How to be friendly and kind

Are you nice to your co-workers? Before you answer, take a moment to think about it. How often do you ask them personal questions before jumping into a request? When was the last time you spoke to the person sitting next to you about anything besides work?

After reading this New York Times article about how bosses don’t have the time to be nice to their employees at work, it got me thinking—maybe, I’m not as nice as I think I am. And by not taking the extra effort to be kind to my co-workers, I could be contributing to a negative atmosphere.

According to the article, “Rudeness and bad behavior have all grown over the last decades, particularly at work. insensitive interactions have a way of whittling away at people’s health, performance and souls.” I know I’m definitely guilty of being so caught up in my work that I sometimes barely acknowledge the conversation someone is trying to have with me—instead, I just nod along, thinking about my to-do list.

But that’s ridiculous. Because being happy at work can be just as important as your salary. And the more friendly you are with the people you see every day, the happier you’ll be.

With that in mind, here are five fast and easy ways to be nicer at work—it’s easier than you think.

1. Share a Funny Link

When you come across something online that makes you laugh, you never question sending it over to a friend. So, the next time you come across an article that makes you giggle, send it to a co-worker who you think will appreciate it. Found a perfectly hilarious GIF that sums up the office? Use your company’s internal chat system (if appropriate) to share it with the group.

2. Ask Someone How Their Night Was

Taking the time to start a conversation about someone’s personal life is a simple way to be nice. And no, you don’t have to go too in-depth and start a 30-minute conversation. But starting out with, “How did the event go last night?” or “Did you enjoy having your family in town this weekend?” is an easy way to show someone you care (and that you were listening yesterday).

3. Invite Someone to Grab Lunch With You

I know, I know—you don’t have time to sit down and eat lunch outside the office. But, let’s face it, we all need a break from work and we all must grab lunch at some point. As long as you’re going outside to get something, you might as well ask someone if he or she would like to join. Even if the person doesn’t have time to go to lunch the day you ask, you’ll still make him or her feel special by throwing the invite out there.

4. Pick Up an Extra Coffee

Very rarely do you come across co-workers who refuse a caffeine fix. Whether it’s on your way into the office in the morning or during a quick work break, pick up an extra coffee (or tea, or whatever else your office likes) for someone. Not only will this brighten the person’s day, but if he or she pays it forward, it’ll start a chain of positivity in the office.

Bonus: Caffeine has been known to do wonders for your professional life.

5. Give Someone a Compliment

One of the biggest complaints people have about their jobs is that they feel underappreciated. We’ve all been there, and we all know it’s not a fun place to be—so challenge yourself to pay compliments to your co-workers regularly. Maybe someone did a great job on the latest project proposal, or maybe a co-worker landed an incredible sale. All you have to do is shoot over a quick email that says, “Hey! Just wanted to let you know that your pitch was really creative, and I’m excited to see how the company moves forward with it.” (If you need help coming up with a compliment, check out how to show thanks in any professional situation.)

See, it’s not that hard or time-consuming to be nicer at work. But, in case you need more convincing, know that research has found that being nice to your colleagues reaps more benefits than you may think.

How to be friendly and kind

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

What are the benefits of being friendly? Some might argue that there aren’t many advantages to it. These people might even tell you that you should mind your own business instead of trying to please everyone.

But is friendliness really just an attempt to please others? Is it really a sign of insecurity or even weakness?

I believe friendliness is a sign of inner strength and balance.

Just a year ago, I was confronted with an extremely negative person at work. At first, I believed she acted as she did because she was struggling with he burdens we all have to bear from time to time.

I thought the problem would eventually resolve itself, but it didn’t. Only in retrospect I am beginning to understand that unresolved underlying pain could have influenced her behavior.

Unfortunately, I didn’t consider this possibility back then. In my ignorance I assumed the worst of her, thinking her behavior was a cold and calculating attempt to manipulate everyone around her.

I judged her based on her actions, without considering the underlying motives. She was igniting conflicts wherever she went, so I assumed she felt more comfortable in an unstable environment.

Usually, I try to stay calm in situations like this. But there are some people who know exactly how to push your buttons. She was one of them.

