Being kind means being warm, considerate, gentle and friendly. To get a friend, you must be a friend. Even more cliché is the saying, ‘birds of a feather, flock together.’ If you want to attract happy, supportive people into your life, you need to be that kind of person. Why would anyone want to be around you otherwise?
As the wise Maya Angelou highlighted, long after the memory of the interaction has faded, people will remember how that interaction made them feel. When we are unkind, we make the lives of those around us much harder than it has to be. We make them feel unloved, underappreciated, and isolated when we are mean or unpleasant.
Would you want anyone to treat you that way? Would you enjoy such harsh treatment? Don’t you think treating people that way at work, at school or in your own home, makes your life a lot harder than it has to be as well? Kindness fosters a spirit of cooperation, even among people who do not really know each other. Surrounding yourself with people who are willing to work alongside you is far easier than trying to conquer this world alone.
Being unkind envelopes a wide variety of actions. Our words are the most common form of unkindness. Being harsh, condescending or even abrupt, can be interpreted as unkind. Using your words to put others down and elevate yourself is not only unkind, it is also a very selfish act, that often causes more harm than good. A key aspect of kindness is being polite. Let us take some time to learn more about this beautiful quality.
Why Be Polite
Being polite is really not as hard as some people make it seem. While it is true that being polite is becoming increasingly difficult as a result of the negative attitudes of the people around us, it is not impossible. Being polite might inflate the ego of these individuals, but our being polite in not a reflection on them.
Our being polite reflects positively on our character, come what may. Individuals who are polite are often thought of as kind, principled, professional and pleasant. And with this very interconnected world that we live in, you just never know who you might have insulted.
Just imagine how embarrassed you will be if you show up for a job interview, only to realize that the man you just cursed in the parking lot because you think they parked in ‘your’ spot, is actually the interviewer. Trust me, it has happened many times before and could happen to you.
Being polite involves being respectful and considerate of the needs, feelings, time, resources, values and cultural norms, of others. Being polite and kind will make you very likable and will encourage others to reciprocate your consideration. Another benefit of being polite is that it will make it very easy for you to gain the respect of those around you.
Even if they do not instantly change their behavior, they will be forced to respect you and your standards. Eventually, they may change for the better as a result of your efforts. Wouldn’t life be much easier if we all had jobs in which our employees, subordinates, and colleagues, all treated us with respect? Respect has to be earned and being polite is one of the easiest ways to earn it.
How to be Polite and Kind
1. If you have nothing kind to say, don’t say it, post it on social media or even think it. Even words that are whispered to a friend have been known to turn around and bite you.
2. Don’t be stingy with greetings and salutations. If you enter a room, pleasantly greet all present. When you are leavings, kindly excuse yourself. And if you are greeted, respond warmly and with a smile.
3. Do not criticize the efforts of others, especially when it is obvious that they tried very hard to accomplish a particular task. If you must offer some constructive criticism, sandwich it with some genuine commendation.
4. Be appreciative of the efforts of others. Even if what is presented is not to your liking, there is no need to make it known.
5. Try to learn a little about the cultural norms and beliefs of those around you. You do not have to share their views, you simply need to know enough not to unintentionally offend them. It is also most polite to allow them to freely express these views, without fear of being disrespected. You can always agree to disagree.
6. You do not always have to insist on things being done your way. Give someone else a chance to shine every now and then.
7. Don’t monopolize conversations by speaking only about yourself and your accomplishments. Show personal interest in others by asking them about themselves and actually listening to what they have to say.
8. When someone is speaking to you, give them your full attention. Stop walking, typing or whatever else you are doing, and make eye contact. If you are busy, politely pause, evaluate how lengthy the conversations needs to be, assure them that you value what they have to say, and then arrange a more suitable time to continue..
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