You Get More Flies With Honey…

I’m sure you have heard the expression, “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar”. What this essentially means is that if you are sweet and kind, people will be attracted to you, and you will most likely get the response you want…and if you are sour, you will get the opposite response. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is the truth! In my life I have experienced many, many examples of this truth.

I will now tell you about a situation that happened recently to prove this point.

This past summer, our Casita was broken into. Between the damage and the theft, we experienced a pretty hefty loss. When we called to report this, we were impressed that a police officer and a detective came out. They took prints, swabbed for DNA, and took a thorough report. We were so happy that these people seemed to be all over this. We were very hopeful that they were going to find the thief and justice would be served. We really had no expectations of having our monetary loss replaced, but we were hopeful that we would take a thief off the streets and eliminate this happening to someone else.

Well, our optimism that anything would ever come of this investigation soon dwindled. I kept calling the detective, and she kept telling me she was busy with “higher priority” cases. I felt like I was taking the lead on this case instead of her department doing their job: I was the one who continually followed up. I emailed her all the information she asked for, and kept a log. In turn, she requested that my husband and I drive down to the station (45 minutes each way) for additional items they needed…instead of her coming to our home.

My patience with the Burglary Task Force’s lack of follow through lasted longer than my husband’s did. Five months after the break-in, the fingerprints that they collected were finally submitted. Why in the world did they not submit them that day? I was tired of being shoved to the back burner. I was tired of having to chase justice. I was fed up with being inconvenienced when we were the ones who were robbed. I felt like the justice system was a total joke. I was done being nice and waiting and hoping something would ever come of this…so I wrote a not-too-nice email to the head detective.

Guess what? Although the investigation was pretty much going nowhere…I was getting more flies with honey. After I sent the email, I never heard from the detective ever again. I figured that would be the case. My hopes of them ever following through and catching the guy was lost long before I wrote the email. So I felt like I had nothing to lose. But, this story does prove my point, in that I was at least getting my calls returned when I was being patient and sweet…and the minute I became bitter and sour, I’m sure the police report and our file ended up in the trash.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Things are going well as long as you are being sweet and kind, but as soon as you reveal your frustrations, things make a turn for the worst? So are we supposed to continue to be sweet and patient while we are being taken advantage of? Are we supposed to voice our feelings, even if that means shooting ourselves in the foot? There has to be a balance of self respect and respect of others in all of this. We can’t sit back and politely be taken advantage of, and we can’t act sweetly fake to get what we want. What are your thoughts?

Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s be sweet and kind. If we feel someone is not treating us well, let’s handle it with grace and use our words wisely instead of saying something mean out of frustration and anger. Let’s find the balance of setting healthy boundaries so we are not taken advantage of!

Because Together is Better,


  1. Deanna, this is so true. I think that the balance is the key. If you are able to step back, reassess and reframe before taking any steps it can be very helpful. If you can remove the emotion from the situation, put yourself in the shoes of the other party and use that as a tool to figure out your approach it not only gives you a fresh perspective but also stops your own emotion controlling your actions. I do love your closing statement too!

  2. Wonderful post – great reminder. I try to remember to “treat people as I would like to be treated”. It doesn’t mean to be a pushover – but to explain my position firmly, but kindly. Fingers crossed you get a resolution to your case!

  3. Dear Deanna,

    I think your point is great about still being sweet like honey, but not taking rubbish from people and still saying what you want to say if something is not right! Otherwise if you don’t speak up how could they ever learn and how could you be of service? The balance is that if you say it rudely to them all they end up with is thinking you are rude and not realising their mistake. It is so beneficial to others if we can stay positive whilst saying what we need to. And of course it is much more beneficial to us to remain sweet with our words so we keep our mind and emotions where we want them! Lots of love xxx

    • These are really great points Jennifer. If we are nasty to people, they will continue to do what they do, and feel justified in doing it. There has to be a balance and we must honor our values. Thank you for your wise words. -Deanna

  4. I agree with everyone who believes that sweet and nice is better, but only as long as that is what is honest for you. I try to be nice because nice feels better for me. It also feels better for me when others whom are dealing with me are nice. I believe that you can ask for what you want and do it in a way that is respectful. No need to be nasty but do be honest.

