Kind people are my favorite people–those who take the extra step to brighten up a stranger or friend’s day and expect nothing in return. I believe in the act of paying it forward; when someone presents you with an act of kindness, it is your responsibility to give one to someone else. Here are my top ten ways to be kinder in our everyday lives.
Too many people use the excuse of having a permanent “resting bitch face” as to why they look perpetually angry. However, there is an easy cure: smiling. Nothing brightens a person’s day more than receiving a smile from the person whose eye they just caught. As an added bonus, studies show that smiling lifts our mood and helps us appear more attractive to others. Win-win.
2. Hold the door open
Especially if someone’s hands are full. It won’t even take a minute extra of your time.
3. Show up on time
If we intentionally show up late it’s either because we’re embarrassed to be the first one there, or we’re still under the presumption that it’s glamorous to be “fashionably late.” In both of these situations we are disregarding the feelings of the person hosting the gathering. Whether it’s to a party, date, or even a class, the person you have waiting feels insignificant and just plain insulted.
4. Compliment others
You don’t need to be friends with someone to tell them you like their outfit or hairstyle. For the rest of the day, they’ll feel satisfied knowing that at least one person acknowledged their effort.
5. Strike up a conversation with an employee
As someone who used to work the mindless job of a cashier, I can confirm that workers appreciate any attempt at a small talk from customers–even if it’s as trivial as a comment about the weather.
6. Bite your tongue
Next time you’re surrounded by people bad-mouthing others whom you may or may not know, don’t feel compelled to join in. It may be tempting to insert your own similar opinion or even nod in agreement, but first consider how you would feel on the other side.
7. Tip generously
If you received excellent service at a restaurant, show your gratitude.
8. Check in with your loved ones
Sometimes I become so preoccupied with my own life that I go weeks without contacting my friends and family. Give yourself a time, whether it’s once a week or everyday, where you call your loved ones to see how they’re doing along with just reminding them that they’re in your thoughts.
9. Use your manners
This one goes back to elementary school. When people help you, you owe them a thank you. It’s that simple.
10. Be kind to someone you dislike
Chances are when you dislike someone, they know. When I was younger, if I was not a fan of someone I would either disregard them entirely or just give them curt responses. Now, while I definitely do not claim to like everyone, I do dismiss feelings of ill will for the sake of holding a normal conversation. Ironically, this has led me to realize that the reasons I thought I had to dislike certain people were actually baseless and petty.
Once you form the habit of acting kinder, it will become second nature and you’ll no longer even think twice about it. Call me cliche but I’m optimistic that if everyone implements these simple suggestions, we’ll create a more compassionate society overall.