I had already decided to confront her when something unexpected happened. Apparently, she had found one of my colleagues’ sensitive spots, which led him to burst out yelling at her in front of our boss.

Our boss wasn’t too happy about that, demanding my colleague take anger management training.

The whole experience taught me an important lesson. It showed me that calmness and understanding are the only healthy options you have when you’re confronted with someone who’s dealing with underlying pain.

Here’s what I learned about the advantages of being friendly.

1. You can make a difference with friendliness.

Sometimes it feels as if the world is filled with impolite or angry people. As a result of this misperception, we’ve learned to raise our shields to the maximum. Instead of being open to people we don’t know yet, we do our best to avoid the risk of being vulnerable.

You can make a difference in this world by making the first step toward a potential relationship with others. Or, as Scott Berkun, former manager at Microsoft, has put it: “Initiating a positive exchange is a hallmark of a difference maker.”

Just imagine what could have happened if I had the courage to make the first step with my not so polite colleague. It would have given me at least the chance of discovering the underlying cause of her behavior, and maybe even helping her.

Instead, I was so preoccupied with defending myself that I didn’t even consider honest friendliness as a possible means to resolve the issue. This was the moment when I realized that I could only make a difference by being kind and helpful to other people.

2. You’ll strengthen your willpower.

Let’s face it, there will always be people who test your limits. It’s not easy to treat others with respect in such situations.

We all know how difficult it can be to be kind to certain people. However, we shouldn’t use their misbehavior as an excuse to treat them just as badly.

Allowing someone to make us behave impolitely only makes the situation worse. On the other hand, if we have the courage and willpower to keep our balance, we can contribute a great deal toward the easing of the situation.

I experienced this firsthand, when my boss was yelling at me for a mistake I’d made. Instead of arguing at the same level of aggression, I chose to remain calm and tried to explain what had led to my mistake. Surprisingly, this not only helped calm him down, but it also helped me resolve the problem quickly.

These are the situations that both test our limits and strengthen our willpower, if we choose not to give in to the temptation of treating others as they treat us.

3. Good deeds add meaning to your life.

Friendliness isn’t just about treating others with respect, it’s also about caring for others: You treat others friendly because you care about them and their well-being. You help others because you see yourself in them.

Kindness doesn’t have to be limited to people we know. Instead, it’s the universal willingness to treat each individual the way we would like to be treated.

Being friendly and helping others will add significance and meaning to your life. Knowing that you are helping to make this world a better place is one of the most rewarding experiences.

4. It makes you feel good.

Being friendly to others doesn’t just help them, it works in your favor as well. Friendliness will instantly boost your happiness.

Whenever I’m being kind to another being, I feel good about myself.

Just recently I was buying a train ticket at a vending machine when I noticed the man standing beside me at the other machine didn’t have enough change to pay for his ticket. He had already thrown in many coins, but seemed a little helpless when he realized that there weren’t enough in his wallet.

I asked him if he needed more coins. It turned out that it wasn’t much, so I gave him what he needed.

The man’s response truly warmed my heart. You could see the happiness and relief in his face, and that made me happy as well.

5. It will likely come back to you.

Should we be friendly just so that other people will reciprocate the favor in our time of need? I think that would be rather selfish. True kindness and friendliness can only be expressed when we let go of the need to gain something from it.

Still, I believe that if you’re a genuinely friendly person, you’re more likely to be surrounded by people who are also friendly and accommodating. Kindness attracts kindness, just as rudeness often attracts rudeness.

It really feels as if I receive that which I send out to another person. And that makes me feel appreciated, accepted, and respected for who I am.

We all face challenges, and it’s not always easy to be friendly and polite, but doing so can make a profound difference—for others and for ourselves.

How to be friendly and kind

About Steve Mueller

Steve Mueller is a blogger who strives to inspire others to stand in their own sovereignty. Subscribe at his website Planet of Success to get the best strategies and tricks to make the most of your life, and follow him on Facebook here.

How to be friendly and kind

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

I moved to Vermont to work at a ski lodge the day after I turned twenty-two.

I had finished college six months earlier; September 11 th had made finding a “real” job in my field pretty much impossible, and I was ready for adventure.

Somehow I had been hired to be the head waitress in the lodge’s basement eatery, where we served family-style meals every single morning and six nights a week.

