In general, kindness involves thinking about not just yourself and considering other people. And knowing how to be nice to people is Humanity 101.
You know the old Thumper (from Bambi) saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Not everyone lives by that code. Learning how to be nice to people isn’t summed up in just one thing. It is a combination of how you treat those around you and the concern you hold for other people.
Empathy is your ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes and feel what they feel. It is the cornerstone of your ability to be nice. If you can’t understand where someone comes from, how are you supposed to know what they need and what is a nice response or action? [Read: 11 simple ways to inspire people around you]
How to be a nice person summed up in 9 steps
Learning how to be nice to people is recognizing what they need, how you can help, and what makes them tick. A balance between saying and doing the right things and avoiding doing the wrong. It sometimes is not as easy as it should be.
In general, if you guide yourself by specific rules about how to handle those in your life, you find an overall plan to be nice. But, remember, there are times when you can be as nice as possible, and not everyone will like you. So, don’t gauge how nice you are by whether everyone likes you. Being liked and being nice are two separate things. [Read: How to be charming and liked by all instantly]
#1 Be considerate. Being considerate figures out what people need and finds a way to help. That means not always putting yourself, your wants, or your needs ahead of everyone else. There are times when you must put self-preservation foremost, but always considering yourself a priority is not the road to being nice.
#2 Think of others. Often, we walk through our days completely mindless of what we are doing or what is around us. Take the time to consider those in your life on a daily basis. Do the small things like picking up your wife’s favorite candy bar at the store, send your assistant a thank you card, just because, or call up an old friend just to “check in” once in a while. [Read: 22 ways to stand apart from the crowd]
#3 Pay if forward. Have you ever seen an old person *or anyone* struggling with their groceries at the store? Being nice is about doing things altruistically. Not because you expect something in return, but simply because it makes you feel good to make them feel good.
#4 Be thoughtful. Ever go to the refrigerator to find that someone emptied the milk and put it back. Or gone to the bathroom to look down and find out that whoever used the last of the toilet paper, didn’t replenish it?
One key component to kindness means going the extra mile and not being self-centered. Notice what you are doing so you aren’t setting the next person up for failure or something awful to come their way.
#5 Don’t be selfish. If you see that there is only one left of something, don’t take the last of it. That is true of everything in life. Recognize the other people around you and that the goal in life is not to grab all that you can, especially to someone else’s detriment.
Selfishness is when you are only capable of seeing and worrying or caring about one person—yourself. Stop thinking you must have it all to be happy. Being nice by sharing and giving back is a much better feeling all the way around. [Read: 15 tips to do the right thing in relationships]
#6 If you have more than enough, give some away. If you have more than enough of anything—possessions, money, love, support—give some of it away. There is no reason to hold onto things you don’t need if they benefit someone other than you. Being nice involves understanding how you relate to the world, and how being in it, is beneficial.
#7 Think before you speak or do. Before you say something, put a filter on it. Often, we talk without thinking and say things that offend people even if we don’t know it.
Before you say something either to someone or about someone, think about how it will be heard and interpreted. That doesn’t mean you walk around on eggshells only saying positive things. But stop to consider who you talk with before you say highly opinionated things.
#8 Listen. Some of the best advice for how to be nice to people? Listen! Listening isn’t just about hearing the words that come from someone’s mouth. It takes them into consideration and really thinks about them.
Listening is a skill that not everyone has. We can all hear someone talk and either choose to let it go in one ear and out the other. Or we allow it to process and give insight and input when necessary. In the same manner, we listen without passing judgment or ascribing intent, just be a shoulder to vent on. [Read: Are you a conversational narcissist?]
#9 Be loyal. The best way to be nice is to be loyal. Loyalty involves honoring someone’s feelings and having their back when you are supposed to. Loyalty means someone never wonders whose side you are on or what you are going to do. They always know you will be there to support them through the rough times.
Being nice is not always an easy thing to do. Nice doesn’t mean you put others in front of you all the time. It isn’t about being someone’s yes man, or even that you must be on someone’s side. It is about giving someone the benefit of the doubt, give when you have more than enough, think so that you don’t offend, and be considerate of other people around you.
Understanding how to be nice to people is a way to conduct yourself in this life so that you feel good about you. But remember that you can be the nicest person in the world, and that doesn’t mean that people are necessarily going to like you.
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