1. The things you are really passionate about.
How could you not want to pay attention to the things that people are passionate about? We spend so much of our time just going back-and-forth on small talk, rarely touching on a subject that either party feels particularly interested in. And then, like opening up a centuries-old treasure chest of diamonds and gold coins and poorly-written erotic fan fiction, they’ve suddenly found something wonderful! When you love something, your whole being changes. Your face lights up, your body language is more expressive, and you are moved to near-sobbing at the idea of someone actually taking the time to listen to all the things you have so many bubbling, glittering feels about. When someone asks you why you love that comic book or this band or that sport so much — and actually takes the time to learn about it — you know you’ve found a winner.
2. The subjects that are more sensitive for you.
There is a difference between accidentally opening a conversation about something that you aren’t really cool with talking about, and taking a handful of organic sea salt and rubbing into the gaping emotional wound every time you’re together. And if you aren’t into sexist jokes, or talking about a lost friend, or going over painful money issues — a good person will not make you go into it again and again. They won’t squawk across the night sky with the mating call of the unrepentant asshole, “Don’t be so sensitive about it.” They’ll just be cool, and talk about one of the literally limitless other topics you can address. Because they’re not terrible.
3. What you think is most beautiful about yourself.
If you are constantly styling your hair, and doing your very best to make it look good and stand out, people notice that shit. It’s obvious. Someone who is always playing up one feature about themselves is most likely proud of said feature and pleased at the idea of others noticing it more than the rest of them. Perhaps they’re even insecure about other aspects of their appearance, and hope to distract by showing off their big, blue eyes or their elegant, long penis. Either way, when we tell someone how good that thing they’re proud of looks, it basically feels like being butterfly kissed by Jesus himself. It’s that tingly feeling of validation and affection that everyone wants, at least a little bit, and it’s not at all hard to give. Generic compliments are whatever, compliments that are clearly based on the individual and what stands out about them are wonderful.
4. When you put in effort.
It is a natural response, when you try really hard at something — be it a project or at work or looking really fancy for a date night — to get a “good job” and a pat on the head. We all turn into particularly needy dogs and roll over until someone, anyone, scratches our belly and tells us that we were a good puppy. Someone who acknowledges when you go the extra mile, and even tells you what it is that you did well, is someone who knows the very animal, very effective wonder that is positive reinforcement.
5. When you want to get out of a situation.
There will come a moment for all of us, at one point or another, when we are made viscerally, painfully uncomfortable in some kind of a social situation. Whether people are being nasty to us, or the music is too loud and too Pitbull-dependent, or we’ve had a bit too much to drink and just need to lay down and watch our poor decisions spin around us as we close our eyes — it is bound to happen. And a good person is the kind who will pick up on your body language, your pained expression, and your withdrawal from the group to ask if things are okay. Even if they don’t want to leave as well, they’ll make sure you get home safely or at least know you have someone that you can talk to if you’re feeling overwhelmed. They don’t ever let you hang out there and feel like a lone windsock, flapping in the unforgiving breeze. (And you do the same for them.)
6. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, and what that actually means.
A good person will know the difference (introverts can have very busy lives, extroverts can work at home). They will know that it all has to do with where you draw your energy, and what drains you. And even if they aren’t going to adapt their entire lives to fit your emotional needs, they aren’t going to bombard you with comments along the lines of, “Why can’t you just go out and have fun like everyone else?” or “Why do you always need to talk to people — are you that desperate for attention?” They try to find a balance, because their life’s mission isn’t to make you feel badly about being who you are.
7. That you are a multi-faceted human being.
The most important thing that any good person will notice, at the end of the day, is that you are just a regular person, with flaws and successes and dreams and fears. You are not a manic pixie dream girl who is here to save them, you are not a knight in shining armor who has no weaknesses of his own, and you’re not a comic book character that they have constructed in their own minds out of their favorite qualities you possess. Whatever mold they could force you into, you would eventually break and disappoint. And a good person knows, right off the bat, that you’re not just a sidekick to their adventure — you’re living your own story, too.