It costs nothing to be kind. Probably.

People always say “It costs nothing to be kind” but technically it doesn’t cost anything to be a real asshole either, so I’m not sure why we’re bringing financials into it.  It does, however, cost money to hire lawyers after you stab people you don’t like in the leg so maybe that should be the phrase everyone should remember.  Then again, if you bottle everything up and continue to be kind to people who are being real dicks you’re going to end up in some pretty heavy therapy or in a lot of bars drinking your resentment away and I can tell you that neither of those things are cheap.  Really they should just change the saying to “Life is already expensive.  There’s no need to make it worse by being a dick to people.”

It doesn’t quite sing like the first line, but it’s more accurate.

139 thoughts on “It costs nothing to be kind. Probably.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I prefer your saying. Words to live by … unless being a dick is truly called for … in which case, there’s significant ROI for being a dick. (That’s me slinging around some financial jargon … that I heard somewhere … once … because I know shit about finance … as my bank account will attest.

  2. Deep Thoughts by Jenny Lawson. 🙂

    I’ve always wondered why there have to be dicks in the world. I mean, why can’t people just be nice to each other? Life would definitely be so much easier!

  3. Drinking resentment away really does get expensive!

    Uh, I know because of a friend.

  4. The other day someone was yelling and screaming at me over the phone at work. There was no way for me to legally do what this guy wanted and I kept calming explaining it to him. Finally he realized that no matter what he screamed or yelled at me I was not going to be able to do what he wanted. At this point he literally screamed at the top of his lungs “Well! Thanks for NOTHING!” To which I replied in my most chipper voice, “You’re welcome. Have a nice day.” and promptly hit the end call button. Picturing him seething while looking at the phone in his hand made my day. And nothing I said or did was ever not nice in the slightest, but I still got my own sweet revenge. Sometimes being syrupy sweet can be the best revenge. 🙂

  5. Someone stole your name – from the NYT

    Video: In Performance | Sierra Boggess

    Ms. Boggess sings the number “A Little Bit Less Than” from the musical comedy “It Shoulda Been You,” on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.

  6. I needed this post (to link) yesterday when my sister hojacked my mother’s previously cheery and humorous facebook post. Also, I completely just typoed the work ‘hijacked’ but am leaving it on purpose. Might as well highlight how much I clearly need this post myself by pretending to be kind to her by saying nothing to her, and then being an asshole by talking about her and leaving in passive aggressive freudian typos in comment’s she’ll never see.

  7. I think “Life is already expensive.  There’s no need to make it worse by being a dick to people.” would make a great tshirt.

  8. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar….and you never know when you might want to leave a bunch of flies for someone who wasn’t kind.

  9. I just exasperatedly yell “Wheaton’s Law!” at people when they are being a dick. This includes my children and cats.

  10. I have found that it’s all pretty black and white. We learned right and wrong by the age of 5 and aholes are consistently looking for gray areas.

  11. It does cost nothing to be kind, until you get the “be a good friend to me and come to this tupperware party I’m hosting! Also, try to spend more than $100 so I can get a free gift.”

  12. I am totally co-opting “hojack” from reply 12 up there. Most perfect accidentally made-up word, ever. I have a couple of hojackers in my life. They gotta go.

  13. I was just pondering why everyone seems so darn on edge lately and almost dickish, even me and I’m usually pretty laid back. I blame the extreme heat on the outside of the building and the extreme cold on the inside of the building. And see, that extreme cold costs a lot of money and is quite dickish. Yep, it is more expensive to be a dick.

  14. I love your line but dammit, it’s too long to fit on a mug or t-shirt. We must think of a way to make it more pithy…

    Maybe just a photo of a dick (or asshole) with the strikeout symbol over it? You know the circle with the line through it? Just an idea…

  15. You do seem to earn money being an asshole with stuff like Wall Street and such. But eh. There are many things more important than money, self-respect being one of them.

