A little interaction goes a long way.

A couple of weeks ago, my family went to the beach for vacation. (I know, I know—if you had a nickel for every time I mentioned the beach this month! Apparently a change of scenery inspires plentiful blog posts and newsletters.)

When we’re there, we often eat out as a large group: lots of fun, but challenging. It’s hard to hear in a crowded restaurant, especially if there’s live music, as there so often is at the beach. We strive to sit far from the musicians, if we can, but on this particular Sunday night, we were nestled in at a table right next to the stage.

At these kinds of venues—crowded restaurants at the beach—it’s rare that anyone shows up for the sake of hearing the performers. (Well, maybe their moms. Or very good friends.)

Halfway through our dinner, a solo performer takes the stage with his guitar—if you can call the table-height wooden platform a stage. He starts in on a set of the kind of music my brain hears as fun—John Fogerty, Neil Diamond, that kind of stuff. We’re eight feet from his barstool. He’s loud, but he’s good.

A few songs in, we’re enjoying our dinner, talking over the musician, when he pauses to tune his guitar and fiddle with his amp. He looks around, taking stock of the crowd, and notices my husband watching him. So Will speaks up.

“You take requests?” Will says.

“Sure. What do you want to hear?”

Will asks for an old Jimmy Buffett song, “A Pirate Looks at Forty.”

The musician nods and says, “Thanks, man. A little crowd interaction goes a long way.”

It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment how lonely it must be up on that little stage: to be singing, with people talking over you all night; in the front of the room, but with nobody watching. To be putting it out there, without any feedback. Is anybody listening? Do they like it? Do they even see me up here?

It’s entirely possible I’m projecting my sensitive soul all over this poor guy, but that little interaction made me reconsider what it’s like to be the one with the guitar.

The performer did a great job with that Buffett song. Halfway through I thought to capture a little on video (I hoped the musician might even appreciate it). In it, you can see people coming and going behind him, you hear the din of conversation around him. But you also see him play. And he’s good.

We finished our dinner a few songs later; we nodded goodbye and dropped a few bills in the tip jar, mouthed thanks.

We’re back from the beach now, but I’m still thinking about that guy with the guitar. I wouldn’t have thought I had terribly much in common with a guy who plays John Fogerty songs for big crowds, but when he says a little interaction goes a long way, I hear him. I can imagine what it feels like to do your thing in front of people … and feel like they don’t even see you. (I don’t have to try too hard here—I’m a writer, who works behind a screen most days.)

It’s a little early to say if this will stick with me for life, but I hope it will. It’s sticking for now: since that night, I’ve been looking for ways to provide that little bit of interaction for the people making the stuff I enjoy. I’m not a crowd, but I’m a person—a person who can say I see you. I see what you’re making, and I’m here for it. I enjoy what you do. I’m happy you’re doing it. 

It’s so easy, I’m disappointed I haven’t been doing this—at least not as much as I wish I’d been—forever. To send a text, saying what’s on my mind: it was good to see you last night. To leave a review—I enjoyed this book—not because the world needs to know what I think but because the artist needs to know that I appreciated the work. To say on my way out the door: Thank youthat was a great song.

It’s just a little interaction. But it goes a long way.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas for showing that little bit of appreciation in comments. As someone who enjoys the work, how do you provide that crowd interaction? Are you the one on stage (metaphorical or otherwise)? What kind of interaction goes a long way for YOU? 

P.S. A little bit of appreciation for Annie Spratt via Unsplash, who took that pretty photo up top.

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  1. Cb says:

    I was reading a chapter a colleague had written and sent him a quick no-reply-required note to tell him how much I enjoyed it. So often in academia we hear what is wrong with our writing that I thought he might enjoy hearing what people enjoyed. I think that recognition is so, so important. I’ve been working on saying please and thank you and I appreciate it to my partner. I’m hoping to model good habits for baby – he seems to understand when something gets handed to you, you say something, for know it is ‘daa’ but it’s never too early to model manners.

  2. Sarah says:

    What timing! I sent you an email last week telling you how much I appericate what you do on the blog. 🙂 because, a little does go a long way!