I had no waitressing experience whatsoever; I’m pretty sure I was hired for this position because I was older than some of the other employees, had a college degree (uh, in studio art), and had worked at a concession stand at the beach for three summers during college. I mean, at least I had handled food before, right?

Up until this point, my customer service skills were severely stunted. I barely tolerated customers; I rarely even spoke to them. The extent of my “service” skills involved making sure they got the right kind of soda and correct change.

In fact, at my very first job, as a cashier at a big box store where I had to wear a blue vest, a customer actually complained about me to management. I didn’t smile, I wasn’t friendly, and I wasn’t helpful. (In my defense, I was sixteen. And wearing a blue vest.)

One night at the ski lodge, I’ll never forget this, a couple who had come to stay every single year for the past decade pulled me aside so the husband could tell me something in private. “Your attitude comes off as very distant and aloof. I can tell you’re just shy, but you seem very unfriendly.”

For some reason having this older gentleman tell me how I seemed to outsiders absolutely, completely turned me and my attitude around.

He was right—I was shy, and also uncertain about myself. I was afraid to be friendly, afraid to come out of my shell and potentially embarrass myself.

But I didn’t want to be seen as unfriendly and aloof. I wanted to connect with people, I just didn’t know how.

As the ski season went on, I did my best to make little changes: more eye contact, more smiles, more conversation. I can’t say I immediately saw a huge shift, but I was trying.

Fast-forward another couple of years: after traveling around the country for a while (even living in a tent at one point; aren’t your twenties great?), I ended up back at the ski lodge again. This time, I was hired to work at the front desk.

The front desk?? Where all the people were? All the time?

Yup, that front desk.

By this time the lodge had changed hands, and the new owner said something to me about how to talk on the phone with customers that left a lasting impression. She said, “Smile when you talk, because customers can hear it all the way through the phone.”

She was so right. I still think about that any time I’m on the phone with a customer or client.

I can’t tell you exactly what happened to me during that ski season, but by the time my parents came up for a visit in the spring and saw me in action, they were impressed with how friendly and confident I was with guests, but not nearly as impressed (and happy) as I was.

All of a sudden I loved helping people. I was thrilled when guests came to check in, adored giving restaurant recommendations, and was elated to tell prospective clients all that our area had to offer.

Suddenly, I realized how wonderful it was to be kind—being friendly to others actually made me happier!

I don’t know why for all those years I had thought keeping silent or being disgruntled was good for me—I guess I just didn’t know any different.

After a year in Vermont, I moved down to the mountains of North Carolina (just as pretty; a whole lot warmer), where I landed myself another hotel job, this time at an historic inn. Within a year or so I was running the front desk and was managing events, and I loved it!

Friday afternoons when we got a crush of people, ready to kick off their relaxing visit? Pure bliss for me!

Sunday mornings, when guests were checking out and wanted to reminisce about their weekend? Utter satisfaction!

A brunch where the quiche turned out just right and the hostess had properly impressed her friends? My work was done!

New Year’s Eve? Best night of the year! I actually put myself on for the late night shift (I was in charge of scheduling) so my employees could be off, but I could be part of the fun.

The same group of guests came to celebrate every year, and I’d walk the hallways, being invited into open rooms for a bite of fancy cheese or a swig of champagne.

I don’t know how to explain it, other than being kind and helping others completed something in me I didn’t even know was missing.

If you’ve ever felt like you wanted to connect more with others, to offer kindness and support, but feel too shy or nervous about the possibility of being rejected, I want to tell you that stepping out of your shell, even just a little bit, can bring enormous rewards.

Pick something that feels easy and comfortable to you. Do you have to be on the phone frequently for your job? Try smiling when you’re talking on the phone, even if you feel a little silly, even if the person on the other end is being difficult or unfriendly. I bet you’ll feel really good when you hang up.

Perhaps you notice a new participant in your yoga class, someone who seems uncertain and hangs in the back. Do whatever feels best—smile, wave, walk over and introduce yourself. Imagine if you were in the same position; wouldn’t it feel great for someone to reach out to you?

Ask coworkers if they need a hand with anything. Ask friendly questions of your new neighbor. Volunteer for a local charity or library.