  16. Dear Bloggess,

    You are soooo funny and I totally get everything you talk about. Just wanted to tell you that, and that I appreciate so you much, and I tots love you! Thanks for being here.

  17. Would it cost anything to stop using “dicks” as an insult? I know quite a few people who are fond of dicks–some who have them, some who just enjoy the company of dicks. I mean penises, really, although I know some very nice guys named Richard too who are sometimes Dicks, but don’t act like dicks.

  18. I have found that getting all your drinks during happy hour makes drinking your resentment away WAY cheaper,

  19. I like the saying “Just because you have one, doesn’t mean you should be one!”

  20. My saying is, be nice to me and I will be nice to you. Be a dick and I will bring out a straight razor!…..jen

  21. re: alternatives to “dick”. How about cock rash? Septic penis? Weeping vaginal sore? Torn Labia?

    There are far too many unpleasant people around these days though, perhaps we should instate beatings for shitstains who feel it neccisary to be awful to others. Like that asshole who reduced me to tears on the train, he could have done with a public beating. I really wish someone had punched him, he needed a punch in his stupid face.
    and the person who dictated that my personal blog wasn’t to their taste and made out like I OWED them to write what they wanted me to write. I’d like to introduce this brick to your face.

    I’m tired of this world, every day there seem to be more and more of these knob rashes cropping up spewing their bile.

  22. I am a huge fan of being kind. I work in one of those fields that seems to attract douchebags, and I can absolutely say that I have accomplished far more through being kind in response to douchebaggery than through being a dick (I refuse to use the flies/honey/whatever saying, because flies freak me out and I can’t figure why you would ever want to catch them). That said (or written, whatever), I can absolutely attest to the fact that being kind costs. Big time. In the form of vodka bills, yoga class costs, and yep, therapy, all to work through the fact that I am kind to a bunch of people who really deserve to have their throats chewed open by rabid ferrets. Wow. That turned serious quick. Time for a nice martini and a little drunk yoga.

  23. I’m a fan of the pay it forward mentality. Only, I don’t wait for someone to be kind to me. I like to start as many kindness chains as I can. At least, I hope they become chains. One of my favorites is to randomly compliment someone on their shirt, or hair, or whatever. I only say it if I mean it so it ring sincere, and it is the easiest way to maybe brighten someone’s day. Total stranger, bam, a little brighter now.

  24. Hells, being kind uses so much energy holding back the “I will throw you down the nearest set of stairs after I punch you in the head and break both your arms.” But the lawsuit/incarceration stemming from said course of action would cost a yikes amount.

    I generally say, “Don’t be a douche canoe.” <- Thank you, Jenny. Especially since my Dad’s name is Richard, and goes by Dick.

    However, I yell out my car window, “HAVE SOME AWARENESS, PEOPLE!”

    My spouse tells people I collect dicks. He means Dick names…

    And I’ve traveled far away from your original point. If someone is being an inconsiderate ass to you, I can put them on my list. Of people that need to be slapped. Or stabbed, or cursed to agonizingly stub their toe every morning for forever before they are fully awake. I mean the kind of toe stubbing that draws blood and makes you cry.

    How about a T-shirt that simply says “You’re costing me”? I don’t know how to punctu-ize that. Head colds are mean.

    I hope any person who is unkind to you gets a nasty cold and stubs their toe repeatedly.

  25. Oh I do love the word “hojacked”. From the context, I believe the definition of the word is “to co-opt another’s event/celebration/meeting/work credit out of jealousy and a need for attention.” We all know hojackers.
    Best new word, ever.

  26. When I am being pissy at others, a friend with a criminal justice background makes me repeat the mantra “I am too pretty to go to prison” several times out loud. Seems to help…

  27. Life is full of jizz waffles. All you can do is eat pancakes instead.

  28. It also costs nothing to go live in a cave and avoid all humanity. That’s my ultimate goal. Only a cave with wifi. And indoor plumbing.

