I am meeting a lot of new people at the moment. People from very different walks of life. People I would have been unlikely to encounter in the past. Would you believe me if I told you that they have all been nice?
Even the ones who, on first encounter, come across as gruff or aggressive soon start to open up if you take the time to chat to them.
It is interesting to speculate just how far this principle could be extended.
Who are the people who, from a distance, you most dislike? Who annoys you the most? Who would you find it hard to imagine having a civil conversation with? Who are you most afraid of?
Distance is they key. We find it easy to judge from afar. Clearly I am no saint, there are still lots of people who wind me up. But I bet you, if I ever got a chance to really sit down and have a bloody good natter with them they would soon start to open up and would quickly become "nice".
If this seems incredibly naïve and overly optimistic to you maybe ask yourself why…