  5. Hi Deanna,

    That is a tough situation. My response is that our values should always dictate how we speak. Other people’s actions really shouldn’t have any impact. Easy to say, very hard to do. I’m not always successful in this but I try really hard.

    • Susan, I love your words of wisdom here. Yes, our values should always dictate how we speak. I find that when I say my peace in a respectful way I always feel better after the fact. When we say things out of frustration and anger, it doesn’t feel good after. I appreciate you being here! -Deanna

  6. This was one of my mother’s favorite sayings, and I tend to be a positive and optimistic gal, extremely empathic and attuned. I do, however, find that a little tough love, especially with my daughter, can have a greater impact than sweetness. The other ingredient here is butter – you know, butter someone up?? Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great post. One of my favorite quotes that I heard recently is “I will not dim my light to meet your darkness. Instead I will shine mine so bright so as to inspire you to brighten yours.”

  8. I grew up in a family where everyone threw their anger at others indiscriminately. I hated it! I became a person who was unfailingly nice, sometimes to a fault. I had to learn that expressing a need didn’t mean getting angry. I completely agree with you that being polite and using honey gets us further, but that doesn’t mean being false. That was the difference I had to learn. I find selfish anger so repelling, and I don’t want to use it with others either.

    • Judy, thank you for sharing from your childhood. I do not like it when people yell in anger…I find it repelling as well. I appreciate you being here and being so wise! -Deanna

  9. Wow, thank you for sharing your personal experience. I love how positive you are. Sometimes other people cannot rise up to be more positive because of negative emotions or DNA strings holding them back. I was that person several years ago. I know we can change because I did. There was a day I would have balked at this post, but today I LOVE it! Thank you Deanna for yet another great post!

    • Thank you so much Loretta! I always love when you are here to Read, Grow, and Share with me! I love that you are living proof that someone can take a vinegar attitude and turn it into a honey attitude…so powerful! I appreciate your wise words! -Deanna

  10. This “event” speaks much more to the broken justice system in our country than to your justifiable and well penned letter to that worthless investigator. Cops are great… if you want a traffic ticket, not so if you need justice. Having personally been on the victim side of crimes like this numerous times, I have had the displeasure and frankly, disbelief of the consistent ineptitude of our police, investigators, judges and juries. Criminals in this country simply “get away with it”, Period. Our fine country could take a lesson from so many other places in the world… You murder – you die, you steal – your hand is removed, rape – castration. You get my point. Our government encourages illicit and illegal behavior by virtue of assuring a complete lack of concern for punishment.
    My 2 cents.

  11. Vicki Bezio says:

    Wow! This is a tough one for me. I have such a hard time with this very issue myself. Finding that balance between what being nice and being fed up is hard. The struggle is real. You had little to no chance of getting resolution in your case, so I would just move on. It’s when you could have been nice and weren’t… so now the resolution you could have gotten is lost to you… <–this situation sucks!

    • You are right Vicki, this is a hard one, but one that people face every day. I agree, that when we realize the issue will not be resolved, that it is healthy to move on. Hanging on to the negativity serves no one! Thank you for your wise words. -Deanna

    • Getting a satisfactory resolution to a criminal act against her should not be contingent in her being ‘sweet’. Being ‘sweet’ got her no where. Not being ‘sweet’ got her no where. What ever makes you think keeping on being ‘sweet’ would have helped? The police should have taken her concerns seriously from the start, but they didn’t because she was being ‘sweet’. (That’s called being patronized’.) Then she was dismissed altogether for not being ‘sweet’ because she was not playing the role society has for women: that of being ‘sweet’ rather than being credible and capable. I notice that all the advocates for sweetness on this site are female. How many men are in to being ‘sweet’? How many men are required to be “sweet” to be heard????

