It’s easy to block people out. Well, maybe it’s not easy so much as it is not hard. We walk out of our houses in the morning, past our neighbors. We get into our car, we drive to the office. We sit at our desk and do our work. We go home.
It isn’t hard to forget how many lives are happening around us. We’re in our own heads, we’re in our own worlds. We are functioning to survive and thrive based on our own needs, wants and desires. It isn’t difficult to block out everything that’s not in line with those things.
But something I have discovered in recent years is that being kind is so very, very crucial. And it’s just as easy as ignoring people, but it reaps three times the rewards in the world around you.
Here are a few inoffensive ways that you can make someone’s day with less than 30 seconds of effort:
- Wish someone a good day. If you’re about to leave for the day, and someone is walking to their own bus stop/car/whatever, tell them, “I hope you have a great day.” Immediate smile.
- Compliment someone’s taste. “I really love that bag. It suits you.” “That necklace is gorgeous.”
- Thank someone for something, and be genuine about it. “Hey, thanks for letting me park in front of your house. This weather is awful, and I feel so much safer not going all the way around the block.” (Note: this is one I use in Pittsburgh a lot in the winter, if possible).
- Support someone’s dream. Artists really need this, and 9 times out of 10, they’re not going to ask for it. “I saw that piece of art you posted online. It’s really great. I hope you keep sharing your work!” You have nothing to lose by encouraging someone’s creativity, and the world has everything to gain from their self-expression.
- Treat someone to a little special treat. Leave a dollar on the snack machine. Offer to buy someone a soda.
Easy. And the joy that immediately comes back from a small act like this is profound. It will make their day, and it’s going to make yours too.