Friday, January 22, 2010

Help ! Somebody is being nice to me...

Please select the correct answer

1) The Dutch guy above is:

( ) Not nice
(x) Nice

(Note: one of our best friends. Sincere, spontaneous... And he never expects things in return.)

This would be hilarious if it was not true.

According to a research made by Stichting Ideƫle Reclame (SIRE), Dutch people have become "not nice". "People have become more individualistic and suspicious." Therefore SIRE has lauched last Tuesday a campaign: "Pay attention: Nice" ("Pas op, aardig").

It is remarkable that 67 % of the people researched by SIRE think dat people in the Netherlands are not friendly. Spots on the radio, TV and on the website with tips shall stimulate more friendliness among the population. "Very impressive is the conclusion that 2 million people have said that they have no clue about how they could use kindness" says Ivo Roefs from SIRE. "With this campaign we would like to point out that when people act friendly they shouldn't expect something in return. " 17% of the interviewed by SIRE said that they get very suspicious when an unknown person says or does something nice for them. "Life, epecially in the big cities, is anonymous. People in the NL ignore each other" concludes Roefs. It is his belief that when you do three nice things for others per day, you get happier yourself. "But the Dutch are too unmannerly ("horkerig") for that," adds him.

According to Jan Derksen from Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen "People in the NL celebrate the individualism. (...) There is little empathy, Dutch people are suspicious and have become less nice than ever."


I ran immediatlly to the site when I read this article. The site is FUN !! There are five types of quite nice people and you learn how you can react on them and get used to their nice behaviour (they do not expect anything in return). What to say when they make a compliment, accept their offers, be thankful.

Being nice should be the most normal thing in the world...

When I first arrived here in the NL I was doing a lot the gesture of thumbs up to others. Also smiling more, blinking only one eye... The Dutch population thought I was definitely idiot (about the smiles while staring or trying to speak Dutch) or was flirting (the "one eye blink" thing). The thumbs up gesture I still do it sometimes, especially when cars stop for me on the zebra cross - but much less than I used to. I used to bring nice sweet things to people more frequently than now. I have noticed that many Dutch people were embarrassed, puzzled or frankly disappointed about it ("Shit, and now, what does she expect from me in return ?"). Now that I feel more Dutchie I have to remember to do that again !!

Any thoughts on that ? Any personal experiences ?


A Touch of Dutch said...

Great post! I've had a mix of experience everywhere I've been in the country, but I'll share my positive experience from yesterday: A woman, who seemed about the same age as me, was shopping the same aisles as I was. Randomly, but we'd pass each other often in almost every aisle, and she was always heading in the opposite direction. On one aisle, she sneezed, so I turned to her & said, "Gezondheid!" This was something I'd do to a stranger where I come from. She gave me an uncomfortable smile and said, "Dank je."

Two aisles later, as we once again met, another shopping cart stood in the way of me, so she stopped her cart & went out of the way to move the other cart for me and flashed me a big smile. It was very polite of her, and everytime I saw her further in the store she was smiling. Simple courtesy or respect ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Aledys Ver said...

Excellent, Anita! I loved this post. I'm going to start forwarding links to your post and to the SIRE site, which is indeed fun! I also thought of getting T-shirts, I'm going to give at least one to a neighbour hehehe
I agree with the statement that many people get suspicious and don't know how to react when you're nice to them! Weird, eh?
Thanks for this!

Invader_Stu said...

I think they could do with this in the UK as well. I've not had much experience with people be unfriendly here. I've had more experience with it in London where some times people don't just go out of their way but they make an effort to be rude to other people.

Orangesplaash said...

Nice post Anita and thanks for the site..I have not had any such incidents out here until now, have only found the Dutch willing to help and ever smiling..May be confusing to others but touchwood..thats what my experience has been!!