  3. Nichole says:

    I always acknowledge the cashiers wherever I am. So often they are completely ignored by people who are on their phones or otherwise just not paying attention. I always try to smile and ask how they’re doing. At my regular grocery store I know several of them well enough to ask about family members, college plans and vacations. ?

    • Erin in CA says:

      Nichole, I do the same, including with airline attendants. On our last family trip, I coached my kids (ages 11 and 13) to look up and say please and thank you when they requested their drinks. The attendant actually said something to me about how polite my kids were, and how rare it is. Yikes! So many people don’t take their headphones off or acknowledge the human who is serving them. I think this idea is so important, Anne, thanks for highlighting it!

      • Anne says:

        This is wonderful (that you both enjoyed a positive experience) and horrible (that it’s so rare)! Thanks for sharing, Erin and Nichole.

      • Jennifer Nash says:

        I ALWAYS make my children state their own orders and say please and thank you. I waited tables for a long time and it used to drive me crazy when parents would order for their ten-year-old children while their child stared at whatever electronic device they used and never acknowledged my existence. It’s so rude. (Of course, we also don’t allow devices at restaurants – a plane ride would be a completely different thing, though.)

        • Anne says:

          Jennifer, I waited tables for a time, and sometimes I think that the world would be a better place if every person had to do a stint as a server or cashier. Many of my interactions with strangers were wonderful, most were fine, some were just gross. That experience taught me so much about interacting with others, whether as server or served.

          • Jennifer Nash says:

            I 100% agree. I actually credit my experience waiting tables with building my own confidence in speaking to strangers. Now I can have a conversation with anyone!

        • Nichole says:

          I actually really enjoyed hearing that as a former server you LIKED having kids order for themselves. My kids have from the time they were old enough to talk. Obviously when they were super little I would translate for the servers (toddlers can be HARD to understand!), but I think it’s so important for them to know how to interact with others!

      • Nichole says:

        Yes on the airline attendants! We had a similar experience with our kids (then 6 & 8) on our flight last summer. On the way home my 8 year old was (understandably) tired and didn’t take her headphones off to order her drink. I asked the flight attendant to wait a moment, removed my daughter’s headphones and had her apologize to him before repeating her order while looking him in the eye. He seemed genuinely shocked that I made her do it, and commented on how many teenaged kids have their parents order for them. My grandfather and my husband’s stepfather both modeled what it meant to be truly kind and courteous to those who are serving you. And while my kids may not have benefitted from those lessons from those men directly, I want to make sure they learn them just the same!

        • Jerri Gomez says:

          This post spoke to me. I have been listening to the podcast for about two years and I always intend to write a review but since I listen as I’m jogging, I forget when I finish my workout. So, thanks Anne for pointing me in the direction of so many enjoyable
          books. I have rediscovered my love for reading and read more widely.

    • Jennifer Nash says:

      I always do this, too! You don’t even have to say much, just look them in the eye, smile, and say thank you. It’s so easy to do and really, one positive customer interaction can really turn around a crappy shift in customer service.

  4. Nicole says:

    My baby brother is a musician and has been that lonely singer in a restaurant. This is a good reminder that, although these types of performers are often providing what some may consider background music, they are still people and a little kindness goes a long way. I had a similar moment recently in Target, of all places. I was returning something and chatting with the cashier. When the interaction was completed, she smiled and said, “Thank you for being so patient and kind. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t even make eye contact with us.” That made me sad. Can you imagine working all day in such a customer-focused job without even the courtesy of eye contact? Since then I’ve made it a point to be mindful of my interactions with others. It’s just a little thing, but it makes us all feel seen.

  5. Robyn Cooper says:

    Ah, Anne, so true! I have been trying to be really diligent about not just keeping those lovely things I’m thinking about the person I’m interacting with to myself, but sharing them at that moment. This was a great reminder to be more of an encourager, both written and spoken. Thank you!

  6. NCJill says:

    Hi Anne,
    Just wanted to tell you how much you brighten my day. Your posts are always well thought-out and excellently written. Your insights are remarkable and you are adorable to boot! Keep it up and have a blessed day my friend. 🙂

  7. Donna H. says:

    This post really resonated with me and I think it’s so true in general-taking time to let someone know you appreciate their work, saying thank you to people as they provide service for you and valuing friends and family are all easy to do and impactful. The beauty of it is it feels as good to give as to receive that appreciation.