  29. @KCatty (#52) Lol!

    I tell my kids “If you can’t be kind, be quiet.” Seriously, we need more kindness in the world. And tolerance and empathy and compassion. And far less douche canoe-ery. And hojacking. You have my sympathy. It can be the hardest thing to hold your tongue when you want to rip someone a new anus. Sending light and love your way.

  30. The third law of dickishness (Yes, its totally a word and not a made up law or anything) states that once an individual starts being a dick in a given situation that cognitive dissonance makes them keep going even though they know they’re being a dick. For some that cognitive dissonance has lasted their entire lives.

    Speaking of laws, this is like the only site on the Internet where the law of don’t read the comments doesn’t apply.

  31. I’m tired so my brain kid of shuffled it into “Be kind of I’ll stab you in the dick”. TGIF.

  32. I wish everyone on Facebook would remember this advice, especially in the wake of Charleston. Sigh.

  33. Everyday I learn something new on your Blog — “hijack”, “too pretty to go to prison”, “be kind or I’ll stab you in the dick”. I mean, really Jenny. You are such an educator!! Thank you for this!

  34. “Then again, if you bottle everything up and continue to be kind to people who are being real dicks you’re going to end up in some pretty heavy therapy..”

    Welp. You just explained my whole life.

  35. Obviously, you need one of my “DON’T BE A DOUCHE” stickers. Cheaper than an attorney. Healthier than bottled up resentment. Tack it to the windshield of the car that’s parked across two spaces or the forehead of the douche pickle who gets in the express line with a full cart. It’s educational and it gets the message across NICELY, with a heart shape and pretty script. (Who could get angry over a heart-shaped sticker?)
    I have a sheet of them for Jenny and a sticker each for the first fifty people who request one. Just email me your mailing addresses ( and I’ll send them right out.
    You’re welcome.

  36. sometimes I wish I could lay down on the ground and kick and scream and cry. Then get sent to my room and where i would end up taking a long nap. Maybe that’s the deal…maybe being a dick is just the adult version of needing a nap. No one is a dick 24/7 we all have those moments we wish we could take back…right?

  37. You are quite the wordsmith.
    Ever wonder why it’s not called a ‘wordjones’? Are the Jones not as good as the Smiths?
    Just curious.

  38. There is a third option: Drinking your resentments away with a cheap forty in a brown paper bag in one hand and a packet of cheesy poofs in the other. Drawback: If you don’t properly lick your fingers afterwards, orange fingerprints at the crime scene can lead ’em right to ya.

  39. Jenny, I thought you should see this if you haven’t. Because, you know, relentless.

    I relentlessly hope I get the link right for once.

    Kindness is expensive, and so is a rainbow roof for an invisible relentlessly gay rainbow dragon.


  40. If kindness costs, then I am way behind on my billing…
    I think Emily Yates still has her global Try Not to be a Dick movement, and you can still get a sticker or something from her…

  41. LWH, I saw that! We should all be so Relentlessly Gay. (The phrase Relentlessly Gay is now My New Favorite Thing.)

  42. I like being extra nice to jerks because it pissed them off even worse but they don’t know what to do. 🙂

  43. When people are mean to me, I give them a big old kiss smack dab right on the lips. They really don’t know what to say after that…….XXXXOOO… old FART! Old Farts are FUNNer than nice people once you kiss them. 🙂

  44. I just accidentally broke my blue elephant piggy bank (not sure what the “piggy” has to do with it, nor do I understand the term “piggy back”, and how it seems like it should be related but really isn’t. Or maybe it is.). And I then I started to ramble and forgot what I was going to write… Moral of this post: watch more cat videos because they’re good for you.

  45. Maybe they could go with, “Being nice to people is less hazardous to your health.”

  46. I have a coworker that when things get tense and individuals get frustrated, says “you look pretty today”. Male or female, the reaction is to stop, take a breath, and smile. Defuses the tension beautifully.

