Join Me

Happy Thursday. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve joined a cult and I want you to join too. If you’re reading this sentence it means that the previous one didn’t have you running from the computer screaming in terror. That’s a good start.

It’s not really a cult, though. More of a collective. Mass suicide is frowned upon, and there are no turquoise shell suits. Before I get too far I want to note that some of you already know all about this collective and appear not to have joined. Shame on you.

Anyway, here’s the deal. This bloke named Danny Wallace started a collective for no reason. He was bored and that’s the sort of thing he does when he’s bored. But once people had joined his collective they kind of expected that there was some point to the whole thing. There wasn’t, so Danny had to come up with a point to it all.

What he came up with was Random Acts of Kindness. Every Friday (called Good Fridays) members of the collective, now calling themselvesᾰexcuse me, ourselvesᾰthe Karma Army, do something random to make someone’s day/week/life better. It could be something as simple as giving your seat to someone on a train (actually you should probably be doing this already), or buying a stranger a cup of coffee. Or it could be something bigger. It’s up to you.

In Danny’s words:

People are essentially good. I know that now, beyond any shadow of a doubt, no matter what I read or see on TV.

Thing is, there’s this strange social barrier that every country now seems to have. We may see people struggling in the street with something heavy, and, fair enough, part of our brain will always make us want to go over and help. But somehow, being nice has gone from being second nature, to being fifth or sixth. We don’t go and help, because we’re afraid of being seen as weird, or eccentric, or as a potential mugger, or as an American tourist trying to find a new best friend (I don’t know which is more terrifying). Instead, we walk off, and we simply forget about it.

But my joinees – my proud and noble followers – have shown me that it’s possible to break that barrier down. And not just possible, but easy. If you feel you’ve an excuse for doing something nice, no matter how vague or silly, then it becomes far, far easier. If you can treat it almost as a joke, almost like you’re playing a cheeky prank on someone, you can be nice with almost no embarrassment whatsoever. It’s like a live version Candid Camera, but one in which the victim actually benefits.

There are now over 12,000 joinees all over the world. And there’s a book about it of course (Join Me by Danny Wallace, surprisingly enough). If nothing else the book is well worth the read.

If you think this sounds like a good idea, you can find out how to join from the official website.