  8. Laura says:

    What a great post! Thank you for reminding me (and others) how we can make others (and therefore ourselves) feel better with just a tiny effort. When I was in my 20s, I had a very short stint as a waitress at a small restaurant in New York City. I was amazed at how invisible I felt as I served people who didn’t make eye contact or converse with me at all. I never forgot that feeling but I needed this reminder. Thank you for all you do to brighten and enlighten us.

  9. Elyse Trimble says:

    I appreciate your blog posts and your Instagram posts! This is the first time I’ve ever commented on your stuff. I mostly just consume it and don’t give back or pay it forward. I’ve been a taker! But I enjoy your work and thought you should know! Posts like yours fill me up, make me feel like I’m interacting with people (even though I’m not), challenge me to read more and differently which in turn makes me a more well-rounded person. So thank you for your work and your effort and putting it all out there! ??

  10. Amy says:

    On that note, thank you! Thank you for keeping my TBR list full! Thank you for inspiring me today pick up reading again after years of college, kids and teaching had distracted me from reading for pleasure.

  11. A great thing I learned from Carolyn See’s book on writing: the charming note. You’re supposed to do it on beautiful stationery, and put it in the POST, and indeed, I used to do that. Now it might be an email. But still, when I read something fantastic–in the newspaper or wherever–I try to dash off a quick note of thanks. It’s astonishing how many reply and say it made their day.

  12. Lisa H Sanders says:

    I usually ask cashiers that don’t speak to me at first how their day is going. I mostly get a surprise answer and a pleasant conversation after that point. You can usually spot the people that can use some basic human kindness, they have it written all over their faces.

  13. Pauline says:

    I wrote an email once to David Nicholls and also once to Jodi Picoult to praised their books and I was so thrilled when they answered me! 🙂

  14. Cindy Leaycraft says:

    Anne, thanks for your thoughts, making me think about the way I interact with people, including my family!

  15. Akaylah says:

    As a cashier, what some of the other commenters have said resonates with me. Is not uncommon to be treated more like a machine than a fellow human being.

    However, as an introvert, I often find myself making the same mistake in return. You’ve inspired me to try a little harder to recognize my customers as the people they are, and not just a “part of the job.”

    Thank for all the food for thought you provide. I truly enjoy reading this blog.

  16. Susan says:

    I don’t comment often but I truly look forward to your blog posts. Your book recommendations have helped me to find new authors. You recommended my favorite book I read last year, and because of you I started keeping a list of books I read and I give them a grade and little paragraph about what I liked or didn’t like. Thank you for all the work you do on your blog.


    Thank you for this Anne! I get emails from Amazon all the time asking me to leave a review on a purchase and I rarely do it because, “no one wants my opinion”. But I do think a word of acknowledgement is so important, no matter how small. I’m such an advocate on being kind to everyone we come in contact with but rarely “go out of my way” to do so. I appreciate you and all that you do for us book nerds. Friday is my favorite day of the week, but Tuesday is a close second because of your podcast. Thank you!!

  18. Dana Kumerow says:

    As a writer and art lover I try to connect with writers and artists at book signings and art festivals. I know how hard it is to put yourself and your work out there and wonder if anyone even notices. I buy the books and chat with the authors about their inspiration and their process and encourage them. You can even do that if you don’t buy the book. I make eye contact with the artists at festivals and comment on their work even if I don’t buy anything. You can comment on their use of color, style, or ask then about their process. They are always eager to share .The same thing is true with musicians. I do applaud when they end a song/set even if no one else does. I put some money in their tip jar. I will add, I try to comment or send an email to
    my pastors at church from time to time regarding their messages. They definitely need to know they are being heard and appreciated.

  19. Teresa says:

    I had a similar experience several years ago. I was in a comedy club and was seated in the front row. It was Thursday so the audience was smaller, had gotten free tickets, and were not in weekend-party mode yet. I am a good audience, attentive and reactive. When the comedian commented on my brightly patterned jacket, I engaged with him in a little back and forth, and I laughed. After the show, he found me in the lobby and thanked me.

