You don’t have to create big, grand gestures to make a positive impact on someone else’s day. A few simple courtesies can spell the difference between an awful day and an awesome one. Unfortunately, there are days where it seems that common courtesies are not so common anymore.
Make an effort to go out there and prove that chivalry is not dead. Being gallant & respectful are traits that will never go out of style.
Be that person who will make life easier for the people around you.
1. Put a big smile on your face, even if you don’t feel like it.
Trite as it may sound, the simple act of letting sides of your facial muscles turn north can give a boost to someone else’s day. Like a yawn, it is highly contagious. Even if the smile isn’t genuine, a fake one can lift your own mood. Fake it til you make it.
2. Give a genuine compliment.
Make the compliment very specific and sincere. Instead of simply saying, “you look great!” say something like, “I love how your blue scarf brings out the flecks of gold in your green eyes. They look stunning!”
3. On the tollway, pay the toll of the person behind you.
Perform an unexpected act of kindness for a stranger. Pay the toll of the person behind you the next time you drive through the tollgate.
On the subway, go ahead and pay someone else’s fare. It’s fast, easy, and it won’t make you poorer. Nobody was ever rendered you bankrupt from parting with some lose change.
4. Tell the person you’re meeting exactly where you are when you’re running late.
Have you ever tried telling someone you’ll be there in 10 minutes when you very well know it will take you another 30 minutes to actually meet them? Spare their feelings. Let them know exactly where you are, so they can plan what to do with their time. You might invite their ire, but at least they’ll know exactly what to expect, and act accordingly.
5. Offer to help a tourist who obviously seems lost.
See someone holding up their well worn map, making sense out of the subway whatever? Offer your help. Give them specific instructions on where and how to get to their destination.
6. Treat the waitress nicely.
You don’t know if they’ve had a long day and they are on their way to their second job just to keep the bills paid. Everyone has a story. Practice a bit of empathy.
7. Open the door for an elderly woman, or that person with a bag full of groceries.
Or hold the door for the person behind you. Practice common courtesies.
8. Share your talent at a public place.
Talents are meant to be seen, heard and appreciated. A piece of music, a beautiful painting, a heartfelt rendition of a classical piece are reminders to slow down and appreciate our journey in life, and not be too focused on the destination.
Your talent is a gift that is meant to be showcased. Go ahead and show it off.
10. Ignore the wailing children at the grocery store.
Or better yet, give the mother a sympathetic look that says, “I’ve been there, hang in there.”
Mothers of toddlers do not mean to make life harder for you. So stop the judgmental looks and be kind. Same thing goes for moms stuck in a long haul flight with their toddlers. Make a special effort to more tolerant of moms who are alone with toddlers.
11. Be more patient while waiting in line.
Try not to show your irritation. Don’t tap your foot, or make loud, rude comments. Try being fully present in that precise juncture of your life, those “in-between” moments which make up most of our days. It’s a good time for reflection and cherishing the little things that we take for granted.
12. Give your spouse/dad/mom some “me” time.
Moms are notorious for always being “on” and not having a break, catering to the family’s welfare and every child’s whim. Give whoever takes care of you a day off to recharge their batteries.
13. Listen without interrupting.
The next time someone’s talking to you and unburdening themselves, try really listening to them, without thinking of what to say next. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Give them your undivided attention.
14. Withhold judgement.
Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes all the time. Some learn from them, others might need to commit more errors to learn the lesson. You don’t know the full extent of their situation, or the unique circumstances and unusual context they’ve had to deal with. Practice compassion.
15. Offer to take care of a toddler/look after the toddler.
Mothers of little children have a lot on their plates. A little help will go a long way.
16. Clean as you go, without being asked.
A tidier, more organized space will work wonders on your productivity.
17. Say please and thank you. Express gratitude.
When was the last time you used these simple words to express appreciation? Use them more often.
18. Have a good night’s rest.
Being cranky has a spiraling effect that will affect everyone around you. So for everyone else’s sake, take good care of yourself.
19. If you have nothing nice to say, hold your tongue.
These aren’t rocket science suggestions. It takes so little effort to spread joy and good cheer. And these simple gestures just might be the lift you need to make your own day a little brighter as well.