Day 7: Left Valentines for floormates.
Left Valentines for floormates, February 14, 2010.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Yay!
As awful as it is to say, I don’t know everyone who lives on my floor in the dormitory building. There are about thirty of us, and counting my roommates I’m good friends with six of my floormates and know eight well enough to wave to. I’m not going to be able to make friends with all of them just by leaving them nice things, but it’s a good start.
Not to mention it was Valentine’s Day. And everyone deserves a Valentine on Valentine’s Day, even if it just means getting a cute little card. It feels good to have that little bit of affection and to feel like part of the group.
Event: Around lunchtime, I snuck out of my room with a bunch of origami swans in a plastic bag. Each of them had notes taped to their wings with the message, “Happy Valentine’s Day! Peace and Love.” I tiptoed all the way around the floor, taping a swan to each of the doors. I taped an extra large swan to my RA’s door.
One of my friends got off the elevator and started walking towards me while I was trying to be sneaky. He didn’t question what I was doing, though. Luckily, he knows me all too well to be suspicious of me doing strange things.
Reactions: The only reaction I’ve gotten was actually from my friend who caught me in the act. He said, “I know it was you who taped that to my door! You sneak!” He laughed as he said it. “But seriously, though, that was really cute,” he continued.
No one else has said anything, but all of the swans are still taped to the door. Most of the time, the jerks on my floor will rip off whatever is taped to people’s doors or graffiti. All of the swans are still intact, though, and that is all I would ever ask for.
Would I do it again? Sure!
Cost: $0. I already had the tape, and I made the swans out of scrap paper that I was going to recycle otherwise.
Effort: Not much. Strangely, it was more effort and stress to sneak around and tape the swans up than it was to actually make them.
Time: Between making the swans and taping them up, about half an hour.
Project Nice was initially very daunting, mainly because a) I was already well aware of the hostility of the average New Yorker, and b) my social skills are as sophisticated as a slug. (At least it's a good thing Project Nice wasn't testing us on our ability to make similies...anyway...) But little by little, it became easier to find ways to help people or make people happy without freaking them out, like leaving notes in books. And not only were those nice on their own, they made great stepping stones to more public events. So later in the project, when I found an opportunity to say something nice to someone, I could say it without feeling intrusive.
Also, I noticed that I did more nice things when I wasn't consciously thinking of Project Nice. After a while, it was the people who sparked my ideas and the events; I was aiming to make them happy instead of aiming for something cool to write about later.
Overall, I feel far more motivated now to spontaneously do nice things for others, whether or not I'm worried about their potential hostility. Even if they do end up thinking I'm a freak, it's better to have tried to help someone and live with the results than wonder what would have happened if I had tried.