Illustration: Jen Troyer

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There is a tiny, terrible moment of satisfaction in being rude to a stranger. Sure, why not? Strangers will never have to be held accountable for ruining your day—not the woman who was so nasty in the grocery store line that you almost wept into your arugula, not the driver of the luxury sports car who cut you off, gave you the finger and set your heart racing nervously for next hour. No matter how many times you go over in your head how wrong this stranger was, it’s not like you can convince a person to retract their rudeness. Chances are, they don’t even remember the slight that spun you off course. So stop delivering zingers to the windshield on the drive home, and the next time a waiter scowls at your order, or a huffy man lets a door slam in your face, you remember your Plato: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

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