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Being kind can be a little difficult in todays day and age. More people seem to be obsessed with themselves rather than being kind to others. Due to recent events, it might be more appropriate to almost demand more from ourselves to be reach out, and be kind to others, than it is for us to expect it from them.
A simple act of kindness can go a long way.
1. Be Kind By Putting Down The Damn Phone
Nothing, and I mean nothing in this world is ruder than someone who is attached to the cell phone.
Honestly, every time I’m with someone, and I hear it go off, I cringe. My home is a cell phone free place. When you come in, that phone better be turned off, and if it isn’t, well, you will be asked politely, but firmly, to leave. That may be harsh, but at the same time, if someone comes over, you want them to spend time with you.
There are so many reasons why the phone is bad for people in general. However, the biggest one of them is that it is blatantly rude. If all you’re going to do is sit with someone on your phone and never talk to the person… then you don’t have a relationship or a friendship. You have a nonverbal agreement to sit next to a person and play on your phone.
There is so much that is missed when you don’t have the phone in your face, and you’re not obsessing over an altered reality. You’ll be present with the person, see them, get to know them, and understand that they are a living being. Not just some strange augmented reality thing.
2. Be Kind By Smiling
It’s crazy, because most people will think smiling at a random person is weird. And, ok, sometimes it is. But, let’s think about this, when was the last time you saw someone and they smiled, and you smiled right back?
Smiling makes people feel good about themselves and it makes you feel good. It’s a lot of fun And, more importantly, it tells people that not only do you notice them, but it’s a highly contagious act, just like a yawn, only happier.
3. Be Kind By Making Eye Contact
This is a sign that you are truly listening, and engaged in a person and what they say. It’s also an indication that you’re noticing them if you haven’t spoken to them yet. It’s really neat when you’re talking to a friend and you suddenly make eye contact with someone across the room. That contact gives you a moment of connection that is appealing. It can show a sense of appreciation, understanding, and interest.
Everyone says the eyes are the window the human soul, and really, it’s true. We all know this, but next time, you talk to someone, look into their eyes (not in some creepy way) but really look at them. And as you look at them, experience the vibe you get from them. It’s kinda cool, because if you do this, you can really begin to understand and see a person. Like their very essence.
4. Be Kind By Truly Listening
I’m just gonna say it right now. There have been more cases of misunderstanding because people didn’t pay attention to what the other person said or read than anything else.
People have this horrible habit of hearing or reading into something without actually reading or hearing it. There have been many situations where I have said – to a persons face – while they were looking at me – something, and the next day they would tell me I had never said that.
*Facepalm* Or, people read with misconceived notions or preconceived notions and suddenly a world war breaks out. My favorite is when people pass around a breaking news story – that happened five years ago – because they refuse to read.
The problem with not truly listening is that you aren’t hearing what is actually being said. Now, to be fair, if you are like me, and a person who prefers someone being blunt rather than subtle – sometimes you have to tell people – look, I realize you’re trying to spare my feelings but please give me either a yes or no.
However, what we’re seeing in our world today is the fact that people are too busy to truly listen to what someone is saying. By taking the moment to truly listen to what someone is saying – you are telling them that they are important and their feelings are valid.
It’s an amazing thing.
5. Be Kind By Speaking Positive Things
This is the hardest one, because people are really hard on themselves. Yes, I know, if I had to tell you a hard cold truth, yes, I would admit, that I’m insanely hard on myself. And… I suspect you might be also.
Maybe you’re looking around and seeing things that other people have that you don’t. You’re trying to keep up with the Joneses – so to speak. Or, maybe you’re trying really hard to focus on something that everyone says will never happen. Or, maybe you do something that we all do … you focus on all the bad things about yourself.
Or maybe you find yourself watching the news and then complaining about something. You might watch with horror as something unfolds, but at the same time, you find yourself growing angry and suddenly negative things come out of your mouth.