  20. Darla says:

    Hi Anne,
    I feel I have always done some simple things – look at waitstaff, cashiers, speak directly to them & smile. But lately, I’ve been making conscious efforts to do more. I recently wrote a note to a friend in my little town who is at the center of any and every community event. She also provides beautiful music every week at church. I told her how much I appreciated these things, that I notice how she selflessly shares her talent to make our community such an amazing place to live. She was astonished and so moved – there were hugs and maybe some tears the next time I saw her. There is a woman who cashiers at a very busy convenience store I often stop at. She is cheerful, helpful, a kind word for everyone. What could be another mundane task in the day is elevated because of the way she treats customers. Before I left last time I said “I just want you to know you are a blessing to everyone who comes in here and I hope your employers appreciate you like I do.” Your post today is a reminder and encouragement to keep it up – it makes a lovely difference.

  21. I love reading and it is reflected in the fact that I write a review on the books I read and often tag the authors if the book is REALLY good. It makes my day when the author thanks me for the review with a follow-up comment. It takes a second but I don’t forget it. Cherish Wolas is really good at commenting and she now comments on other books I read. I loved her book “The Resurrection of Joan Ashby” which was a top three book for me in 2017. Her new book “The Family Tabor” comes out soon and I pre-ordered. I also think that Louise Penny is really good at interacting with book fans as well. There is something to be said for interacting with your proud followers. It doesn’t require much and creates a positive vibe.

  22. Kate Cricco says:

    Anne, great post! And I always love your blog and book recs! Really reaffirms what I think we all know we should do. A different type of thoughtfulness and appreciation struck me like your guitar person affected you. Several years ago I had breast cancer and all the treatment that goes with it- I was overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness of so many people and realized how much a card or a call meant, and then realized I was not as thoughtful as many of the people who sent cards. Illness is one thing people don’t often know how to react to, but I can say- sending a card and reaching out really helps. One person I worked with sent a card every month until I finished chemo! I really try now to be that thoughtful. Send a card when someone is sick or has lost a loved one, even if they are not my closest friends, it’s knowing that so many people cared that helped me get through it all.

  23. Mary Kay says:

    Thank you Anne for all that you do with Modern Mrs. Darcy! I’ve followed your blog for years- maybe 5 plus?- but I seldom if ever comment (because I’m shy). But I really appreciate your book recommendations, product reviews and thoughts on life.

  24. Susan Becker says:

    Well, in the spirit of this excellent perspective on the importance of interaction, feedback and expressing appreciation–thank YOU for all the work, thought and care that you put into sharing so much with us, your readers, week in and week out. And thank you for always being on the lookout for great things, great books, great ideas and the wonder in life.

  25. Michelle Wilson says:

    Wow Anne, this was really lovely and made me think. I am a public health nurse who works daily with marginalized populations. The folks that are unseen, ignored, and avoided. Many times, they are difficult to work with for a variety of reasons but if I take the time to acknowledge them as a person, our interactions always go much better. Just something simple…good to see YOU, glad that YOU are here, thank YOU.
    We all just want to be seen and known. Thanks for reminding me.

  26. Kelly says:

    I teach kindergarten. Many times the only time I hear from a parent is when they’re upset about something. When I get a card or note from a parent telling me something positive, I save it in a special box. Then when I have those days where it seems nothing is going right, I can read of few of my notes and remember why I do what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else for a living, but it sure is nice to have someone say “I see you and I appreciate you.”

    • Anne says:

      Yes, it’s so easy to only speak up when things are going wrong. I’m so glad to hear that some parents take the time to tell you great things, as well.

  27. Anne,
    Thanks so much for this post. I was just writing a scene in my new novel yesterday in which my main character realizes the same thing. And, that I need to take the time to interact with people when I’m out and about.
    Also, you have inspired me to write to Sarai Walker and tell her how much I enjoyed her book DIETLAND. Not only how much I enjoyed it, but the big AHA I got from Plum’s awakening.
    I think you are right, small positive interactions are so important because everyone wants to be seen and heard even if only for a moment.

  28. Tina B says:

    A group that I feel often go unnoticed is the cleaning people in my office building. I always try to smile and say hello to them. They have a difficult job and I want to always acknowledge them as well.

