Tips on How to Be Kind
Think back to the last time you were at a party or event. If I were to ask you who was the kindest person in the room, how would you have described that person? Are you unsure how to be kind?
Would they have been the person who told the best stories or jokes, the one who always had a crowd gathered around, or the one who seemed to know the most people and was a social butterfly?
Or… would the kindest person have been the one who took the time to get to know you? When you live with social anxiety, sometimes you think that part of making new friends means putting on a “show” and being fake or someone whom you are not.
While it’s true that you shouldn’t let your social anxiety hold you back from being yourself or showing your true personality, that doesn’t mean that to be kind you have to change who you are.
Instead, to be kind, you have to do the exact opposite – be the most interested person in the room. Stop thinking about how to be kind, and start thinking about actually being interested in people!
Once you start to view social situations in this way, you’ll be able to unlock your passion and find it easier to “be yourself” and let others get to know the real you through your kindess and interest in them. That’s when you’ve truly learned how to be kind.
If you are going to a party or event, think about who you might want to get to know better. What do you want to learn about that person? Spend more time listening than talking and be curious.
Ask questions about that person’s interests that maybe you’d like to know more about or you have in common. Eventually, you should find some common ground.
If it’s someone you know little about, a very open-ended question such as “What’s your story?” will automatically make you the most interesting person in the room.
Offer to Help
When you can, and when it makes sense, offer to help someone. Be generous with your knowledge, resources, and words of advice and follow up: do what you say you are going to do.
It’s easy to make promises but much harder to keep them. When you actually follow through on what you say you will do, you easily become the most interesting person in the room.
Stay current and learn about what’s hot today. Stay up to date on current news, trends, music, sports, etc. so that when topics come up you aren’t left in the dark. Knowing how to be kind often requires you to know a little bit about a lot of things so that you can make conversation even with people whom you have little in common with.
Stand Your Ground
State your opinion even if it’s contrary to show that you adhere to what you value. Stand up for others even when nobody else does to show your kindness.
Don’t be combative or unnecessarily argumentative, but don’t agree with everything everyone says. Having an opinion and standing your ground will show people that you are not easily swayed and will always do the right thing.
Rehearse some stories in your head before an event that entertain, inform, and/or engage others. Stories about other people are the most compelling and interesting, and the ones that paint other people in a positive light will highlight your kindness.
If you have performance anxiety, try telling your story just to one other person. Over time, you might find it becomes easier to tell your story to a group of people.
If you notice someone being left out, find a way to include that person in your group. If you live with social anxiety, you’ve probably been in that position yourself many times. Didn’t you appreciate it when someone took the time to include you?
The kindest person in the room is the one who takes the time to check who might be feeling left out.
Find interesting things that you enjoy doing and then share your passions with others. This isn’t what you might think of as typical advice on how to be kind, but it can make it easier for you to be kind.
For example, you could take up baking as a hobby and then share your treats with neighbors. You could take up windsurfing and then invite a friend out to have a fun day. You could learn a second language and then surprise someone that you know how to speak their native tongue.
The idea is to spread kindness through your passion for your hobbies and interests. This doesn’t even need to take up a lot of your time. Think of something that you’ve wanted to do for a while and start spending 15 minutes a day doing it. Then, think of how it can connect you with other people.
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