Anything that connects you with others and allows you to flex your kindness muscle will do. You’ll be amazed to see that being kind makes other people happy, but brings an even greater joy to you.

After working at the inn for a few years I moved on to a hospitality job at the local airport, and from there realized that I wanted to expand my kindness and help others on an even more profound level, but there’s a part of me that will always miss working at a hotel.

Interacting with guests taught me so much about myself. It gave me so much confidence, and it taught me one of the most important lessons of my life: to be kind to others was to be kind to myself. I hope you’ll open your heart to learning the same lesson.

How You Can Teach Kids to Be Kind to Others (and Why You Should)

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Andrea Rice is an award-winning journalist and a freelance writer, editor, and fact checker specializing in health and wellness.

How to be friendly and kind

“Can you believe what she’s wearing?” “Don’t you think he’s fat?” “Why would anyone want to be friends with her?” “He’s ugly.”

Comments like these—or worse—are not uncommon among children, or even with adults. We now live in an age where photos and posts online can garner nearly instant and anonymous comments from total strangers and acquaintances alike. These reactions can be rude, hurtful, and even malicious. It is more important than ever that parents teach children to be kind to others.

Why We Need More Kindness

Today, judging others seems to be an activity practiced by far too many people.   It’s all too easy to post comments about other people, whether they’re celebrities or ordinary, everyday citizens. Unkindness isn’t new; humans have been cruel to each other for thousands of years.   But today the ease, speed, and anonymity with which people can pass judgments and criticism onto others is unprecedented. Kids who are at the forefront of tech and social networking are learning from what they see around them.  

Children also tend not to be able to see the bigger picture. Because young children usually focus on what’s right in front of them and tend to not think too far ahead, they may not realize the full effects of what behaviors like meanness, exclusion, or bullying can have on other kids. And kids are naturally self-centered, which means that they aren’t always able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes or make a conscious effort to think about how someone else might feel.   That does not mean, however, that kids are naturally unkind.

Kids are hard-wired to have empathy for others and want to help.   Parents, caregivers, and teachers can take advantage of these natural instincts that we’re all born with and encourage kids to practice kindness in their everyday lives.​

Ways Parents Can Encourage Kindness in Kids

To nurture kindness in kids, try incorporating some of these practices into your daily routines.

1. Do Unto Others

Young children need reminders about trying to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Ask your child to try to remember to think before saying something about someone and to take the time to consider how they might feel if someone said it to them. How would they feel if they found out that someone was making fun of their dress or criticizing them for not doing a math problem fast enough? Would they want someone to praise them for trying or to put them down for not doing something right? Would they want someone to compliment them on something they do well or would they want someone to make fun of them? Teaching empathy is a key part of teaching kids kindness.  

2. If You Cannot Say Something Nice…

The adage about saying nothing at all if you don’t have something nice to say about someone is a good lesson in kindness to teach kids. Teach your child to get into the habit of saying only positive things—the sort of things that will make someone feel good rather than sad. Teach them to hold their tongue when they have a negative opinion about something. For example, if their friend asks them whether they like a drawing they did and they didn’t like it, they can practice finding something positive about it. “I liked the colors you used,” or “You made a nice, big house” or something similar is great. They should not mention what they did not like about it. Another example: If a classmate isn’t very good at sports, your child can offer encouragement and praise the classmate for trying.  

3. Kind Words and Smiles

It’s also a good idea to get kids into the habit of being friendly and finding something nice to say to someone.   (That said, a child should know the basics of how to protect themself from stranger and acquaintance danger and should know what to do if they ever get lost.) Let your child see you tell the checkout person at the supermarket to have a nice day, thank a waiter for serving you, or compliment a neighbor on the hard work they did in their garden.

Be a good role model and try to be nice to people you interact with throughout the day. Be the behavior you want to see in your child.

4. Thank You, Please, and More

Teaching good manners, such as being respectful to others, greeting people properly, and speaking to people in a polite way, is also an important part of raising a kind child. And since you live with your children, you’ll reap the benefits of having pleasant and nice individuals growing up in your home.

