A - Z 2021: You can catch more Flies with Honey than you can with Vinegar

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Welcome back to A - Z 2021. Yesterday we were talking about the universe and human stupidity. 

V is for

You can catch more flies with honey 
than you can with vinegar

Which begs the question: who wants to catch flies in the first place, except a fisherman? Is it just because the flies bug you (pun indented), and you want to get rid of them?

OK, I get it, it's meant in a figurative sense. 

I am a member of several Facebook groups. From purse lovers, series watchers, photo challenge participants to Mommy self help groups.

And then there's this other group including several thousands of members from all over the world. The entire purpose of this particular platform is for people who live in a foreign country to dump what's on their mind. Swearing allowed, actually encouraged. Other rules are:
  • Keep it expat related
  • Start your post by introducing yourself. Example: "🇺🇸 in 🇩🇪 I’m so sick of.."
  • No hate speech, no racism
  • No spam, no promotion
  • Privacy: don't share personal posts with outside parties
  • RTG = Respect the Grump: don't downplay or judge the other ones' situations
So in order not to violate privacy rules, I can't go into details. Just this much:

A person committed a minor recycling / trash collection offense in their neighborhood. They got a note from the authorities describing what they did wrong, what the financial penalty is, and how to avert the fine.

The person's post also included a rant about other things this country was doing to make the individual and the entire world miserable.

Did I think the bureaucratical effort involved was completely disproportial to the harmless wrongdoing committed? Absolutely. Did I think the amount of the threatened fine was ridiculously high? Oh my goodness, yes!! 

I also thought the note itself was quite polite and informative. Not only was it in English (in a non-English speaking country), they offered an opportunity to get out of trouble this time and tips on how to avoid violations in the future. The indicated time to call and talk yourself out of this mess was a week from now, which I thought was appropriate.

So - according to the group culture - the absolute worst reaction (that would probably get you kicked off right away) would be:

If you hate it so much here, why don't you go back to your country?

A more appropriate comment would be

Fucking not-minding-their-own-business assholes

Which, sure, will make the person feel good about themselves. 

What I did - since I figured, our countries were comparable in terms of narrow-mindedness - was trying to explain what the very probable reason for the rule was that they broke in the first place. 

You know, like an HR person would tell an employee what considerations led to a certain corporate policy. Or like a Mom would explain to their kids that wearing a helmet was actually beneficial to them, not a parental campaign to harass them and ruin their hair.
I added that I was hoping they'd solve their case amicably. 

They did not appreciate my input and snarked back at me. 

In my mind, I was crafting a hefty reply, and this time I wasn't going to remain factual and polite. More like:

Hey, you put your sh** out in the wrong place at the wrong time, don't come crying here if you get caught. I didn't invent the rules. Be grateful you're provided with a way out. Oh, and one more thing, I advise you to calm the f*** down before you call this officer!

Instead I retraced my steps. You can't win these arguments. They want to rant. Let them. Not my monkey, not my circus. I should have scrolled on in the first place. The only thing left to say was:

I absolutely respect your grump, sorry if it came across otherwise ♥

They thanked me. 

Wow! I caught a fly using a little honey!

Unfortunately the person called the authorities in their most vinegar-y mood and ended up getting the fine. 

Kindness brings Happiness 

Apparently this is a Hungarian wisdom, but in my opinion it couldn't be more universal!

Here's hands-on proof:

A professor gave each student a balloon with the task of blowing it up, labeling it with their name, and throwing it into the hallway.

The professor then shuffled all the balloons. Students were given five minutes to find their own balloon. Despite a frantic search, no one found their balloon. At this point, the professor told the students to take the first balloon they found and give it to the person whose name was on it. Within five minutes, everyone had their own balloon.

The professor said to the students, "These balloons are like luck. We will never find it if we each look for our own. But if we care about other people's happiness, we will find ours."

Isn't this beautiful?

