It may not always be easy to be nice to people, especially when you’re in a bad mood or are stuck with someone who annoys you. But if you make the effort to do the most basic things, like smiling, holding doors open for people, or asking people how they’re doing, you’ll be able to create a more pleasant environment for yourself and everyone around you. Not only will being nice to people make them respect you more, but it will also make your day sunnier! If you want to know how to be nice to people, see Step 1 to be on your way.
Smile. Just the simple act of smiling can make you seem — and feel — like a nicer person. Whether you’re smiling at strangers or people you know, it will also encourage people to smile back at you. Many people may think you’re cold or not nice just because you’re the kind of person who is a bit more shy and who doesn’t smile as freely. So, the next time you pass someone you know a little bit, or even a perfect stranger, make a habit of smiling. Smiling will also make you feel happier, even if you’re not in the best mood, so it’s a win-win situation
Introduce yourself to new people. If you’re in a room with someone you don’t know and everyone else seems to know each other, take the time to introduce yourself. If you’ve struck up a conversation with the person in line next to you at the coffee shop, introduce yourself when the time is right. This is a nice and polite gesture and can help break the ice. Just say something simple like, “Hi, I’m Joe, it’s nice to meet you” and you’ll get the ball rolling. Nice people tend to introduce themselves to others because they are excited about meeting new people.
Make small talk.
Talk about small stuff that you know the person would be interested in. If you don’t know the other person well enough to know about their preferences, try to talk about things happening around you. (The meeting you’ve both been to an hour ago, the new guy in Math class, the fantastic new shoes your colleague has been wearing, etc.) Incorporating humor always helps; people enjoy someone who can make them laugh or has a sense of humor and can understand them.
- Don’t be one of those people who thinks that small talk is meaningless and a waste of time. You have to start out with small talk to make meaningful connections with people.
Give a sincere compliment.
Everyone loves compliments, so don’t be afraid to say something positive about the other person. But be careful, though, not to flatter them too much. Too much flattery can give the impression that you are sucking up to them, and especially if this new friend is a superior, they will think of you as a lapdog. Just find something simple to compliment, like the person’s sweater or a piece of jewelry that the person is wearing.
- You can even use the compliment to strike up a conversation. Say something like, “I love your Lakers socks. Where did you get those from”?
Make plans to hang out with someone you’ve met. If you’ve met a new person and things are going well, it would be nice to follow up and ask if the person wants to hang out. If it’s a new friend, invite him or her to a low-pressure setting like a basketball game or a concert with friends, or a fun day with a few others at the park. You don’t want to do anything too personal or private with someone you just met. Just exchange contact info, tell that person it was really nice to meet, and say that you’re excited to hang out.
Don’t curse. This will make you look vulgar, rude, and definitely not nice. If people see you cursing and getting angry, they’ll feed off of your negative vibe and won’t want to be around you. The next time you’re angry or feel like cursing, try to curse in your head or even to combat those curses by smiling instead.
Be polite. You should be just as polite to strangers as you would be to your family members. That stranger you see at the coffee shop might be lonely, and you may be the only one they have talked to that day. Even if you’re having a bad day, take the time to say “excuse me,” to hold doors for people, and to treat people with a basic level of respect. Don’t hog two seats on the bus and talk loudly on your cell phone; instead, be polite and offer someone else a seat.
Offer help. It’s important to offer to help the people you see around you, whether it’s a person with his arms full who can’t open a door, a child who dropped a toy, or an elderly person who has difficulty walking. One day, you may need to rely on the kindness and help of a stranger, so you should get the good karma going while you can. This will definitely be a way of being nice to the people around you, and you’ll feel better about yourself in the process.
Use people’s names. People who you just meet love it when you use their names during or at the end of the conversation. Even if you only say that person’s name once or twice, the person will feel special and like you’re paying attention to him or her. Saying something like, “I know exactly what you mean, Eliza,” or, “It’s been nice to meet you, Eliza,” can make people feel like you’ve taken the time to get to know them a little bit. Plus, this is a great trick to help you remember that person’s name the next time you see him or her, which will also be very nice of you!
Do a small act of kindness. You don’t have to only be kind to the people who are nearest and dearest to you. When you’re shoveling the snow off your driveway, take the time to shovel the snow off your elderly neighbor’s driveway, too. Let someone step ahead of you in line; put an extra dollar in the tip jar. Taking the time to do something nice for someone you don’t know will make that person feel appreciated and will spread the good karma.
Avoid judgment. One thing that is definitely not nice is judging people before you know them. Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they are good people unless you are given reason to think otherwise. Learn to see people for who they are instead of judging them for how they look or how they are dressed. It can take a long time to be able to look at a person you don’t know without judgment, but this is definitely a great way to be a nice person.