5. Guard Against Spoiling

Kind children are also children who are charitable, who know that their parents cannot buy everything they want for them (and understand why they should not get everything they want), and are patient, thankful, and have self-control. If you want to teach kids kindness, make sure you don’t spoil your kids.  

6. Bullying and Cyberbullying

Be very aware of the dangers of cyberbullying, both by being vigilant about what your child sees and reads online as well as by keeping close tabs on what they are writing and sharing. Learn about bullying and what to do to prevent and stop bullying.  

7. Be Nice to Your Child

Even when you’re tired and frustrated—specially when you’re tired and frustrated—try to speak in a kind way to your child. Discipline with love, support them when they are down, and as always, be kind.  

8. Kindness Is Contagious

Similarly, kids who may not naturally be inclined to bullying others or being mean may join in when others are doing it. If your child can set an example of kindness, it too may spread to their social group.  

9. Being Kind Makes Kids Feel Good

When you encourage kindness in your child, they will feel better not only about the world they live in but also about themself. That’s the thing about raising a good child who is kind: not only will kindness lift up your child and the others around them, it will help them grow to be a happy and loving person.  

How to be friendly and kind

Do you find it challenging to be kind? Maybe in certain circumstances compared to others? When we express authentic kindness to a friend, co-worker or even stranger, we project that version of ourselves that others will likely remember. Think about how it felt the last time you received a kind gesture. Then, think about how amazing it would be if the feeling was spread the world over.

Here are 10 ways to be more kind:

1. When you believe in someone, tell them directly. Convey your support to them.

Let’s say we all supported and believed in the ability of our friends and family to do amazing things. Put another way, think about how your support could drive even one person to achieve things greater than themselves. Imagine how much the world could benefit. Quite simply, a lot more.

2. Consider kindness before you speak.

When we may have something in our minds to say about someone and it isn’t kind, remember to choose kindness before speaking. It is not a sign of weakness to choose kindness. It is a sign of heart.

3. Spread kindness that you have received.

When we receive kindness, we may feel special about ourselves. If you can, in some way or another, continue to spread the kindness that you have received. It would be a great way to pay it forward.

4. Be mindful of how you treat others.

Considering our closest relationships, as well as our acquaintances and others who we don’t see regularly, it is important to be mindful of how we treat others because of the impact it can have. Truly being considerate can go a long way with many friendships and relationships.

5. Don’t discriminate who to be kind to.

As we all know, each of us is facing a challenge, whether seen or unseen. Don’t discriminate who to be kind to, despite differences.

6. Set an example.

What better of a role model to someone else than someone who is frankly, always kind. Try to set an example. Without role models who are kind, there would be less kindness to spread around.

7. Practice good intentions.

When you say something nice to someone else, remember your intention counts as well. Try to carry good intentions with displays of kindness. Kindness and good intention usually come hand in hand, but in the few cases where they could not be aligned, try to practice good intentions, like not expecting anything in return for your gesture or compliment.

8. Feel good about it.

If you have a tougher time showing kindness, try and remember to feel good about showing this side of you. When you feel good, the act will come more regularly and spread more positivity within you.

9. Reach out when it is less likely others will.

If you feel like an act of kindness might be going against the grain, try to be the first to show the niceness. It will likely be as rewarding in return.

10. Try to be kind every day.

When in doubt, be kind as often as possible, hopefully every day so that you can reap the rewards in terms of your quality of relationships and just pure satisfaction that you have spread joy to another person’s life.

In all, try these 10 ways to be more kind. No doubt you might still have difficulties or challenges that come your way, but with the joy of spreading kindness, your mind and heart can benefit and you can feel satisfied more often. Enjoy!

Friendliness is a down-to-earth approach that is welcoming and positive.

Posted Nov 07, 2012

Friend or Foe?
The Practice:
Be friendly.
Why?

Friendliness is a down-to-earth approach to others that is welcoming and positive.

Think about a time when someone was friendly to you – maybe drawing you into a gathering, saying hello on the sidewalk, or smiling from across the room. How did that make you feel? Probably more included, comfortable, and at ease; safer; more open and warm-hearted.

When you are friendly to others, you offer them these same benefits. Plus you get rewarded yourself. Being friendly feels confident and happy, with a positive take on other people, moving toward the world instead of backing away from it. And it encourages others to be less guarded or reactive with you, since you’re answering the ancient question from millions of years of evolution – friend or foe? – with an open hand and heart.