Things like, “that’s so stupid….” Or “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard…” And so forth…
And the truth is, it’s fine to have an opinion, everyone has one, but here’s the thing, when you speak negative things, it becomes a virus, and nobody wants to spend time with you. It’s like going on a first date and the first thing the person says is, “let’s get married.” Yeah… that’s when you run.
6. Be Kind By Checking Up On People
This is kind of a hard one and an interesting one. Checking up on people, isn’t as creepy as it sounds. You’re not Facebook stalking people.
Picture it, summer time, and it’s a heat wave. It’s hotter than you ever felt it. But, you’re okay, because you have air conditioning. But, what about your elderly neighbor?
Or, when was the last time you visited your friends? Or some elderly people at an Assisted Living Home or checked up on your friend who was having a really rough time? Believe it or not, it really does mean a lot to people, because you’re noticing them, and then they don’t feel forgotten.
Try it, I promise you that you will kinda like it!
7. Be Kind By Not Interrupting
Every time someone does this to me I cringe. But, I let the person talk because… well, I just wind up tuning them out. The reason is because if they don’t care what I’m saying, why should I care what they are saying?
See, by nature, I am a slow speaker. I have always struggled with stammering, or trying to come up with the right word on the spot. In podcasts I’m a lot better because it’s more scripted, but in real life, if I get interrupted I have to start all over.
Interrupting people tells the other person that you don’t care what they are saying, and what you are saying is more important. It’s rude, and unless there is a valid reason (the world ended, someone passed away, you’re about to get into an accident, you’re about to accidently run over someone or into something…) interrupting someone is not very nice.
You can almost always reference back to something the other person said. But to interrupt – and worst, “I don’t mean to interrupt, but… ” is the equivalent to saying “No offense.”
8. Be Kind By Holding The Door Open
I have no idea what it is now but I have noticed such a huge increase in people just letting the door slam in other peoples faces. That’s not very nice at all!
Instead of just walking through a door, if you see someone behind you, hold the door open. It’s a nice and pleasant surprise that is often very welcome to the other person. It’s a simple and nice gesture.
9. Be Kind By Cleaning Up After Yourself
This one is an interesting one, and my mother taught it to me. (Seeee Mom, you did teach me something. Haha.)
When you go anywhere, instead of leaving the place a mess, try to leave it as if you were never there. If you go out to eat and make a mess at least try to make it easier on the server or whoever has to clean up after you.
I get the idea that, “that’s their job” and “they have a broom” and “that’s what they get paid for…” but are they not deserving of kindness also?
My thought is this, it’s like you wait in a long line to go to the bathroom, and you finally get to a stall, but there is pee all over the seat. Gross. And you have a choice to either wait for another stall to open, straddle and go, or clean it up yourself.
Don’t be the person to leave the pee on the seat. Don’t be the person to leave a mess on the table. Don’t be the person who goes over to someone’s house and not at least offer to help with the dishes after you eat with them.
10. Be Kind By Paying For The Person Behind You
Confession! I’m notoriously tight with my money. I try not to get too extravagant because I don’t really “need” anything. Sometimes I do splurge – especially on something like this website or skincare – but for the most part, nope. And, I really don’t like just “throwing money away.”
But, it’s really neat when you pull up to a window and you’ve had a bad day, for the barista at Starbucks to say, “you’re order has been paid for.”
And, if you’re like me, that kind of gives you all the feels. If – and only if – you have the money to do so, try it. And, don’t think of it as a way to make other people feel good. Truthfully, it makes you feel good.
11. Be Kind By Randomly Telling Someone You’re Thinking Of Them
It’s a beautiful thing to let someone know, out of the blue, you are thinking of them. Sometimes you’ll be thinking about someone you haven’t seen for years, and wonder whatever happened to them.
Oddly enough, that might be what I call a mental telephone call. I don’t really know how it works, but it’s one of those things where you happen to think about someone, and within maybe twenty minutes that person shows up via text, phone or you accidently run into them. It’s so weird but it’s so cool.