  29. Mary Jane McNeill says:

    I love this post! Bear with me: three things come to mind…
    1. When I was recently in London at our hotel bar, there was a lone musician playing. The bar was halfway full, but it was our table of 3 that kept clapping after every song. The sweet guy says “Thanks to my fan club!” lol! That made OUR day!
    2. I’m currently at the beach at a resort that recently remodeled and took out their toasters. I called the concierge and asked for a toaster for my daily toast with avocado and TJ’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning (yes, I travel with it!). A toaster appeared in our room when we returned from dinner, so today I drove to the local TJ’s and got him a jar of the seasoning and took it to him. He was blown away that I did that, but it was so easy.
    3. I make handmade cards, and I search my address book weekly to send one to someone just because.
    It’s the little things!
    Mary Jane
    Thomasville, GA
    Home of The Bookshelf!

  30. Anne says:

    What a good reminder, a little does go a long way. I will be thinking about this and how I can show appreciation.

  31. Melissa says:

    I’ll take this chance to say that I really enjoy and appreciate your work! Your thoughtful blog posts make me think as well as let me know there are other sensitive souls out there. Your daily Kindle Deal emails keep my TBR list topped up, especially when I’m at a loss for what to read next. Haven’t listened to your podcast but it’s next on my list. Thanks for all you do!

  32. Jessica White says:

    My teenage daughter reminds me that I am only pointing out the bad things. I sometimes forget to say “Good job on that test score”. I mostly notice when she get a bad grade and I remind her to study a little more. I need to take a step back and remember to give her positive feedback too!

    Also, I have a question… I heard you on a podcast as a guest and it was before you started your own podcast. You did match making with the host…I just can’t remember whose podcast it was. Do you remember?

  33. Birgitta Qvarnström Frykner says:

    I actually got a whole new family by thanking a wonderful musician after he had entertained on a restaurant I visited on a Caribbean island. I recognised his guitar playing, and his voice o my good. Well we started to talk, we met other times as well, his brothers, to come home to his mother, The boys (all over 55) call me their white sister and they are my brown brothers. When my husband and I went on honeymoon we spent a week at the eldest brother and his wife in Holland, and they have been here with me in Sweden. So a small chat can bring you a whole family

  34. A few months ago we lost one of our kitties. It was after a long illness so not unexpected but still heartbreaking. He’d been diagnosed with kidney disease a few years earlier and I’d brought him in to the vet every week since then to get fluids. After he left, I made sure to send a card specifically to the vet techs in the office to make sure they knew how much we appreciated all they’d done to make it easier for him over the years. I think the vets generally get the main feedback for their work with our animal friends and I wanted to give that to the technicians who had been with him constantly as well. And it made me feel good that I’d sent them some appreciation.

    • Anne says:

      Kelli, I’m sorry for your loss. I love this example of showing appreciation, especially for those who make such a difference in our lives but don’t often get acknowledged.

  35. Maureen says:

    It is so easy to duck and keep going but I’ve been working on not just smiling but saying something kind to the people I interact with. Cashier’s, that sweet down syndrome lady that bags groceries (I love that she’s working there). Today it was the lady at Wendy’s who takes the orders. The people in front of me took forever and were indecisive. She was kind on the other end of that speaker and always efficient. When I pulled up, I smiled (as usual) but added: “You do a great job you know.” Her whole face lit up and she said “Thanks! I hope we can finish training that other gal and I can be back in my spot regularly.” I only go occasionally so I hadn’t noticed she wasn’t in her spot, but it was so simple for me to acknowledge her and I could tell it made her day.

  36. Betsy Crawford says:

    “A Pirate Looks at 40” is one of my all-time fave songs! I really appreciate your perspective on situations like the guitar player at the restaurant because it reminds me that every experience, need matter how ordinary, potentially offers the opportunity to discover something! Thank you.
    P.S. As a lifelong 52-year old reader I’ve never been in a book club, so I started one with encouragement from a friend and tonight’s our first meeting.

    • Bonnie says:

      I didn’t know the song from Buffett, but Roger Creager, one of our favorite Texas Music artists, has it in his repertoire. I actually think he did it as a sound check on a live recording he was doing and it made it onto the record, so he had to do it regularly. Great song.