In its own quiet way, ordinary friendliness takes a stand that is almost subversive these days: that the world has many more opportunities than threats, that most people want the best for others, that simple informal human connections tie this battered old planet together much more than jumbo corporations or mass media flickering on the walls of our upholstered caves.

You can be friendly with intimates and strangers, co-workers and in-laws, babies and bosses – even those you know only in the abstract, like people on the other side of the world. Of course, it is not always appropriate to be friendly with someone, such as to an adversary, or to someone who would misunderstand you. But opportunities for greater friendliness are probably all around you this week.

To warm up your brain’s circuits of friendliness, you could try one or more of these: · Recall being with someone who cares about you. · Remember when someone was friendly to you. · Bring to mind a time when you were friendly to someone. · Get a sense of the posture, movements, gestures, and facial expressions of a person you know who is naturally friendly. · Relax your body into a feeling of friendliness: leaning forward a little, rather than back; softening and opening your chest, face, and eyes; breathing goodwill in and out.

Then look for everyday opportunities to be friendly. Often you’ll just give a smile, handshake, or nod – and that’s plenty. Maybe it’s offering a few minutes to talk. Or a morning hug, or goodnight kiss. Or an extra touch of warmth in an email.

Stretch yourself, but stay within the range of whatever is authentic. Remember that friendliness is not agreement or approval; it does not mean you have given up on whatever your stances may be in the relationship. Friendliness does not equal friendship; in truth, most relationships are with friendly acquaintances.

Consider your family and friends. What about being more friendly with your lover or mate? Having worked with couples for many years, it’s painful to see how often basic friendliness is a casualty in a long-term relationship. Or being more friendly toward parents, siblings – or your own children? Again, it’s startling how easily friendliness can be crowded out of our most important relationships by busyness, little irritations and hurts, or weariness from working too hard. But bits of friendliness, sprinkled here and there, can be absolutely transformational in a relationship. Try it and see!

Also consider being friendlier toward people you might normally ignore or treat with distance, even coolness. Such as wait staff in restaurants, someone shuttling you to the airport, or – breaking the big taboo – strangers in an elevator.

See what happens. Take in the rewards, like one small log after another, fueling that warm glowing fire on the hearth in your heart.

How to be friendly and kind

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

I moved to Vermont to work at a ski lodge the day after I turned twenty-two.

I had finished college six months earlier; September 11 th had made finding a “real” job in my field pretty much impossible, and I was ready for adventure.

Somehow I had been hired to be the head waitress in the lodge’s basement eatery, where we served family-style meals every single morning and six nights a week.

I had no waitressing experience whatsoever; I’m pretty sure I was hired for this position because I was older than some of the other employees, had a college degree (uh, in studio art), and had worked at a concession stand at the beach for three summers during college. I mean, at least I had handled food before, right?

Up until this point, my customer service skills were severely stunted. I barely tolerated customers; I rarely even spoke to them. The extent of my “service” skills involved making sure they got the right kind of soda and correct change.

In fact, at my very first job, as a cashier at a big box store where I had to wear a blue vest, a customer actually complained about me to management. I didn’t smile, I wasn’t friendly, and I wasn’t helpful. (In my defense, I was sixteen. And wearing a blue vest.)

One night at the ski lodge, I’ll never forget this, a couple who had come to stay every single year for the past decade pulled me aside so the husband could tell me something in private. “Your attitude comes off as very distant and aloof. I can tell you’re just shy, but you seem very unfriendly.”

For some reason having this older gentleman tell me how I seemed to outsiders absolutely, completely turned me and my attitude around.

He was right—I was shy, and also uncertain about myself. I was afraid to be friendly, afraid to come out of my shell and potentially embarrass myself.

But I didn’t want to be seen as unfriendly and aloof. I wanted to connect with people, I just didn’t know how.

As the ski season went on, I did my best to make little changes: more eye contact, more smiles, more conversation. I can’t say I immediately saw a huge shift, but I was trying.

Fast-forward another couple of years: after traveling around the country for a while (even living in a tent at one point; aren’t your twenties great?), I ended up back at the ski lodge again. This time, I was hired to work at the front desk.