However, what’s even better about it is that it’s something that when you think of them, maybe they want someone out there to reach out to them. And, when it’s totally unexpected it can be a beautiful moment of connection.
12. Be Kind By Doing The Unexpected
This is one of my favorites. When you’re out and about and you see something random that needs to be fixed, no matter how small, do it.
If there’s garbage on the sidewalk, and a nearby garbage can, lean down, pick up the item and toss it. Simple, and quick.
Another thing that can be done is watering a plant, or giving a flower to a stranger or a balloon to a kid. The important thing is that when you do it, you recognize that you’re doing it because it makes you happy – and you spread a little joy also.
13. Be Kind By Returning the Shopping Cart
If you’ve ever worked retail, at a big box store, or a grocery store you know that nothing is worse than running out and collecting all of the carts. And, you know it’s bad as a shopper when you’re looking everywhere for a cart, and can’t find one!
I am so guilty of this – and when I was much younger and worked at Home Depot, we got to run out and collect all of the carts. That was fun, but I always felt bad for the lot boys who had to go gather the carts in 101 degree weather, with the additional humidity.
The benefit of returning the shop cart isn’t to help the company. Let’s be real. The main reason is to not let your car get messed up, and a few extra steps isn’t going to kill you. It is actually good exercise.
It’s polite, and it’s so much easier for the workers there. I promise, you won’t regret it.
14. Be Kind By Being The One Who Shifts The Negative Conversation
You know there’s a hot button topic that everyone talks about that gets someone riled up. You know what it is, and you’ve heard all the arguments before.
The good news is you can shift that conversation very quietly and quickly. Some ways you can shift the conversation is by simply changing the subject, or making an apt observation about something around you.
It’s a nice distraction and sometimes it’s much needed.
15. Be Kind By Bringing Up Your Neighbors Garbage Can
Sometimes the nicest thing you can do for someone is help them out in an unexpected way. And, you always want to get along with your neighbors (if it is possible).
It’s so nice to come home and see the garbage can has already been pulled up, or the newspaper at the door. It’s a happy surprise, and one less thing they don’t have to do.
On your walk, one day, if you happen to see their garbage can down at the street, just put it where they usually put it. Don’t tell them you did it, they will probably figure it out, and they will probably – positively – reciprocate in some other way.
16. Be Kind By Holding The Elevator
Isn’t it awesome when you’re running late and you’re rushing to work, only to get to an elevator and the door shuts in your face? If there is room on the elevator, maybe take a moment and hold the elevator door open. Some of the coolest people you can meet can be in an elevator.
17. Be Kind By Being Nice To The Cashier
The cashiers of the world are the most underappreciated people. Yes, I was one, and I had my share of people yelling at me, degrading me, and swearing at me. It was always refreshing to see a friendly face. But, more importantly, it’s really beneficial because the cashier will go out of their way to help you.
18. Be Kind By Feeding The Neighborhood Cat/Dog/Animal
As an animal lover I had to include this. It’s perfectly acceptable to feed the stray cat/dog or bird outside. Some of you will disagree because you don’t want animals all in your yard, but at least offer them water – to drink. Don’t spray them with it.
An additional bonus is that it’s actually really really fun to watch birds and squirrels in your yard.
19. Be Kind By Offering Your Seat
Offering your seat is one of those nice things that make people feel good. I try to offer my seat to mothers, soon-to-be moms, and the elderly. Sometimes, you can tell when a person is just exhausted, and all the want to do is sit down. Sometimes it’s the best thing in the world to do to offer a respite.
20. Be Kind By Complimenting Someone
Don’t you love it when you’re doing your own thing and suddenly someone compliments you on your hair, or your purse, or something? Yeah, me too. Instead of waiting for the compliment, dish it out, and as long as it’s genuine it’ll go a long way in making someone happy.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but this will hopefully jog your mind to give you some ideas to be kinder to people, because kindness is a little flicker of hope that the world isn’t all bad.