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Is Kindness Cool?

Has simply being nice to others gone out of style?
J. Molina
A group of students join hands together in the center of a lunch table.

Picture this: it’s your first day of high school, whether you’re a returning student or a fresh face. A morning of syllabus reading opens the gates to lunchtime, where students scramble to claim their spots at a table near their friends and then push past others to get into a lunch line. This scene is as familiar as what comes next: a student with no table asks to sit down with a group, met with stares and awkward tension instead of a warm welcome. The lone student finds a solitary table, sits down, and eats in silence.

Bullying is not a new topic in school environments. Loneliness has been talked about more over the past three years, with the COVID-19 pandemic acting as a catalyst for discussions on isolation and mental health. So why is it still so hard for some people to be kind?

It might be hard for someone to realize how far kindness can go. It’s natural to be self-absorbed in some way; for most people, if something doesn’t directly affect them, there’s no reason to care about it. But some people aren’t willing to extend kindness to strangers and acquaintances they’re uncomfortable or unfamiliar with. Peer pressure and expectations may also influence somebody’s behavior towards others.

Let’s example this behavior with two imaginary students, Helen and Pete. Helen and Pete were friends for two years until Helen started to hang out with a different group of people. While Pete and Helen would always wave to each other in the halls, with Helen’s new group of friends nearby, she is now embarrassed to be seen talking to Pete. She has also become rude to Pete and apathetic towards his problems, but Pete doesn’t know what he did to deserve this treatment.

This example is seen over and over again in today’s environment. The communication is severed between the two friends because of the peer pressure of others and the uneasiness of the situation. While simply showing camaraderie towards peers should not cause any harm, the image it portrays is, unfortunately, negative.

Kindness should not be seen as a weakness. Kindness should be seen as strength and compassion, empathy and humility, and yes, coolness. By not extending kindness to others, people miss out on new friendships and opportunities. We limit ourselves to what we know instead of branching out in an attempt to become more aware of and compassionate to those around us. As a result, connections are strained. A simple fix: Be kind.

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About the Contributor
J. Molina, AHS Needle Editor
If you’re looking for a school staple, look for J. Molina’s bird. They draw the bird as a signature to show who they are in a creative way. Molina is an AHS Needle and Senior Magazine editor who is joining the broadcasting team this year. Molina is involved in many activities, such as marching band as a drum major, concert band as a bass clarinet, speech and debate, AHS theater, international club, QSA, and journalism. They use each activity as a “creative outlet,” and enjoy participating in each. They most enjoy speech and marching band. “I like swinging my arms like a fool,” Molina said. Story by Alix Nath

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