The front desk?? Where all the people were? All the time?

Yup, that front desk.

By this time the lodge had changed hands, and the new owner said something to me about how to talk on the phone with customers that left a lasting impression. She said, “Smile when you talk, because customers can hear it all the way through the phone.”

She was so right. I still think about that any time I’m on the phone with a customer or client.

I can’t tell you exactly what happened to me during that ski season, but by the time my parents came up for a visit in the spring and saw me in action, they were impressed with how friendly and confident I was with guests, but not nearly as impressed (and happy) as I was.

All of a sudden I loved helping people. I was thrilled when guests came to check in, adored giving restaurant recommendations, and was elated to tell prospective clients all that our area had to offer.

Suddenly, I realized how wonderful it was to be kind—being friendly to others actually made me happier!

I don’t know why for all those years I had thought keeping silent or being disgruntled was good for me—I guess I just didn’t know any different.

After a year in Vermont, I moved down to the mountains of North Carolina (just as pretty; a whole lot warmer), where I landed myself another hotel job, this time at an historic inn. Within a year or so I was running the front desk and was managing events, and I loved it!

Friday afternoons when we got a crush of people, ready to kick off their relaxing visit? Pure bliss for me!

Sunday mornings, when guests were checking out and wanted to reminisce about their weekend? Utter satisfaction!

A brunch where the quiche turned out just right and the hostess had properly impressed her friends? My work was done!

New Year’s Eve? Best night of the year! I actually put myself on for the late night shift (I was in charge of scheduling) so my employees could be off, but I could be part of the fun.

The same group of guests came to celebrate every year, and I’d walk the hallways, being invited into open rooms for a bite of fancy cheese or a swig of champagne.

I don’t know how to explain it, other than being kind and helping others completed something in me I didn’t even know was missing.

If you’ve ever felt like you wanted to connect more with others, to offer kindness and support, but feel too shy or nervous about the possibility of being rejected, I want to tell you that stepping out of your shell, even just a little bit, can bring enormous rewards.

Pick something that feels easy and comfortable to you. Do you have to be on the phone frequently for your job? Try smiling when you’re talking on the phone, even if you feel a little silly, even if the person on the other end is being difficult or unfriendly. I bet you’ll feel really good when you hang up.

Perhaps you notice a new participant in your yoga class, someone who seems uncertain and hangs in the back. Do whatever feels best—smile, wave, walk over and introduce yourself. Imagine if you were in the same position; wouldn’t it feel great for someone to reach out to you?

Ask coworkers if they need a hand with anything. Ask friendly questions of your new neighbor. Volunteer for a local charity or library.

Anything that connects you with others and allows you to flex your kindness muscle will do. You’ll be amazed to see that being kind makes other people happy, but brings an even greater joy to you.

After working at the inn for a few years I moved on to a hospitality job at the local airport, and from there realized that I wanted to expand my kindness and help others on an even more profound level, but there’s a part of me that will always miss working at a hotel.

Interacting with guests taught me so much about myself. It gave me so much confidence, and it taught me one of the most important lessons of my life: to be kind to others was to be kind to myself. I hope you’ll open your heart to learning the same lesson.

We all know how great it is to receive a compliment. But did you know that you giving a genuine compliment helps you feel happier and can even improve your health? Research has shown that when we do something kind, our brains release oxytocin, the “hug hormone” that makes us feel really good. And giving someone a genuine compliment is one of the easiest ways to practice kindness!

So here’s a hundred ready-made compliments to try out yourself:

  1. You’re an awesome friend.
  2. You’re a gift to those around you.
  3. You’re a smart cookie.
  4. You are awesome!
  5. You have impeccable manners.
  6. I like your style.
  7. You have the best laugh.
  8. I appreciate you.
  9. You are the most perfect you there is.
  10. You are enough.
  11. You’re strong.
  12. Your perspective is refreshing.
  13. I’m grateful to know you.
  14. You light up the room.
  15. You deserve a hug right now.
  16. You should be proud of yourself.
  17. You’re more helpful than you realize.
  18. You have a great sense of humor.
  19. You’ve got an awesome sense of humor!
  20. You are really courageous.
  21. Your kindness is a balm to all who encounter it.
  22. You’re all that and a super-size bag of chips.
  23. On a scale from 1 to 10, you’re an 11.
  24. You are strong.
  25. You’re even more beautiful on the inside than you are on the outside.
  26. You have the courage of your convictions.
  27. I’m inspired by you.
  28. You’re like a ray of sunshine on a really dreary day.
  29. You are making a difference.
  30. Thank you for being there for me.
  31. You bring out the best in other people.

