone else to dance to her tune. I've tried to work out how life would operate if everyone was the same as her. I think society would just collapse.

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Feb-13 14:14:31

I see little acts of kindness everyday

MN is a miscrocosm of the world

with some angry motherfuckers living here IMO

TuftyFinch Thu 07-Feb-13 14:26:12

She does sound like a twat sleepy.
I also think it's important to acknowledge kindness, just a simple 'that's kind, thank you' is fine. No need for flowers and chocs.
Hilly, I like hollyhocks. I don't like chrysanthemums. Just so you know.

plummyjam Thu 07-Feb-13 14:28:13

A lot of people seem to be very easily affronted and perceive their autonomy to be threatened by other people's well-meaning actions. I don't understand why people don't let it wash over them a bit more readily. I'm not talking about major life decisions here, it's really trivial issues that are getting a lot of knickers in twists. And being considerate and thinking about how other people might feel is not the same as being a pushover. In fact I've found it to have made my life a hell of a lot easier in general smile

EldritchCleavage Thu 07-Feb-13 14:29:26

I tend to agree.

I also very much dislike the endless threads of people saying they are very adversely affected by something a friend or relative does, but couldn't possibly ever say anything, oh no, however mildly. So resentment and venting and low level revengy stuff goes on for YEARS.

What happened to adults having reasonable conversations? You can tell someone you don't want/like/do whatever without being angry. You just have to be grown-up enough to take the consequence that they might, reasonably or not, be annoyed with you.

maddening Thu 07-Feb-13 14:30:13

I think it's when mils start expecting or demanding.

My miltb is nice. She couldn't make it to a big pre xmas thing which my mum arranged so when she came with her other son to visit we took them out fo lunch - immediately after I took ds up for a nap and df got the mince pies I had bought in and he and his dm and dbro put the xmas day decs up - it was my idea as I thought it would be nice for her to do that with her boys like she would have done as they grew up - plus she got to see ds seeing the Xmas tree for the first time. I love putting the decs up but it was nice to do something for miltb - but if she had expected and demanded it would be something that would put my back up.

chocoluvva Thu 07-Feb-13 14:31:02

Well, if YABU, HullyGully, so am I.

I think western society has become too individualistic. Sometimes people think they're kind because they put the needs and wants of their children before their own needs.

Off to do something terrifically community-minded now! (Saintly)

nokidshere Thu 07-Feb-13 14:32:49

I'm always kind :D and in return I am (99%) of the time treated with kindness.

nokidshere Thu 07-Feb-13 14:34:05

and I am sure that sometimes people take advantage. But in the great scheme of things even that isn't worth worrying about really smile

atthewelles Thu 07-Feb-13 14:42:08

I think a lot of people nowadays are so hung up on their 'rights' and their children's 'rights' that they often allow that to be the overriding factor in everything. Some people seem to almost go around with slitty eyes watching for anyone to dare infringe on those rights eg a neighbour asks if children would mind kicking their football somewhere else because she's trying to get her baby to sleep and, instead of the parents making the children move, they start banging on that 'they live on this street too and they have 'rights' .

HannahsSister40 Thu 07-Feb-13 14:44:28

I'm a kind person.
I'd do anything for anyone and I don't expect anything in return.
But my MIL?
Well, she can fuck right off on account of being a cunt.

TuftyFinch Thu 07-Feb-13 14:50:25

Kind things I've done today/
gave Hilly a sofa.
Bough some daffodils for a friend who's a bit down.
Given another friend two planks of wood.
Given some tea bags to a passing acquaintance.
Helped someone catch their runaway dog.
Bought fairy cakes and squash for DC's friends who are coming to play ( not really kind but we don't normally have squash but squash is 'epic' so..)
Kind things that people have done for me:
Offered me and DC somewhere to stay for 2 weeks when we have to be out of house for a bit.
A man delivered an eBay purchase free.
Given me wood for fire.
A tractor reversed 500 yards up narrow country lane, even though I'd pulled into a hedge to let him pass, because it was easier for me to get past.
I got given a nice scarf just because.
Mechanic drove 10 miles to look at poorly car and didn't charge me.
<gets competitive about kindness>

MrsKoala Thu 07-Feb-13 14:52:06

I'm kind I think. I treat people how I would like to be treated. Always send thank you cards, am thoughtful etc, but get very little back from some people. I won't let it change me, but it does make me sad. Recent examples are I gave a stranger a car and they didn't even say thank you.

