Nine in 10 rarely perform a simple act of kindness

NINE out of 10 people admit they regularly go through a day without performing a simple act of kindness to another person, a British study has found.

Almost a quarter of the population admit that they cannot even remember the last time they went out of their way to show kindness to someone else.

Meanwhile a third of people say they have never considered performing an act of kindness for an older person – many of them because they say they cannot “relate” to other generations.

The finding emerge from polling commissioned by the charity Friends of the Elderly which is running a campaign to combat loneliness among older people at Christmas.

Around half of all over 75s in Britain live alone and a million elderly people suffer serious loneliness.

The survey found that more than 90 per cent of older people regularly go through a day without a single act of kindness.

When members of younger generations were asked why they would not perform an act of kindness towards an older person, 16 per cent said simply that they were “too scared”, one in seven claimed they could “not find the time” and just over one in 10 said they could not relate”.


16 thoughts on “Nine in 10 rarely perform a simple act of kindness

  1. Another consequence of the ‘nuclear family’ in a nuclear-age world.
    Interaction used to be part of daily life ~ and usually didn’t even require ‘going out of one’s way’.
    One problem might be that a person who lives by themselves with no outlet (eg.wives/grandkids/etc.) tend to overdo responses (for example not stop talking, given a friendly ear), and I can see where that’d put a lot of young people off interaction.
    And they also seem to feel a need for passing on philosophies and knowledge accumulated over many years ~ before it’s ‘too late’ ~ but should remember that it’s not that kind of world any more.
    eg. It took me ages to learn the ‘art’ of sharpening a chainsaw chain ~ and NOW I realise how much a few hints would’ve helped. But now the few people who use a saw have set-and-forget machines to do the job, and don’t want to waste the time learning the principles and taking pleasure in mastering a skill.

    Even understanding that it’s easy to feel ignored ~ if not actually rejected ~ in a hurry-hurry plastic-card world.


    • Role models are missing, particularly male role models. The father figure in religions used to be not only a stern protector, but something we unconsciously emulated. Good or bad?

      It shows up even in politics, where the government is seen as a father figure.

      Conservative categories of moral action:

      1. Promoting Strict Father morality in general.
      2. Promoting self-discipline, responsibility, and self-reliance.
      3. Upholding the Morality of Reward and Punishment.
      a. Preventing interference with the pursuit of self-interest by self-disciplined, self-reliant people.
      b. Promoting punishment as a means of upholding authority.
      c. Ensuring punishment for lack of self-discipline.
      4. Protecting moral people from external evils.
      5. Upholding the Moral Order.

      Liberal categories of moral action:

      1. Empathetic behaviour, and promoting fairness.
      2. Helping those who cannot help themselves.
      3. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
      4. Promoting fulfillment in life.
      5. Nurturing and strengthening oneself in order to do the above.


      • Probably well-defined in a text-book kind of way, but I don’t like the idea of basing all-of-life-shaping principles on a moveable feast like ‘morality’.

        In both examples above that manifests as equally-artificial variants of some form of PC that takes no account of individuality, and is therefore equally destructive.

        I think a fulfilling life can ~ and should ~ be approached on a suck-it-and-see basis.
        The ‘liberal categories’ are far too (unrealistically) ‘feminine’ to allow individual ‘growth’;
        ……….the ‘conservative categories’ may be of more value if ‘morality’ is left out of the frame ~ which would automatically also replace the concept of ‘punishment’ with something nearer ‘consequences’.

        Even a dog doesn’t respond to ‘punishment’, but does understand ‘consequences’; it resonates with its most primitive instincts.
        Ours are not fundamentally different.


      • Where do we learn such lack of kindness, unless from our elders? A genuine question, I’m puzzled.

        Or perhaps there is more kindness about, but unrecognised.


      • Like most other intangible concepts, Strewth, it depends on how you define the word we use.
        Only our species could come with a concept like ‘to kill him with kindness.’
        ALL other species ~ as far as I can tell ~ have no concept of ‘kindness’ and therefore have no need for it. And yet they generally get on better than we do.
        There’s much to be said for the assertion that we’re ‘created in god’s image’ :
        sado-masochists to a man.
        … and women are even worse!
        Perhaps they’re lacking a certain appendage of which said god was presumably possessed, 😉


      • Oh Dabs! I have seen so much kindness shown by animals, particularly dogs and cats, towardstheir own kind and often other animals too.

        The god you’re referring to, is that the Mormon one, who has ‘body parts and passions’? I can’t relate to that.


      • Killing with kindness? My grandmother died of kindness. She was waited on hand and foot by her dutiful daughter, given the best place by the fire, or in the sun or shade, and served meals in bed. There is a saying that putting granny into a rocking chair is putting her early into a coffin.

        I can’t see the relevance of your remark (Only our species could come with a concept like ‘to kill him with kindness.’)


      • We may be talking at cross-purposes here Strewth:- (“Oh Dabs! I have seen so much kindness shown by animals, particularly dogs and cats, towards their own kind and often other animals too.”)

        You’re preaching to the converted! What I was getting at was that other animals (and the very best of our species) do all that without having ~ or needing ~ a word (or even concept) to describe what they’re doing, having their activities measured against the various definitions of such a word or concept, or being restricted by such parameters.

        Cats or dogs never do a ‘kindness’: they simply do what cats and dogs do (sometimes!) depending on the situation and mood.

        Our species, too, used to have that instinct.
        ….and gave it up in the interests of ‘civilisation’ and ‘gods’.

        Hence concepts like ‘kill to be kind’, which no other living thing could ever come up with.

        ps. another instinctive concept that loses much in the translation to language is ‘Love’. (as, indeed, also is ‘kill’ .)
        No dog could ever conceive of the idea of loving something ‘to death’ simply because they have no wordy meaning which which they need to comply. But who’d deny that dogs possess an instinct WE translate (restrictedly) as ‘love’

        Not me. As the man said:- The more I see of people the better I like dogs.


  2. Sometimes, “kindness” is an act of a social/environmental expectation what we feel.
    For example, people in need -begging, or sometimes too frozen, tired, exhausted, disappointed even for that- appreciate the kind words more than the “cold-heart given” money.
    Even there is not so much to give, or there is none, we can always say a good wish and ask God in prayer to Bless that person in need.
    This world around us, especially the 1st world, reached the probably highest point of selfishness…
    However, God created everything for each other…


  3. Let’s face it, there are a lot of self-centered, selfish people in this world. And they’re not all young people. I wish it were true that “what goes around, comes around” and these selfish people would get their due but sadly that isn’t true, not in this world anyway. I guess the answer is to be sure WE don’t fall into these categories.


  4. I am amazed at the kindly offers of help I am receiving from strangers, young and old, now that I’m ‘elderly’. Never had such kindness demonstrated when I was younger.


    • Perhaps if you stopped hanging around Boy Scout halls that wouldn’t be the case Strewth.
      …unless you’re paid the hang out there for training purposes? 🙂


      • Ha ha ha! No boy scouts around here. Just every-day people, strangers saying ‘hi’ in the street, cars pulling up to see if I’m okay if I rest for a few minutes on my walker, people offering help to get onand off buses and through heavy doors, people of all genders and a variety of ages.


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