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re someone with a kind heart. So we thought you’d enjoy this short video about how to blast your stress with kindness (especially on those rough days).

  1. Your ability to recall random factoids at just the right time is impressive.
  2. You’re a great listener.
  3. How is it that you always look great, even in sweatpants?
  4. Everything would be better if more people were like you!
  5. I bet you sweat glitter.
  6. You were cool way before hipsters were cool.
  7. That color is perfect on you.
  8. Hanging out with you is always a blast.
  9. You always know — and say — exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it.
  10. You help me feel more joy in life.
  11. You may dance like no one’s watching, but everyone’s watching because you’re an amazing dancer!
  12. Being around you makes everything better!
  13. When you say, “I meant to do that,” I totally believe you.
  14. When you’re not afraid to be yourself is when you’re most incredible.
  15. Colors seem brighter when you’re around.
  16. You’re more fun than a ball pit filled with candy. (And seriously, what could be more fun than that?)
  17. That thing you don’t like about yourself is what makes you so interesting.
  18. You’re wonderful.
  19. You have cute elbows. For reals!
  20. Jokes are funnier when you tell them.
  21. You’re better than a triple-scoop ice cream cone. With sprinkles.
  22. When I’m down you always say something encouraging to help me feel better.
  23. You are really kind to people around you.
  24. You’re one of a kind!
  25. You help me be the best version of myself.
  26. If you were a box of crayons, you’d be the giant name-brand one with the built-in sharpener.
  27. You should be thanked more often. So thank you!!
  28. Our community is better because you’re in it.
  29. Someone is getting through something hard right now because you’ve got their back.
  30. You have the best ideas.
  31. You always find something special in the most ordinary things.
  32. Everyone gets knocked down sometimes, but you always get back up and keep going.
  33. You’re a candle in the darkness.
  34. You’re a great example to others.
  35. Being around you is like being on a happy little vacation.
  36. You always know just what to say.
  37. You’re always learning new things and trying to better yourself, which is awesome.
  38. If someone based an Internet meme on you, it would have impeccable grammar.
  39. You could survive a Zombie apocalypse.
  40. You’re more fun than bubble wrap.
  41. When you make a mistake, you try to fix it.
  42. Who raised you? They deserve a medal for a job well done.
  43. You’re great at figuring stuff out.
  44. Your voice is magnificent.
  45. The people you love are lucky to have you in their lives.
  46. You’re like a breath of fresh air.
  47. You make my insides jump around in the best way.
  48. You’re so thoughtful.
  49. Your creative potential seems limitless.
  50. Your name suits you to a T.
  51. Your quirks are so you — and I love that.
  52. When you say you will do something, I trust you.
  53. Somehow you make time stop and fly at the same time.
  54. When you make up your mind about something, nothing stands in your way.
  55. You seem to really know who you are.
  56. Any team would be lucky to have you on it.
  57. In high school I bet you were voted “most likely to keep being awesome.”
  58. I bet you do the crossword puzzle in ink.
  59. Babies and small animals probably love you.
  60. If you were a scented candle they’d call it Perfectly Imperfect (and it would smell like summer).
  61. There’s ordinary, and then there’s you.
  62. You’re someone’s reason to smile.
  63. You’re even better than a unicorn, because you’re real.
  64. How do you keep being so funny and making everyone laugh?
  65. You have a good head on your shoulders.
  66. Has anyone ever told you that you have great posture?
  67. The way you treasure your loved ones is incredible.
  68. You’re really something special.
  69. Thank you for being you.

Research shows that kindness is contagious: When you pay someone a compliment, they are more likely to pay a compliment to another person. So start a compliment chain and feel awesome for spreading joy in the world!