I get teased a lot for being such a friendly Midwesterner. I never really noticed it until I moved to New England where everyone is very into their privacy and conversations are minimal with strangers. Thankfully, I work in retail, so my sunny disposition is a skill rather than a nuisance, and it ends up working in my favor, but if I didn’t have books to sell, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. I just like talking to people. I like hearing their stories and what they have to say, and I genuinely believe that if you’re nice to others and take an active interest in people, they’ll either return the favor or pay it forward (or both, if things go really well!), and that’s something I can be proud of. As someone at work put it, “everyone is Emelie’s best friend.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have my bad days and I have my bad moments during my good days when I’m not as nice as I could have been or I say something truly awful and stupid to or about someone, and I almost always feel remorse over those moments. I do get annoyed with people and there are people who I just don’t like or don’t get along with, but I’d like to think that I give everyone an honest shot before deciding whether or not I like them. I do my best to be nice to every cashier and every barista – after all, coffee is my lifeline and if I’m not nice to the barista, things could end up very poorly for me – and I try and make sure that each customer who walks into the bookshop knows that I’ve seen them and that I’m happy to help them find a book if they need me. A lot of that has to do with my job, yes, but I think that it’s mostly just in my nature. I just happened to find the career that works best with my personality.
So, yeah, when I answer the phone, my voice goes up an octave, and when I ask how you’re doing, I really do want to know. It’s not forced and it’s not fake; it’s just… happiness. It’s love. I operate out of a love for what I’m doing and for the people I’m talking to, and even if some think that it’s too much, I’m not going to stop. I am nice. I am happy. And I’m unapologetic about it, because if any of that can transfer from me to you, then you bet your butt that I’m going to keep doing it.
Sorry, New England. You’ve got a loud Midwesterner in your midst and she’s here to stay.