People are running around everywhere in pursuit of their own wellbeing, and in the process they get discouraged and burn out. If they just stopped and took care of other people, they might feel better about themselves. 

It starts with the smallest, simplest things that doesn't cost you anything but make somebody else's day:

  • Leave the right of way to another driver
  • Hold open the door for someone
  • Say thank you
  • Smile at the cashier
  • Get a task done for your coworker even though it's not in your job description
  • Line up your teammates to honor an opponent player's last game  ever (watch this) 

Last week I observed some heartfelt kindness from you fellow bloggers! In Crackerberries' post about Quiet Time she put the link to her friend Rachel's post who grew up suffering from Selective Mutism. Everybody headed over there and left a thoughtful comment. 

I'm  glad to be part of this community, thank you, guys!

Do you agree that you can catch more Flies with Honey than you can with Vinegar?

Have you done or received a random act of kindness recently? 

Tell me about it below and please include the link to your post, so I can visit back.

Now enjoy your day and be back tomorrow, bright and early because The early Bird catches the Worm!


  1. Online spaces are hard to navigate especially in these times
    Here from atoz https://poojapriyamvada.blogspot.com/2021/04/vaitrishnya-newnormal-a2z.html

  2. How often we forget that we can make this world a beautiful place with little effort from our side... Sigh!
    I don't follow any religion, yet I labelled muslim since I was born to muslim parents. Our dilemma of people accusing of us not belonging to a country we are born is really very disturbing, but fortunately, it is just a faction of people who think so and not all.

  3. Oh, I LOVE that story about the kids and the balloons. I might have to steal it to talk about on my blog at some point if you don't mind? It's too good not to share further.

    And I'm totally on the honey side of the fence.

  4. The balloon story is perfect. Thank you for sharing it.
    My favourite phrase is :Kindness is always possible. I live by it and luckily, a lot of kindness comes my way too:)

  5. I loved the balloon tale, it was so beautiful. Mindless begins with smiles and they are absolutely free


  6. An at of kindness - Yesterday, spouse was in a drugstore at the checkout and someone at the next checkout said to him "sir, you dropped a card on the floor". It was his credit card. Much appreciated! We've done that kind of "you've dropped something", also. One never knows when you will need a bit of kindness in your life.

  7. I use this expression quite a bit because, as you explain, folks tend to go for the vinegar first -- when honey would do the job, and more nicely.

  8. I love that balloon story. What a great way to illustrate his point. I do believe in this one. I think putting kindness out in the world is the better option. As part of my happiness "homework" I try to do a random act of kindness each week. Weekends In Maine

  9. I've never really thought I acted out this saying but have had several people over the years tell me that they know when things are really bad at work because my smile gets bigger and I'm quick to tell the incoming shift that everything is good. I also had someone write it on a 360degree appraisal - they said that I definitely use the method of catching more bees with honey.

  10. Sometimes it's sticky to dish the honey, but it's always a win.

  11. Hello my hockey mom friend... I am so far behind on my comments and reading. Omigosh. Thank you for the shout out for my friend Rach. I wish I could do more for her, she just lost her mom about 7 weeks ago and she is sad sad. And I'm trying to be upbeat for my daughter because she PREGGO...and I'm gonna be a GRANNY not just a step-granny (although I know equally important just not the same). And the flies with honey and that group you are in.... don't tell me how to join I would get kicked out for sure. I do not know when to keep quiet and I can tell you the sheriff's dept. has been here no less than 26 times in the past 5 years because our grumpy old neighbor doesn't find the humor in my humor. Always just a talking to mind you, no tickets, no arrests, nothing of that but gees do people not know how to take a joke for goodness sakes. I will have to share about the Cedar trees (if I haven't already) ... that will make a good post. I sure hope we can keep encouraging each other long after the challenge ends. You and I think a lot on the same wave length.


    PS I promise I will catch up.... this venture has me busy as a bee in honey.


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