Simple acts of kindness are almost effortless to accomplish and, yet, can make such an impact. It’s been said (and attributed to Plato) that we should be kind, for “Everyone is fighting a hard battle.” The world is filled with so much uncertainty and cruelty that to extend a hand, flash a sweet smile, or simply ask “How are you?” are truly important actions. What can we do, as ordinary people, to help each other?
- Smile: Don’t forget to spread warmth with a smile instead of a grimace. Of course, mask-wearing makes this tricky (for the time being), but smiling eyes are usually noticeable.
- Open the door for someone.
- Don’t forget your manners: “Please” and “Thank you” really do go a long way.
- When you ask someone how they are doing, take the time to listen.
- End a conversation with good wishes.
- Inquire about those around you and their families; it’s always kind and appreciated when one actually takes the time to ask.
Affection is something that we, as human beings, all need and crave. Since the pandemic, we’ve all probably felt starved for hugs, but hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to embrace our friends and neighbors again. Also, what about handshakes? A good, firm handshake is something that we all do: whether one is simply saying hello or closing a business deal, “Let’s shake on it” is a time-tested gesture.
- Greeting with a kiss is, of course, popular in France but is also common in many other European as well as Latin countries. It’s a kind of custom that makes us feel welcomed and accepted.
“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” –Mark Twain
- A kind word or compliment can turn a bad day into a delightful one. Everyone appreciates being told that they look lovely and are enjoyable to be around. It’s been said that women dress not for men, but for other women, so empower your fellow sister and let her know she’s beautiful and that extra five minutes spent primping in front of the mirror will have been worth it.
- Try to be patient (especially with the elderly and children). We’re all busy but, when shopping, taking a train, or simply walking down the street, make an effort not to rush those doing their best.
- Practice proper phone etiquette. Try to minimize public phone use! While in a public space, try to take a call outside as not to bother other people and never use the speaker option. Trust me: no one wants to hear all the details of your private life while waiting in a queue. Don’t forget—while in public—to silence your updates (especially while texting): making everyone endure every ding and chirp your device makes is incredibly gauche.
- One of the kindest things we can do is to be aware of our surroundings. If someone is lost, help with directions. If someone is struggling to carry their load (literally), lend a helping hand.