Kindness. Gentleness. Getting along with others. Opening doors for others. Letting others go before you. Where have all the good manners gone?

Good manners are certainly being left by the wayside in society.

By not teaching your child to have manners you are giving your child a handicap. When a child knows how to be polite, well mannered and friendly, giving others a turn and sharing that child will have an edge over children who scream, slap, whine and complain and are generally unkind to other children. Which child would you want for a friend?

There are entirely too many people who would rather run your over and keep going or push other people out of their way, than be polite and open the door for you.

Saying "I'm sorry" is soooo lacking today.

Not everyone lacks that "being nice gene."

I have a friend who goes out of her way to compliment other people, whether she is noticing someone's new hairstyle or jewelry, she makes a point to say something nice.

One afternoon we went for lunch. Before we were out the door at my house, she had made a nice comment about how nice I looked. I really had taken pains to look nice and it felt great that she had noticed. Then it was off to the restaurant, where she promptly complimented the waitress on her necklace. The waitress gave us great service and it was delivered with a wide smile and a little bounce to her step.

Then as we were leaving the restaurant, she complimented a woman on her stylish clothes. The lady was elderly, but had wonderful facial bone structure. She asked the woman if she had been a model. Her answer, "Why, yes I was." She then went out to have a wonderful conversation with the woman. The woman beamed.

Back at my house, I showed my friend a magazine article had I just read about the writer's goal to say something nice to everyone she met as an experiment and then wrote about how her life changed that day because she made the effort to be friendly to everyone.

The writer had admitted that she wasn't always nice and her mother had asked her to just try it.

The writer said that after a few days, she realized that she was happier when she was being nice and that her new experiences were habit forming. She had learned that people smile and when you smile back your own mood is lighter and happier.

I asked my friend if she had read the article and decided to do her own experiment.

She answered "no," but said that she had started this effort to be nice because she wanted to change herself and be a nicer person.

"I wasn't always nice," she said. "I don't think you would have liked the old me. I decided to change my ways because I didn't like who I was."

All I know is that in a few short months we had become friends in a way that has been good for both of us. We've shared stories about our daughters and our lives and I feel like I've known her for many years.

And that can't be bad.

Would I have wanted to be her friend if she wasn't so friendly and caring - probably not - and I doubt she would have been seeking a friend like me in the past either.

Let me ask you this, how many of your friends can you count on to make your day brighter? I know I can count on at least one of them to say something nice - every time.

One person can make a difference, one nice word at a time.