  12. I think your point of finding the balance is great. Too much honey when you are really upset inside doesn’t get us anywhere either. But finding the words that meet your needs as well as repecting the other person will be real and hopefully honored.

  13. Sometimes its good to be patient and cordial even if you are burning up on the inside. You never know in the future where the patience will lead to.

  14. Deanna, Thanks again for a wonderful lesson and a real life example. I appreciate you sharing. I completely understand the frustration, have been there many times before – it does seem that work ethic these days isn’t what it used to be, that really disappoints me. I find myself also getting angry when it seems that people just don’t care and I’m practically doing their job for them… I hope that you still end up getting some answers soon! Just want to say, that I think it was right for you to not accept being walked over, but like you said, finding the balance in how to handle it with the frustration you felt can be so tricky! 🙁 Maybe a follow up phone call (after careful consideration of what you want to say and how you’ll say it) would help put things into perspective for the police department…. Your advice, stories and wisdom is MUCH appreciated! xoxo

    • Thank you Amber for your wise words here! There is a fine line in these types of situations. Sometimes it is hard to rise above and be the better person. I clearly failed at this…but I did keep my boundaries and self respect…it was just not received well. I appreciate you reading and growing with me. -Deanna

  15. Dov Shapira says:

    This is so very true.
    We all need to practice it often, then, it grows on you

  16. The way we speak to one another is so very important and I agree with you, but I doubt I would have been able to back down or be really nice in this situation. 🙂

    • Daniele, I agree with you. When I feel like I am not being treated fairly, I am not as nice as I should be. We are human, and learning and growing each day. I appreciate your comment. -Deanna

  17. Sorry to hear about this horrible event…but you are right, it does help to be kinder.

    Yvonne Brown

  18. i’m so impressed that you followed up on the situation, most people like myself would have gotten frustrated but never have done anything.

    • Thank you Jessica, although you read that it got me nowhere. Sometimes we have to weigh the outcomes. In this case, I knew I had nothing to lose. Thank you for being here! -Deanna

  19. There are times when it’s hard to be “sweet”. When I write a letter, I write exactly what I want to say, perhaps even with some expletives. Then, I rewrite the letter. Having vented all of my anger and frustration, I am able be “sweet”.

    • Meli, that is great advice! My email was not rude with bad language or anything…it just was very to the point. Lots of lessons here! I appreciate your comment! -Deanna

  20. I can see why you were so upset and it’s a shame they didn’t respond knowing this. I’ve heard it’s a very violating feeling to have your home broken into.

    • Thank you Marjory. Yes it is an awful feeling, especially when you realize the thief will get away with it! Thank you for your wise words. -Deanna

  21. Wow! I really needed to see this today. Thank you very much for putting this out there.

  22. I find it hard to not express my feelings when upset, so thank you for sharing this important story.

  23. I’m sorry you had to go through this and it’s understandable where you were coming from. A great lesson for us all here.

  24. Very well written. You always have to pressure people into doing their jobs it seems. All kinds of different ways to do it.

  25. I am always telling my kids it is HOW you say things. They are entitled to their opinions and feeling and they can say the same thing to people but in a nicer way.

  26. That is a very good point, you will always get further in life being nice, even in bad situation. The justice system doesn’t always work in our favor, which is a terrible thing, they should have different depts to handle different situations, so they don’t have to prioritize..hopefully justice will be served!

    • I agree Donna, that we get further in life if we are nice. I usually am nice, this just sent me over the top. I appreciate you being here! -Deanna

  27. That is terrible.. and to tell you that you are at the bottom is even worse.. This has not happened to me, but if it did i would lose my patience very fast..

    • Robert, I pride myself on having a long fuse. It really takes a lot to get me upset, but when I feel we like I am getting the run-around I lost it. A good lesson for me! -Deanna

  28. I am so sorry that happened to you. I am not very patient with blatant incompetence such as that of the detective’s but I do understand that it’s better to be nice than get irritated with them


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