How to Be Kinder to the People in Your Life

Be reliable, show interest, and support others.

It takes zero effort to be a kind person. Technology makes it easy for us to consume constant negativity, and those news make us forget there are still good people in the world. We can spread more positivity in the world, and that starts by being a nicer person.

Don’t judge people

Bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein wrote in her book Judgement Detox that the reason we judge people is to feel good about ourselves. Pointing other people’s flaws makes us feel special and better.

We have no right to judge people when we’re also filled with flaws. Respect people’s minds, opinions, and actions, even if you don’t agree with them. Understand everyone has their reasons for what they believe and do.

Be present

In her Creative Live course, Master Your People Skills, behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards taught how to show you’re present. One of her main points was to face whom you’re speaking to with your entire body. This includes your feet, which should point toward the person, and making eye contact.

She also shares that you need to react by nodding, saying things like yes and mhm. Most importantly, keep your phone in your pocket and away. Even if you’re paying attention, you look rude when your eyes are on your phone.

Never be late

My dad taught me to be on time because it shows people I respect theirs. When you arrive late, you send a message that you don’t care to waste their time. Show up when you said you would, and even better, show up five minutes early — unless you’re visiting someone’s home. (No one likes an early bird in those cases.)

Only cancel last minute if you have a great reason, and if you know you’re going to be late, send a text telling them how much longer.

Empathize, don’t pity

Claire Wineland, who lived with Cystic Fibrosis all her life, encouraged people not to pity sick people because it took away their power. To pity means to feel sorry for someone, which makes them feel they can’t do anything about their situation.

Rather than pitying, empathize. Phycology Today defines empathy as “the experience of understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from his or her point of view, rather than from one’s own.”

Don’t belittle — connect and show understanding. Even if you’ve never been through someone’s situation, find a way to connect to their story and what they feel.

Ask questions and listen

Everyone craves one thing: attention. The way to accomplish this is to ask questions because people love to talk about themselves and listen. Lead the conversation.

In that same Creative Live course, Van Edwards spoke about an experiment she did at a networking event. She showed up with a sign that said she wasn’t speaking, but people were still free to talk to her. They did.

Though it was awkward at times, the results were surprising. Days after the event, she received emails telling her she was a great person to talk with.

What made her a great person to speak with was that she was always listening. Plus, the people were forced to talk about themselves.

Support and encourage people

People want their loved ones in their corner when they take risks. However, most families and friends respond with hostility. I understand, but even if you’re afraid of worried for someone, show them you believe in them instead.

I have family members who still dislike that I’m not in college and am trying to become a writer. The only thing they accomplish is making me feel bad. The ones I remember are the ones in my corner, cheering me on.

Love people unconditionally

When you have a fixed mindset, you stay as you are now your entire life — limited. If you want to thrive, you need to have an open mind. I came out to my parents at nineteen, and if it weren’t for the willingness of my dad to open his mind, our great relationship would’ve cracked.

If you refuse to befriend or love someone because they’re different than you, they’re not the ones missing out. As you meet people different from you, never judge. If you have questions, ask them respectfully.

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