  37. Diana says:

    That is so true! I try to make eye contact with cashiers and waiters (on the rare time we eat out). And leaving comments on blogs posts often. People want to be seen!

  38. Amanda says:

    I think this is my very favorite post of yours… EVER! It is so easy to ‘ignore’ people around you that you don’t know, but it is also just as easy to let them know that you ‘see’ them with a kind word and a smile. Thank you for beautifully capturing this notion.

  39. Loretta says:

    I always enjoy your blog. It’s refreshing to me that folks like you are out there sharing positive thoughts and aware of the little things we can do each day to make a difference in someone’s life. Strangers, friends and family need a little acknowledgement of their talents, whether it’s a warm smile or a sweet song, we all make a difference.

  40. Meg says:

    Thanks for this post and for all you do for us book lovers! I have been trying to leave comments on recipe blog posts that I make and enjoy. Feels like maybe more human interaction can heal the world a bit.

  41. Destiny Hisey says:

    I’ve been an avid blog reader for several years. I used to leave comments all the time. However, now that I primarily read on my phone I find it a challenge to leave comments so I rarely do so.

    Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to make a greater effort to leave more comments.

  42. Debi Morton says:

    My dad, who died a few years ago, was a District Court Judge. He knew the names of not just all the other judges and all the attorneys, but also all the clerks and custodians who worked in the courthouse, and treated them as friends. He asked about their families, knew whose kids were having trouble in school, etc. And guess whose words were the most heartfelt to us when he died. He was missed by all of them.
    He also taught his daughters that everyone deserved to be noticed, and everyone had a story to tell.

    • Anne says:

      He sounds like a wonderful man, Debi. I can imagine how welcome those interactions in the courthouse must have been to the people involved.

  43. Joy in Alabama says:

    I used to not really say anything to clerks and cashiers. Then my son started working in a dept store and was always telling me how rude people are. So I started trying hard to be nice to people who serve me. My kids who have been in food service so appreciate it when people are nice and not “entitled”! And my daughter who works at Starbucks so appreciates her tips every week! So the little effort to be a blessing is worth it to other people!
    Thank you for your blog! Thank you for not switching over to only IG, thank you for letting us be part of your family, and thank you for reading all those books and then recommending them to us! And I’m now using a Bujo because of you and I really like it! I love your posts at the end of the month about little things, too. Thanks, Anne!

  44. Carla says:

    On the heels of that, let me take this opportunity to tell you how much we enjoyed having you visit our special little town of Thomasville! I appreciated your attention given to each reader in that long line—even to the end. It was a pleasure to meet you and we hope you’ll visit us at The Bookshelf again!

  45. Janean says:

    Surprisingly, as an introvert, I generally chit chat with strangers when out and about in the community. Sometimes, I think it’s nervous energy or discomfort with dead air. Most of the time though, I am just trying to be friendly and connect with people, especially those who are providing me some kind of service. Much to my tween children’s horror, I chat up cashiers, servers, nurses and people in line. I compliment a flattering color they are wearing or on how patient they just were with their child. I mean, why not? I don’t think of myself as a Pollyanna type or even as an overly positive or optimistic person. I just feel that in these situations, it’s just so easy to offer a kind word or to be polite. It’s easy not to be rude because it took a tad longer for the barista to fulfill your order. After all, she’s not trying to ruin your day and waiting an extra few minutes does not indeed ruin your day. I can’t tell you how many times people have thanked me excessively or even profusely for my patience, for not being rude or for being incredibly understanding for a small inconvenience and I think to myself, “Are people really normally this difficult?” I hope not. Anne always says that book people are the best people, so I’m sure if people are that difficult, it’s certainly none of us. ? Maybe the next time we are patient, we can pass them a little calling card: “The patience you’ve experienced today is because I’m a book person. Book people are the best people. Have a good day and feel free to ask me for a book recommendation. If I can’t think of one, I know someone who can.” ?

