You've probably said it yourself or heard it. People have often said that there's just too much negative news and negative comments these days; Can anyone just say something nice? We wanted to put that to the test. We heard about a group of New Yorkers who did just that, so FOX19 decided to try the experiment here in the Queen City.
We asked people to say something, anything, as long as it was nice, and they had to do it in public.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have said that thinking positively can mean a longer life, less chance of depression, and better well-being overall. What better way to get people to think positively than by saying something nice?
One morning, we headed to Fountain Square, set up a podium, stuck two signs on it that asked people to say something nice. We then set out a megaphone and moved our camera to secretly catch the action.
Minutes later, one woman walked up and shared a testimony about the Welcome House, a homeless shelter, in Covington. She said that she was once homeless and received help there.
We were sure that message would inspire someone else to say something nice, but we waited and waited as those passing by just stared, chuckled, and took pictures, but remained quiet-- until a group of young people stopped. One guy in the group said a few words.
In two hours, only two people said something nice. We left downtown and headed uptown to the University of Cincinnati. The fun began within seconds.
One girl walked up to the podium and said a few words. She then walked away proudly. She set off a chain reaction of positive comments. Some people were shy while others, after figuring out how to use the megaphone, freely complimented the crowd.
The crowd then became involved. People standing nearby clapped and cheered after someone built up the nerve to say something-- meaning the complimenter left with a smile as large as those she or he had just complimented.
Within an hour, dozens of people stepped up and spoke out. We wondered why the stark difference in numbers from those participating uptown versus downtown. We met up with Lisa Desatnik for the answer. Desatnik's hobby is spreading happiness.
"Probably on Fountain Square you're dealing with people that are in between their way somewhere so they're focused in a different direction," said Desatnik. "It kind of makes sense that they would be more apt to stop and talk to you on a college campus."
The Tri-State native has developed the "Good Things Pledge."
"It's just a reminder to see the good around you," said Desatnik. "And to walk tall and to not be afraid to fall and to just be kind to others because every small little act has a huge impact."
She created it about a year ago, and hundreds have signed up. She believes we all need a little reminder to be nice to others and brighten someone's day.
FYI: We never told the people who said something nice about the experiment. We wanted to keep it authentic, and not ruin the experience for the next person.