selfless friday: we all feel nice when we do nice things


I receive a lot of selfless email–strangers reaching out, taking the time to say, "I’ve never done this before, but I just had to write…" I try to respond because really, those emails make me happy. Not Coke commercial happy, but sort of that quiet happy that tucks you in.

In truth, I don’t always get the chance to respond, but the sentiments linger. Not just the sweet selfless notes, but the notes that run deeper, the ones where a stranger reaches out, sharing his/her sad story (yes, men read this blog). To know something you’ve put out there has affected someone is a powerful thing. That said, the other day, I was sad. I felt sorry for myself. No reason, just a general ick feeling. It happens. And then I received this, from the teacher of a writing workshop I took in NYC:

Stephanie, thought you might get a kick out of this. Saturday, I was taking the train out to Long Beach–great beach day–and a young woman sat down next to me and pulled out a book. Moose! I asked her if she was enjoying it, and she said, "Yes. It’s my life." And she was wondering if you were writing about the same camp she went to. I gave her my card and told her to email me if she wanted to find out, but I haven’t heard from her yet.
So, people are reading your book and enjoying it.
Hope things are going well.

 So fucking nice. He doesn’t want anything from me, wasn’t writing asking for a favor. Just genuinely nice. In the spirit of this, I encourage you all to spread the love today. Hell, it’s Friday. Go on. It doesn’t take long. Shoot off a quick email, or make a speedy phone call, just tell someone something really nice today. Compliment a stranger, your barista, the bus driver, make someone’s day. We all deserve that from time to time, and the thing is, as much as you’ll make their day, you’re going to feel giddy, too. Because we all feel nice when we do nice things.

A YEAR AGO: Laissez-Faire Potty Promoters
3 YEARS AGO: Podcast

5 YEARS AGO: The Idea of Grand



  1. Right on! I try to do this daily, but it is always nice to be reminded, so thank you.

  2. Well. I have to tell you this…once I commented on your blog and YOU commented on MY comment! I must have emailed it to a thousand friends! “look! Stephanie Klein commented on my comment!!” It was like my 5 minutes of fame!
    Also…I have read and re-read Straight Up and Dirty so many times that the cover is ripped. It sits on my night stand. A lot of it captures what I was going through with my marriage and trying to figure out who I am and what I wanted. Few things have really reached out to me like your book did. So thanks!

  3. Yes! very important, I try to do as much as possible, but somehow when I do e.g. compliment a stranger, help an older person cross the street,… it gives me a very emotional (sad) feeling. Happy (and a bit proud) deep down, but also sad.

  4. This is so very true. I don’t do it often enough so thanks for the reminder! I just want to say that I was one of those emails and I will never forget that you responded back the same day!! I was so amazed and pleased. Truly, it meant alot to me and there are not many authors out there who will do that….I know because I have written to some of them. It speaks to the person you are. :)

  5. I love this. So, so true. My barista complimented me this morning, and–such a minor thing–it has bounced and rippled throughout my whole day. I’m trying to pay it forward.

    And Stephanie, if I may pay it forward a bit to you . . . . I’ve only recently discovered your blog and _Straight Up and Dirty_, and you have such an amazingly relatable + lyrical voice. You are Carrie Bradshaw with a big ole heart, and we are given little flashes o’ happy when you write. Keep on truckin’–we need voices like yours.

  6. …and this is why I’ve read your blog for YEARS now. Genuine. Good. People.

    I told the gal working at Subway today to have a great weekend. She was so taken off guard. Such a simple gesture, but I could tell it totally made her day.

    Have a fabulous weekend Stephanie! :)


  7. SO funny! This past Thursday I was on the 4 train (in ny) and this woman was reading Straight up and Dirty right in front of me. I didn’t think of emailing you to let you know, but this seems a good time to share:)

  8. i try to do one good deed per day and encourage my children to do the same. although the children don’t always acquiesce, it does make me silently smile when i see them going out of their way to help someone. wouldn’t it be nice if everyone in our nation would deed every day. a beautiful thing.

  9. What a nice entry. I wrote a post about personalized thank-you notes at my own blog and it is amazing how far a thoughtful note, letter or email wil go. Everyone likes to hear something nice once in a while. How thoughtful of your reader to send that note.

  10. I have so often wanted to send an email just to say that you seem like a rad woman who I would totally be friends with (especially as a big-city-to-Austin transplant myself), but thought that made me sound like a bit of an asshole. Well…today is that day – so asshole it is!
    You, dear Stephanie, are a bit fabulous. I truly enjoy reading and congratulate you on your success.
    Oh and re. above post…in true hag fashion, I have some gays who would most likely love to ‘trol Oil Can Harry’s or Rain with you anytime.

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