  46. Sheree says:

    YES! When I was working in retail, a customer once took the time to seek out the details of our head office and send a compliment about the service she received in our store. I remember my manager tearing up when she read it, and saying “Gee, it’s nice to get kisses instead of kicks, isn’t it?”. That one moment stuck with me, much like your guitarist: I’ve never stopped thinking about the value and impact that even the smallest acknowledgement can have. Sending an email to someone doing something you admire, leaving a Facebook review for a venue you love, congratulating someone who just shared their work at an open mic, asking the name and having a laugh with the waitress or airline attendant, all of it takes less than a minute but it can make the world of difference.

    • Janean says:

      I briefly worked in a call center. Talk about encountering rudeness. ? One thing I did takeaway from that experience is not only to just be nice, but to compliment good customer service when you receive it, directly to a supervisor. When you have a positive experience either in person or on the phone, ask to speak with the person’s supervisor. Give specific examples of how the representative provided you with superior service and how they are an asset to the company. It only takes a few minutes of your time, but it can have a huge impact on the career of the representative. Those types of spontaneous customer compliments were specifically tracked and tied to our raises. I’m not speaking of the kind where you’re prompted for feedback at the completion of a call. I’m speaking about affirmatively requesting to speak with a supervisor at the conclusion of your experience to pay the individual a complement. It feels good. Give it a try. ?

  47. Pam says:

    Yes, recognize those around you who are competent and cheerful, especially those providing our ‘background music’. A heartfelt thank you goes a long way, privately and publicly. When I retired a few years ago, I gave the usual thank yous to the bosses at my retirement reception. However, I also thanked the departmental support staff for their hard work, and commented on how they had made my job easier every day for 30 years. Afterwards, a secretary who did not attend in person — doesn’t like crowds — told me with tears in her eyes, “No one ever thanks us!” Sad, but true. Even a pleasant “hello” on the street is often well-received by a stranger, at least in my small city in western Canada. People want to feel seen and appreciated, and too often, they just feel ignored or even denigrated by others these days. Ask yourself: What would a nice person do? Then do it! (I stole that line from a CBC radio program that I listened to in the car last Sunday. The interviewee used it successfully to improve his interpersonal relationships.)

  48. Kathy In Indiana says:

    I so appreciate your introspective posts! I often mull them over for a loooong time. 🙂 Lol, I also appreciate your book posts. I guess I like them all! Have a great weekend!

  49. Amber N. says:

    This post really resonated with me. I’m currently at the beach with my family on vacation. This time last year my dad ended up in the hospital while we were here. He spent 3 days there. The care he experienced was great. So he and my mom drove back this week to thank the drs and nurses. I think these are good reminders that everyone enjoys a little appreciation for the work they put forth.

  50. Kristian says:

    Online, I always try to comment on media I consume (if made by a single creator. I don’t for news articles because…. well, those comment sections are downright scary, and the writers there are typically compensated in other ways). Because, at least online, this content is often being consumed for free. Taking a moment to say you like it, or, on days I have’t the mental or physical energy for that, at the very least a “like” seems easy enough to do.

    This was a very good reminder that this habit can extend beyond the screen- to email an author of a book I liked, give a tip and thank you to a musician, to sign and comment in the guest book at an art gallery. Thank you for sharing this insight with us!

  51. Liz Small says:

    This post resonates with me in so many ways. First, this is hands down one of my favorite Buffet songs and I am a major sucker for live music. Then taking it further on the message it really strikes me. I think that anyone who is a creative- in any way you’d interpret it- is creating for others as much as themselves. It’s almost as if at some point you cannot keep it in and those occasional interactions make you realize that yes there are people listening! Thanks for sharing as always!

  52. Gabrielle says:

    As with so many of your posts, I added this to my ‘Good Advice’ P-board. Also, I’m inspired to leave you a comment of course :). I’ve followed your blog for years and enjoy and appreciate your writing so much, and my sister and I talk MMD book recommendations all the time. As a small business owner I can’t tell you how much I appreciate getting feedback from my customers, so often we only hear back from the people that have issues or complaints, it’s really nice when someone takes the time to leave a quick note of appreciation.

  53. Nicholette says:

    I come from the country and then a pretty rural college so for me, for the longest time I probably knew who was on stage or had a good chance of.beijg able to interact relatively directly. And I always enjoyed doing that. Now, though, I find myself almost over-interacting at times. Like every time my favorite poet on indiefeed had a poem, I would email her to tell her how good it was. And of course the feedback was always positive but eventually she stopped writing me back either from fame or because she had always written back and knew I knew she appreciated it I’m not sure but I haven’t heard from her since. Nowadays I try to limit my excitability while still being appreciative in an appropriate manner.

