I pride myself on being a kind, good person, but there are days—or weeks, if I’m being honest—where I catch myself acting like a total brat. Whining about all my “struggles,” shrugging off conversations, and overall being too invested with myself and only myself. One of the things that I wanted to improve in 2017 was the ability to feel content about how I treated people consistently. Less apologies for my behavior and more focus on making others feel good. I made a list of 20 ways to do this, and can thankfully say I’m making improvements! Since this list has been so helpful to me, I wanted to share.
Here are 20 ideas for treating people better:
- Let someone else have the last word. (I wish I could tell my 16-year-old self this. Sorry, Mom!)
- Listen, without thinking about what story you’ll tell next or without turning the conversation to you.
- Compliment! Even that girl on the subway that looks intimidating; if you love her outfit, tell her! You never know what’s going on internally and that compliment could mean the world at that moment.
- Ask what you can do to help someone, without expecting anything in return.
- Anonymously send flowers.
- Try not to brag for a whole week. Even though it feels good sharing what’s going well in your life, let the focus be on whoever you’re with.
- If you’re arguing with someone, don’t have a conversation over text. It’s easy to say harsh things through a screen, so hold the convo until you can get your thoughts together, in person. You’ll likely treat them much better.
- Offer to babysit a friend’s kid—or kids—for a free date night. They deserve it!
- Stop being passive aggressive. If you want to say something, think of a respectful and honest way to communicate.
- Smile at that person passing by instead of looking down.
- Don’t rush someone through a conversation, especially your parents or siblings on a phone call. The laundry can wait. (Again, sorry, Mom!)
- Instead of hanging up on the next sales call you get, listen, then kindly tell that person that while it sounds appealing, you have to pass. There are actual humans on the other end.
- Stop gossiping.
- If someone is grieving, send them something personal as opposed to only a text. A hand-written note, a playlist that might perk them up, their favorite chocolates, an email with hilarious cat videos if they’re a cat lover.
- Let that person merge in front of you, even if it wasn’t their turn. If they are in that big of a hurry, help them out.
- Check in, especially with people who don’t have a strong support system. Go see your mother-in-law, even if she drives you crazy. Call your friend from high school who had to move to a new city. Visit your grumpy neighbor who lost his wife last year.
- Show up to events that your friends are throwing instead of bailing with a fake excuse. I am working on this daily!
- Find a cause that’s dear to you and volunteer every single month. Or, make sandwiches and drop them off with the homeless group downtown.
- Tell someone you love that you appreciate them.
- Give yourself an hour of self-love today, so that you’re in a better place for those around you. Here are 20 ways to do that!
Does anyone else find themselves feeling like a total brat some days (even when you’re a good person most of the time)? I’d LOVE to hear other ways to treat people more kindly, so please share your ideas.