I once heard – a very long time ago – that it is better to be kind than correct. There is a spirit of meaness permeating our once polite society. People are at each others’ throats and “it ain’t pretty.” Is this how we want to live – really? I know it's election time, which always ramps up the meanness, but I have decided to call a moratorium on negative speech. I am going to make my best effort to do everything without arguing or complaining.

And guess what? I am finding out that it is indeed, a very small but precious gift.

One particular “thorn in my flesh” is getting a cold-call from a salesman/woman. Last week the phone rang and it was a woman trying to bypass me to speak with the owner about insurance. She asked if “Mike” was there and I probed her for more info offering to help her. She shot back “Are you his wife?” which is code for “You are a nobody and I need to speak to someone important.”

Ordinarily this might set my mood to be uncooperative but this time I smiled to myself and responded, “No, but I‘m the person who needs to explain who you are and what your company does to Mr. DuKate before he will take your call.” I giggled a little as I said it giving the words a kinder delivery. She gave me the info on her company and I explained that the owner will not take such calls. Then the strange thing happened. She said, “Thank you for your time….and thank you for your kindness.” Wow, it must really stink being a cold call salesperson. A kind, happy response was rare – so rare she thanked me for it.

Funny – as I was writing this just now I was interrupted by a cold call. I was really nice and guess what? She hung up on me. Lesson learned? Be nice anyway. It’s time to turn this thing around. It is better to be kind then correct. —Kathy Shertzer is office manager at DuKate Remodeling, in Franklin, Ind.