  47. It cost me nothing but tears to go to the end of the street and pick up the roadkill kitten I saw earlier and show him some final respect and compassion by burying him in my backyard this morning….. I think I need a hug.

  48. MWorothroughnd I have been using the term “douche-canoe” for quite some time now thanks to your blog. In the last year so, she has added “floating down a river of dirty tampons” to the description, epic don’t think that would Work well on a pillow or a mug. She is also going throug a horrible divorce.

    Looking back at all the comments I realize that it is somewhat of a requirement to include the word “dick” in my response. So, there you go.

    Also I’m not sure what’s going on with you Jenny, but I hope things get better for you soon. I haven’t been the best follower as of late. I have been helD prisoner in my own mind quite a bit in the past few months. I think of you often during my dark times because we are so similar in that respect. It’s actually rather creepy. No, really. Get out of my head. You’re scaring the shit outta me. But then, it IS nice to know I’m not alone, even when I am.

    So, thank you.

  49. Oh my god. Not even Sure what happend. That should read, “My friend and I…” and not “MWorothroughnd.” Whatever that means. Sorry.

  50. Wow. So many mistakes. That’s what I get for using voice to text and then trying to fix it on my phone. It’s like my comment was hojacked.

  51. This post reminds me of a lyric from the song “Drunken Soldier” by Dave Matthews Band. It goes:

    “Keep your head up
    Try and listen to your heart
    Be kind always, no matter”

    You should check that song out.. I think you’d like it.
    Here’s the youtube thingie of it:

  52. You could paraphrase Wil Wheaton, “Don’t be a dick. It can get really expensive.” With that in mind, I think I’ll just tell my husband how much money I save by being nice. And then spend all that savings on frivolous things, because that makes me happy, which in turn makes me want to continue to act nice. Wait… that means being nice is expensive, too. Never mind.

  53. Kindness is worthwhile, even to assholes. Sometimes. As long as you do it with eyes open and an understanding of no return. To love abundantly, even wastefully, is a glorious thing.

  54. Life is expensive. That’s why I’m giving away something for free today. Really glad your blog is free. It helps keep me from stabbing assholes in the leg…or drinking heavily in bars.

  55. Sometimes, I have a really hard time being kind…like when the asshole 16 year old in a honkin’ big truck runs up on my tail and gives me the finger for doing the speed limit…oh yeah! How much do I want to just slam on the brakes and let him rear end me?? But then I think, “I’m 63. It would give me major whiplash and probably make me incontinent. Is it really worth it? What would he learn? That this crazy old lady is also an asshole. No, that’s not my lesson.” So, I decompress and say to myself, “be kind to yourself Shirley. Because in the end, you are who you have left. Just be kind to yourself.”

  56. “To love abundantly, even wastefully, is a glorious thing.”

    Now that should go on a mug!

  57. i’m happy with the way mama raised me…”treat people as you want to be treated”. it gives me the grace to be patient with the brand new cashier, or kind to the server who sees my service dog and becomes tear-filled because his dog had just died.

    it doesn’t hurt me to be kind, and it makes someone else feel better. in turn, that makes me feel better, so we all win.

  58. As always, sage advice. Love the Dave Matthews song above. In fact that whole album is beautiful. @tracy. I laughed at hojacked. Your voice recognition thing is having a laugh at your expense. 🙂

  59. I fucking love all of you people. I’ve been in a shit mood for a week, and it’s not even shark week yet, wtf. You are all good, every last one of you not-hojackers.
    That is so a thing now. T-shirt that! “Don’t hojack my thread, bitch!”
    Hugs all around.

  60. Unfortunately, being kind costs quite a bit, financially and in emotional energy. Being a dick costs also. Each of us needs to determine which is more fulfilling for any specific situation.

  61. My great-grandmother’s last name was Dick. That’s right, she was Nanna Dick. I also had a second cousin named Harry Dick. They were lovely people, but burdened with an unfortunate last name. So I’ve always preferred the term douchebag, or in moments where I’m being subtle, “Hey, Summer’s Eve–why don’t you and the bag you came in piss off?”

