- Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting. In the current atmosphere it seems people are “pulling in”, cocooning if you will, spending much of their time in mental preparation of finding a job, stretching the budget to obtain wholesome food for their families, wondering how to pay their mortgage or rent. A brief conversation with a stranger at the grocery store can provide a needed break from the stress … without adding another burden to their already full plate.
- Smile at people. It takes 72 muscles to frown, only 14 to smile. Frowning with those extra muscles is not the way to get your exercise! Observing people in the shopping mall, determined strides, focused expressions, without the remembered joy of leisure “window shopping” gives us the opportunity to brighten their days simply by offering a smile ~ and it costs us nothing! Give one away today.
- Call people by name. The sweetest music to anyone’s ear is the sound of their own name. Each one of us is important! Do you know the name of your mailman, your banker, the greeter at your hair salon, the people who usually serve you at your favorite restaurant? If not, find out who they are ~ when you greet them by name watch how surprised and pleased they are to be acknowledged.
- Be friendly and helpful. If you want friends, you must be one. Do you remember that advertising slogan “reach out and touch someone”? It truly takes so little of your time to reach out with a helping hand ~ holding a door, picking up a dropped item for someone, offering your place in the checkout lane to someone with just a few items, giving up your seat to someone who appears tired or fragile. You can be assured they are truly touched by your kindness.
- Be cordial. So you have a load of burdens on your shoulders too? “Act as if” is one of the strongest phrases I know to get you out of those doldrums and lift others at the same time: Speak and act as if everything is a joy to you and your life is filled with success … watch what happens!
- Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try. Each person has redeeming qualities ~ make it a game to find them in the people who seem especially challenging to you.
- Be generous with praise and cautious with criticism. In the words of the late Mary Kay Ash, “Any criticism must be sandwiched between two layers of praise.”
- Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy: Yours, the other person’s and the right side. Be willing to consider all the points and know that compromise is not “losing”.
- Be eager to lend a helping hand. Often it is appreciated more than you know. What counts most in life is what we do for others. Practice random acts of kindness every day.
- Add to this a good sense of humor, a huge dose of patience and a dash of humility. This combination will open many doors and the rewards will be enormous.