5 Simple Ways to be a Better Person

Who is the nicest person you know?

When reflecting on this person, consider the various attributes that make them nice. If you asked a handful of people to do this, they would probably reveal similar traits for each person they consider to be nice. Some people are inherently nicer than others, but the fact of the matter is that most traits possessed by kind people can be replicated. Do you know what the best part is?

It costs absolutely nothing to be a good person. Yet, many people forget to do the little things that would make them stand out in life.

We are so consumed by our own lives that we become impatient and stressed. Dealing with this type of person is very difficult and makes life harder for those around them. Regardless of what your profession, race, gender, or socio-economic status is, people want to interact with kind people. Never once have I heard of someone seeking out a rude doctor or having a favorite teacher that was always mean. Instead, we desire amicable people.

We all possess the necessary skills to be good to others. By implementing a few behavior changes, you can be regarded as a nice person. It will make you feel better and be perceived in a positive light by others. 

Be Polite

As a Bostonian, I love traveling to the South and Western parts of the United States. One time, when I was in Georgia, someone held the door open for me when I was carrying groceries. Initially, it was weird because I’m used to the hustle and bustle (some might say rude) behavior of people from the Northeast. As I walked through the door, I said thank you and the other person carried on with their day. At that moment, I felt more grateful and was happier than I previously had been. Although it took the other person a total of 15 seconds to hold the door, that simple gesture had made my day. This simple act exemplified the power of being polite and well-mannered.

Think about daily interactions you have with people. There are plenty of opportunities for you to display manners. Try holding a door for someone or add “please” to sentences when applicable. These little things can make a big difference in how others perceive you. They will also make you feel better about yourself.

Smile

Did you know that it takes around 50 muscles to make a frown, but only about 13 to produce a smile.?

Smiles are contagious. Ever notice that being around cheerful people brightens your day, while being around miserable people can bring you down? When teaching, I had this one student who always had a pout on her face. No teacher could seem to make a connection with her or get her to talk. I made it my mission to try to be the first to do so. Every day, I greeted the student by name and smiled when she entered my classroom. Within about two weeks, she began to smile and actually performed significantly better in class from that point on.

It seems too good to be true, but I promise that smiling is an effective tool. Whether you’re with co-workers, your spouse, or complete strangers, try smiling. In doing so, you will make their days better, it’s instinctive to smile back when someone smiles at you. Another added benefit to smiling is that your subconscious will begin to take you smiling as a sign that you are happy. Even if you’re not, you can trick yourself into a better state of mind simply by smiling. Give it a shot!

Kill them with Kindness

Have you ever dealt with a rude customer service rep on the phone or in person?

Assuming you did, think about how that made you feel. You were probably already frustrated, then adding this rude representative on top probably made you feel worse. Most people at this point act out and become rude themselves. There’s an alternative solution, though. Try to kill them with kindness.

If you repetitively say nice things to a rude person, smile (if in person), and use manners they won’t be able to stay in a bad mood for long. When someone is rude or unkind, there’s usually a backstory. They’re probably having a bad day and passing it along to you. You can totally stop this chain of negativity by being kind–if you’re persistent enough, you’ll notice a change in that person’s behavior and how they treat you. This skill is useful in any endeavour and never fails if you have the endurance to stick with it.

Offer Help

You’re probably familiar with the golden rule: “treat others the way you want to be treated.” One way that you can implement this saying into your daily life is by offering help to other people.

Before I moved, I had a neighbor that epitomized this phrase. He was a former home inspector and knew everything about houses. When I first moved in, my house needed to have a lot of work done. One day, he saw me trying to fix the ridge cap on my roof. Without asking for help, this man came over, climbed onto the roof and began to show me how to fix the damage. In addition, he gave other helpful tips for roof maintenance. He also said that I could ask him for help any time because he enjoyed fixing things.

Through this interaction, I became good friends with my neighbor and developed a great relationship with his family. Eventually, he came to me asking for technology advice and I was able to return the favor. These neighborly acts improve relationships with others and give you the opportunity to do something nice for someone else. It can be as simple as taking out the trash, making dinner for a loved one, or bringing someone an iced coffee (my personal favorite thing to receive). No matter how busy we are, we should always take time to help the people around us.

Give Compliments

On a regular basis, most people are criticized far more than they are complimented. Criticism, even when constructive, illuminates flaws in some aspect of the person in question. This can lead to discouragement and a lack of confidence over time. What if, instead, we tried handing out compliments?

When you receive a compliment, think about how good it makes you feel. When I receive a compliment, it tends to make me more confident and also encourages me to replicate whatever I did so I can get another compliment in the future. If other people are anything like me, then the same will be true for them.

Let’s start with friends and family. Since we usually spend more time around friends and family, we tend to take things they do for granted. For instance, if your sister is very stylish, you might not think to mention it each time you see her. However, if you told her that you liked her outfit, she would probably be ecstatic. Similarly, if your friend is a good cook and has you over for dinner, be sure to tell them how great of a cook they are. People receive compliments far less often than we imagine because most people figure that it goes without saying. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to say it again.

Complimenting strangers is also a great way to express kindness. Whenever you give a compliment, it forces them to receive it. If someone is combative, this can disarm them. If someone lacks confidence, this can promote self-esteem. It can be as simple as “I like your shoes” or “you have great taste in coffee” if you see them at Starbucks. That matters far less than the fact that you went out of your way to be nice.

Final Thoughts

People tend to forget that being kind takes no more effort than being grouchy, so why not do what’s better for everyone? Having these amicable attributes, you can totally change someone’s day for the better. It takes very little time and costs even less to be a good person.