  62. Everyone… Even the dick drivers that should not be behind a wheel get me saying “Wheaton’s Law!” My kids and dogs just shake their heads at me. 😀

  63. It costs more to be a nasty person than to be nice, but sometimes being nice is harder. Being nice always pays off, but not always as quickly as you’d hope. Being nasty is immediate, but the negative effects of nastiness last a very long time. The difficulty lies in being nice to people even if they’re nasty, but you need to swallow some pride, let go of your ego, & avoid being reactive to do this; even so, it’s worth it in the end.

  64. My dad is a dick and it’s costing me a ton for my own therapy…I choose to be nice to people because 1) it makes me happy and 2) it’s how I’d like to be treated.

  65. Bottling it up and keeping your frustrations in check because you’re the nice one is not the best thing. I did that for years with my ex husband and it left some really deep emotional scars.

    Better to just call a dick a dick, and an asshole an asshole and be done with it.

  66. Guy at Starbucks drive thru ahead of me paid for my $3 tall latte. So to be nice I figured I’d get the next guy. He ordered $47 worth of stuff for his family. THAT is the cost of being nice.

  67. I just let their karma get them for me. With a world full of phones and cameras and internet, chances are that something they did/said will come back to bite them on the ass in a totally viral way. But I do curse other drivers with Shakespearean and Olde English curses. Plus, then I get to laugh at how silly I sound and let off steam.

  68. So true! Being a jerk is really never worth it…the lawyers and the drama. Yuck! I’d much rather ignore and pretend the problem doesn’t exist!

  69. Hojack. Best new word of 2015. Jenny you bring out the best in all of us.

  70. The feeling of being kind to someone is at great as the one receiving it. But people will take advantage of it and soon you feel that you have given so much to help others and is left with nothing. How do you recover from that?

  71. I had a dream I visited your house. It was an apartment, actually, and we spent the day together. It was a good time. Thanks. 🙂

  72. I work customer service and sometimes I train new people. I always tell them, when you get an unreasonable screaming asshole, and you will, oh yes, immediately just get as friendly and happy as you can. They want you to get mad too and engage so they can fight with you. Or validates their temper tantrum and then they can complain about you to your manager. But if you stay nice, even the angriest dick head realizes it would sound stupid to complain that you’re a nice rep who was polite and professional. Also if you don’t engage eventually they run out of rant and then get tired and shut up and go away. And in the end you win bc they’re gone and you don’t have a rage headache. I also enjoy picturing them with that forehead vein throbbing as they scream and get more and more frustrated bc you aren’t yelling and that voice in the back of their head is telling them they’re being dickish. But I’m just petty like that 🙂

  73. As for you, Jenny. Absolutely you don’t have to do what anyone else tells you and screw them anyway. Bullies suck, no matter why they do it. As I like to say, not my circus, not my monkey. They can spend years writing a blog to get a public forum of their own. They’ll have to be witty, charming and hilarious too. Pretty sure they can’t. Oh well, sad panda for them. You do what you want with your words and your stuff and nevermind them. Just bc someone says something louder than anyone else, doesn’t make that something more important or more right. Volume is not a measure of moral probity.

  74. Hi 103,

    “it doesn’t hurt me to be kind, and it makes someone else feel better.”

    And if it doesn’t make them feel better, probably it’s making them foam at the mouth — win/win. Sometimes, if I’m REEEAAALLY cheesed, I say, “I’ll pray for you.”

    Also, I’m trying to bring back a universally-understood-to-be-positive finger gesture (peace sign) to counteract the universally-understood-to-be-negative finger gesture we all know and love. Also doesn’t hurt me, might make someone else feel better — or foam at the mouth.

  75. I always try to kill people with kindness. And, by kindness I mean ground glass baked into a delicious cake.

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