Although being kind is subjective, there is, in general, substantial overlap between everyone’s definition. I will be giving my definition of kindness throughout this article.
Being nice is one of the three main attributes to social success. When I think about why I enjoy being around other people, one of the attributes I consider is how kind they are. Kindness is used as a guide for others to gauge how much they want to interact with you. Nobody likes hanging out or working with the jerk. For the rest of the post, I will be giving basic tips on how to be nicer, and more importantly, how to stay nice.
The main points of being kind:
- Be genuine
- Offer to help others
- Reduce gossiping
Being genuine is one of the most sustainable ways of being nice. What I mean by that is, if you are giving a compliment, holding the door, or helping someone load their truck, do it because you want to! Start getting into the mindset of not expecting a trade off just for helping someone else. When helping someone pick up something that they’ve dropped, you shouldn’t be adding that into a list of points; you are doing it because you want to!
You can practice being genuine even without other people there. Your goal should be to make the world a slightly better place. After going to the grocery store, take the extra 30 seconds to push your cart back into the cart corral. As you walk around and see some litter that you can pick up, do it! How I think about it is, if I were a cart boy or janitor it would be nice if my job was easier because someone thought to help me even just a little. Now I am not saying to clean everything in sight, or push every cart into their designated areas. I AM saying to do whatever you can just to make it a little bit easier on someone else, or just for the betterment of the environment.
You will find that the more self driven actions you take, the more natural it becomes.
Another point of being kind is to start offering help to others more often. I have found people are more likely to accept your help if you say, “Can I help you?” rather than, “Do you need any help?”
The former question injects you directly into the situation of helping the person, whereas the latter question, the person has to “give up” and accept the help.
It is very likely that you are capable to help people everywhere you go. An easy example would be going to the grocery store. If you see someone elderly (or struggling) with putting something into their car, offering to help can greatly reduce their struggle.
Essentially, try to avoid the “bystander effect.” The bystander effect is when people are less likely to help someone because other people are around. I have personally experienced this, and I am glad that I was able to react. There have been times when I have been out with friends, and I see someone fall pretty hard. Instead of asking if they needed help from a distance, I quickly went over to them with my hand extended offering my assistance while my peers watched from the distance. The extended hand injects your help directly, and proving that you truly are there without them asking. Whether they take it or not is up to them.
I empathize by thinking about when I’ve fallen. It can be embarrassing, and I think it would be nice if I had someone there to help me get back on my feet. So I do the same for them.
The combination of being genuine and helping others is very powerful. The more you practice those two skills, the easier it becomes to think of other people.
Lastly, reducing the amount of gossip you participate in is another way of being nice. Gossip tends to just be strictly negative, and usually it is with a group of people, so a negative environment is being developed. The phrase, “If that’s what they say about that person when they’re not around, what do they say about you when you aren’t around?” holds true.
By reducing the amount of time around gossip, you’re going to shift your thoughts to be more positive towards other people.
Everything mentioned above is not hard to accomplish. I am not asking for you to clean up the world, or to never say no. However, you CAN do your part as a human and practice being better.
Practice makes perfect. Practice good habits of grabbing the door for others. Practice complimenting people. Practice offering your help. Practice being nice.