The “Thank You” Theory

The day has come. Thanksgiving 2018!

Let’s all come together, fuel as much calories as possible for the hard and long winter ahead and eventually, let’s think about the things we are grateful for:

And frankly, I’m kind of grateful for my patience and benevolence lately… a lot!

The number of people, yelling at, honking and offending me, while I’m just out there riding some bicycles, runs straight towards infinity.
Both, pedestrians and car drivers, seem to become more and more impatient and furious about the tiniest bit of things.
Close passes to block the cycling lane ahead and not leaving enough space on a shared pathway are standard ever since.
And on top of that, people let their anger and rage run wild more often…

„ Wrong side, sucker!“


„Ride on the road / Ride on the pathway, idiot!“


„You’re not allowed to ride here / You’re not allowed to ride there / You’re not allowed to ride at all, twit!“


-pedestrians and car drivers, anytime, anywhere

…and usually, I let my anger run wild, too!

The truth is, I can’t stand to be yelled at, not to mention getting offended by strangers!
Someone yells at me, I yell back at someone. Someone pushes me, I push someone back.

I know, I know, I know…

Stupid, right? Maybe…

But, as long as I can remember, this has kind of been my natural first reaction to getting offended.
Maybe it’s part of my character, maybe it’s how it goes, maybe I just like to do it…

And you know why ?

It feels good to yell at and insult people, who did the same to you for no reason!
That’s just fair! I’m a fair person…

However, shouting and insulting back at strangers doesn’t satisfy me, the way it used to!
More and more strangers on the road as well as on the pathway seem to not care anymore.

It’s like…

„ I shouted at you, I offended you for no reason, and you just did the same to me! I totally understand that. We’re both weird, are we? It’s just fair, have a good day!“


-hip, insulting and shouting citizens in 2018

Wait, what?

So, that’s how it’s supposed to be nowadays?

Standard strangers start reflecting on their social interaction and except an opponent’s offending reaction to their offending act as … fair?

I get mad, when someone yells at me. People are supposed to get mad, when someone yells at them. That’s just the normal reaction to an offending act.

What’s wrong with people these days?

The signs are clear, change is needed.

And, in order to successfully get people mad and angry again, whenever I get mad and angry about them, I spent days and weeks in the laboratory, trying to figure out a brand new way of social interaction in situations like this.

Eventually, I found the spark that ignited the bulb above my head :

Friends, it’s the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the season of peace, being grateful for friends, families and the ones you love. It’s the time of year, we start lighting candles to create warmth and care…right?

Here’s how I’m going to light up candles in everyone’s heads, who’s offending and yelling at me:

„ Thank you, friend!“


„That was the greatest close pass ever, good job!“


„Would you kindly share the latest news? Oh, you’re just texting irrelevant stuff on your smartphone?  That’s okay, go ahead. Well done!”


„That’s a really nice horn! Thank you for proving to me, that it’s still working!”


„Thank you, Thank you, Thank you“



-participants of the Thank – You – Theory

Maybe I’m going to add some sort of gesture, like the „Thumbs up“ signal or short clapping to underline the peaceful intention of it.
„High Fives“ would be great too, but it still needs a lot of further testing to be approved, we’ll see how this one turns out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a huge goal.
It’s surely going to take a while, until the “Thank You” Theory can be proven of being successful.
First tests in real life conditions went horribly wrong and I fell back into old patterns, really, really quick.

But, once I figure out the trick of how to not shout back at everyone, who is getting me mad, this is going to be the most kind and peaceful interaction I’ve ever committed…

…and of course, I can’t wait to see the confusion in everyone’s faces!


What about you? What’s your first reaction, when getting offended by strangers?





+++The blogpost “The Thank You Theory” first appeared on +++


  1. Oh my god, I wish you posted this sooner! I got in an argument with a VERY nasty man at the weekend who overtook me very close, then braked right in front of me! He was angry that I was cycling in the middle of the road…. I had JUST turned a corner onto a street with a parked car, so I was avoiding the parked car…. I’m not 100% sure what exactly he was annoyed about, but that was as much as I got from him before I told him I have as much right to use the road as him … which welcomed more abuse *sigh*

    I honestly wish I’d said ‘Thank you’ or something when he tried intimidating me in the first instance rather than try to stick up for myself and try the useless tactic of giving some abuse back…. Lesson learned.

    The best thing I got out of that experience was 6 people stopped to intervene while he harassed and frightened me. For one nasty person there’s always 6 kind strangers who will be right there for you if you need them!

    • Hi Kate! I’m not sure, if there’s a best solution for situations like this.
      Usually, when someone tries to block me, I try to get around the car, person or whatever and just ride on. There’s no sense in starting a conversation with people like this…
      I think, you were really lucky to have some kind strangers around.
      For the majority of cases, there’s no one around or worse, so I’d say, it’s best to get away as soon as possible…
      But that’s just my experience!

      However, thanks for reading and replying, Kate!
      Hope, you’ll be riding bicycles again soon though!

  2. […] The “Thank You” Theory […]

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