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6 Simple Ways to be a Nicer Person

I consider myself to be pretty easy-going most of the time. I tend to get along well with people and I find it pretty easy to talk to most folks that I come in contact with.

As to why I’m a nice guy, that you can attribute to my parents. My father was a hardass and my mother is pretty much the sweetest lady ever. My father went out of his way to make sure that I did certain things when dealing with other people that are pretty much reflex now.

Not saying that I’m an authority on “nice” or anything, but I’ve certainly picked up a few nuggets in my young life. It’s surprisingly easy, actually – even for people who tend to be on the shy side.

  1. When you meet someone, smile – Sounds simple, right? Well, you’d be amazed how far this can get you. People who seem generally well-disposed are automatically more enjoyable to be around. Before you know it, you’ll have all sorts of new acquaintances just because you showed some tooth.
  2. Compliment people – I can’t believe what a lost art this has become. Chalk it up to hyper-sensitivity or whatever, but people are so slow tell one another something nice. Tomorrow, when you go to work, pay somebody a quick compliment. It can be as simple as “Hey Todd, way to go on those TPS reports!” to “Mary Beth, I think your hair looks great today”. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid anything suggestive or inappropriate, but you should be able to handle that :)
  3. Ask questions – Another thing many people seem to have forgotten how to do is have a frickin’ conversation. When somebody is talking to you, listen. When they stop talking, ask them a question about what they just said (preferably something that wasn’t already covered). Remember, people love to talk about themselves and asking questions about your companion will make you the most interesting guy/gal in Shawshank.
  4. Hold the door – When you’re walking through the door to the office, grocery store or whatever, look behind you to see if anybody is coming. If they are, hold the door open. Granted, you’ll probably never see the recipient again, but this is one of those character-building things that will teach you that other people exist and are valuable and worthwhile
  5. Buy them a cup of coffee – Next time you’re in line at Starbucks buying your daily Skinny Half-Caf Sugar-Free Vanilla Latte with No Foam™, see if somebody is standing behind you. If they are (and they’re not carrying armloads of coffee and brewing equipment), say:

    “What’re you drinking? It’s on me today.”

    They’ll look at you like you have rocks in your head, but just let them know that it’s no gag.

    “Uh, Venti Mocha…”, they’ll eek out, sheepishly.

    “And a Venti Mocha for my friend… what’s your name?”

    “Ted…”

    “Have a great day Ted, and enjoy the drink!”

    “Wow, thanks!”

    Now, this exchange will accomplish two key things. First, it will make you feel like a million bucks (sans the $12 you just ponied up for 2 coffee drinks). Second, Ted will be talking about you all day – and you’ve just planted the seed for a similar act on his part sometime in the near future.

  6. Say Hello – Whenever I’m somewhere where I don’t know many people, I’m shocked at the number of people who will make very brief eye contact with me, then (very deliberately) look straight down at the floor. I’m sure the same thing happens to you guys, as well. Next time it does, say “Hello” and smile. Many people will suspect you to be nuts and will walk faster to get away from you. Others will look at you as though you just did your best elephant impression. But, some will say “hello” back.

Clearly, there are countless acts that would be considered “nice”, but there’s also something to be said for these types that are more altruistic in nature. The kinds of things that, by and large, will be met with a hearty “thanks” and little more.

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