  54. Saar says:

    I actually wrote about that feeling of “needing interaction” a while back – but your post made me realise that also means I need to go into interaction more. You know, responding to blogposts like this one 🙂

  55. Twila Bennett says:

    Last summer, we were walking in our little hometown when we came upon the Sunday concert series at the park. A girl was singing her heart out and I was mesmerized. We stopped and only heard her last three songs. I went home and looked up who she was on the schedule, and immediately found her on Facebook. I wrote a short note about how she made my day with her joy and talent and passion. Later that night, she posted back with such gratitude that it made me smile for days. Like you, I had never done that and yet now, I always try to somehow acknowledge musicians who move me. I sing on our worship team at church and honestly appreciate those that say how the music blessed them, as well. It is worth the time to stop and do this!

  56. Kellye Newby says:

    Great point! Thanks for sharing your experience and observation. And thank you for sharing books. Your work makes my life richer!

  57. Katie says:

    “I’m not a crowd, but I’m a person—a person who can say I see you.” Great post, Anne. It’s so true. We’ve all been the one giving a presentation in a class or sharing a story or performing like this musician — and we’ve all loved when there’s someone in the audience who nods along or asks a question or gives some kind of encouragement. My family also tends to try to sit as far away from performers as possible for the sake of our conversation, but maybe we’ll sit closer next time. Thanks for sharing this story!

  58. AngD says:

    I loved this post for so many reasons. But mostly because I was at a concert Friday night Tim McGraw Faith Hill. During her part of the concert she was singing her heart out and putting on what I thought was a fantastic show. But all around me I could see people texting, checking emails, playing with instagram. I thought really how rude. People were waiting for her husband, which I get. but honestly I thought, have some respect for her performance. I think when I go to concerts of the opening acts who have to play through all of the talking and people getting settled and how hard that must be. I try when I go to any type of music venue or place where people are giving of themselves, to give them attention. It makes me sad to see someone try so hard and put so much into something and just be ignored.

  59. Amy Flett says:

    I’m ashamed to say I never thought about this until I started planning to start a blog. Suddenly, I realized how much I wanted to have meaningful conversations with readers once the blog launches, and I realized how seldom I comment on my favorite blogs (like yours! My reading list is 99% recommendations from your blog and podcast). These days, I’ve been trying to verbally express my appreciation for the content creators and businesses I love in comments and replies, and after this post, I think I’ll step it up a notch and try writing proper thank-you notes/emails to people who have had a significant influence on my life.

  60. June says:

    Anne, thank YOU so much for your blogs, podcasts and other online forums. You are so fun to read and listen to and my reading life is better as a result!

  61. Cathy Morgan says:

    Oh I loved this so much. I see you. I notice you. Thank you for putting this in to words that are so relatable!

  62. Kelli says:

    Anne, I’ve taken your words to heart ever since you posted this, and tried to share more often with people how much they are appreciated. I had my annual gyn visit this week and realized that gynecologists probably aren’t told very often how enjoyable a visit to their office is 🙂 . I finally have a doctor that I totally love, so after I saw her yesterday I wrote a note on a pretty card telling her how great she is at what she does and dropped it off today, and it made me so happy to do that! (And she wrote me a sweet email this afternoon, so I think she appreciated it as well). It’s such an easy thing to do that makes us all so happy! Thank you so much for writing this.

  63. Marcia says:

    If I read a book that I feel is memorable, I email the author. I never expected responses but I now have a folder full of wonderful responses from the authors. I went to a reading where the author talked about the lonely work and enjoyed the interactions with her readers….so try to make contact and thank them for their work.
    I also send thank you notes to the person who hosted our monthly book club meetings about the food, author information, and enjoyment of her book choice!

  64. Teresa Eskew says:

    As I have gotten older I always compliment an outfit, hair style etc. Wether I know the person or not. They are always a little surprised and happy for the acknowledgment. It takes no extra time out of my day and it is worth making someone smile.

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