I don't want to get too philosophical about it but I think there is an element of game theory which has been bastardised and embraced by society due to a lot of self analysis and americanised philosophy. It works if everyone is following the same protocol but if some people put others first and some people put themselves first, then there will always be an imbalance. (Think that dreadful game show shafted for some zeitgeist).

Also Bunny, if everyone waits for kindness to be shown to them first then who starts it. Surely there must be an element of faith in humanity there?

piprabbit Thu 07-Feb-13 14:59:21

I try to be kind, both here and in RL. Mostly I succeed, but sometimes I have a wobble and I'm not as kind as I would hope to be.

I agree with the point about being kind and making someone very happy being the simple, obvious thing to do.
However sometimes making someone else very happy is at the expense of one's on peace of mind - that is a tough call to make, should you sacrifice your own contentment for someone else in every situation?
Sometimes I am kind to someone and it doesn't make them especially happy, it just seems to make them want to demand even more next time.
Sometimes I think I have been kind - only for it to turn out that I've just put my giant size 8's right it in it.

It's not easy, this being nice to people lark.

PleasePudding Thu 07-Feb-13 15:15:30

I think most people do try and be kind and I think it's the most important thing. But I think people come on here and rant when they feel that their kindness is being taken for granted or not reciprocated and they're not sure what to do. Maybe that's against the true altruistic spirit but it doesn't mean their original intentions weren't good.

I think this is a very valid question hullygully and I often wonder too where kindness has gone. I wouldn't say it has disappeared but it certainly seems to have shrunk and to have been replaced by selfishness and rudeness.

Hullygully Thu 07-Feb-13 15:34:58

Yes, see I think the default position has shifted to a very individualistic, egocentric one.

Except for tifty and her multiple acts of kindness of course.

usualsuspect Thu 07-Feb-13 15:37:28

I feel like doing unkind things to posters that post your house your rules etc.

Its seen as a weakness on MN to be kind I think.

ginslinger Thu 07-Feb-13 15:38:59

I'm trying not to sound like a goody two shoes here but I decided ages ago that I would do a random act of kindness at least once a day and I would mile at people. It makes me happy and people respond nicely and I ignore tha baggages

ginslinger Thu 07-Feb-13 15:39:15

Smile not mile

Pandemoniaa Thu 07-Feb-13 15:41:22

YANBU. My ex-h used to bang on about the Cult of the Individual. He had a point though. Somewhere along the line, self-importance seems to have overcome thoughtfulness to others.

EarnestDullard Thu 07-Feb-13 15:44:40

Agree usual, there's often a backlash against 'fluffiness' on here which can all-too-easily veer into harshness.

chocoluvva Thu 07-Feb-13 15:47:02

individualistic or their individual familyistic.

It's now apparently acceptable for politicians to put the needs of their own children before political principles eg choice of school. Talk about having your cake and eating it. Is it a principle or isn't it?

MadameOvary Thu 07-Feb-13 16:02:09

I'm with Maya Angelou who said "Always be wary of a naked man who offers you a shirt" I'd actually rather someone was selfish than gave something they didn't have, IYKWIM.
I used to constantly give stuff away, since I was a kid. I wanted people to like me and didn't have a sense of my own self-worth. I do now though. So I still give stuff away but I don't offer myself on a plate anymore. I am kind though. If someone asks me a favour and I can do it, I will.

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