- Gender and Relationships
Coercing Random Acts of Kindness
OK ... So Maybe the Random Act of Kindness Wasn't Exactly Coerced
According to Dictionary.com, the actual definition of "coerce" is to: compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard to another person's feelings; and to dominate or control, especially by exploiting a person's emotions, like fear or anxiety.
In my case, I don't really feel that I was forcing the man to do anything ... But maybe I should just go ahead and tell what happened.
Here's the Gruesome Story
Last week, we had a holiday luncheon for everyone at work, and they were giving away prizes through a special drawing. Some people even got cash.
Well, one of the guys I work with won fifty dollars, and I didn't win anything. We were talking after the lunch, and I (half-jokingly), said, "You know, I'm pregnant, so I probably need that fifty dollars more than you do, so you should give it to me." And he agreed that he probably should, but he didn't hand it over right off.
At about the same time, I spotted another coworker (female), and told her, "Hey. Tell him to give me his fifty dollars because I need it more than he does." This other coworker, who knows me much better, knew I was joking, so she told him to give the money to me, too, as a joke.
And then he handed over the envelope - with the fifty dollar bill inside. I was amazed, and I asked him if he was sure he wanted to do that. He said yes, so I took the money. It was one of the sweetest things anyone had done for me in a long time, and I was thrilled. I hugged him, and then I went away with his easy-come, easy-go money.
But It Didn't Feel So Good Later
Later on, I started wondering if I should have taken the money at all. I mean, the guy seemed happy enough to give it away, and maybe the good feeling he got for helping someone else out was enough payment for him.
But I felt rotten. I felt like I had taken advantage of the situation purely for my own personal gain. And, while I didn't actually use force to get what I wanted (and I even wondered whether I really wanted the money in the first place), I did use an accomplice, so that seemed almost as bad as coercion.
Calling It Like It Is
Basically what happened, if it wasn't coercion, was manipulation. The Dictionary.com definition of manipulate? To manage or influence skillfully. I definitely did that by playing the pregnant card, and I even enlisted help!
So, I, along with my female coworker, manipulated a random act of kindness out of my male coworker.
What Do You Think?
Does Manipulating a Random Act of Kindness Make It Less Effective?
Does This Fact Diminish the Random Act of Kindness?
I don't think it does. It was a very sweet thing for him to do. He still could've refused to hand over the cash, but he didn't, and I'm still very grateful for that because I definitely was able to use the money. However, I am trying to think of how I'm going to repay him later just because I still feel guilty for how the whole thing went down.
I'm writing my story as a sort of a confession, but also as a reminder to anyone reading this that random acts of kindness are great things, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to do something randomly nice for someone else every day. I just hope that your good acts and good intentions aren't taken advantage of.