Yeah, there needs to be a set of rules. Or at least a set of suggestions. This isn’t one of those vague, passive-aggressive posts that are so popular on social media right now. It’s just that I’ve observed several situations lately where simple kindness could have spared people hurt feelings, second thoughts about their self-worth, and basic humiliation.
I’m not saying I hit it out of the park all the time — nor do I think people should be smiling robot punching bags for others. I just think there are ways to communicate disagreement or amusement without trashing someone else’s belief system or reality. It really is about balance. Aren’t many things in life?
I try to live by these rules. I hope it’s why, in part, a few people think I’m basically a nice person. Feel free to add to the list.
- Empathy counts. Put yourself in the other person’s place before you speak.
- Look at people when they talk to you; if you can’t be genuinely interested in what they have to say, pretend for a few minutes. Nothing lasts forever.
- Never laugh at someone’s dreams, no matter how silly you think they are. For good or ill, people’s feelings are real to them. If you’ve ever shared something very personal and special, only to be greeted with baffled looks and incredulous laughter, you know what I mean.
- Resist the temptation to always give advice. Eight times out of ten, it’s not your job. and not what the other person is seeking.
- Speak to others as you’d have them speak to you. If it’s not with kindness and *gasp!* occasional deference, they’re hanging with the wrong people.
- Do nice things for others without expecting repayment or recognition.
- Resist the temptation to be “that guy” — the one whose job it is to pick apart every comment or find fault in every opinion. Don’t get me wrong: you’re entitled. But it makes you look like a jerk.
- Learn how to disagree or question without malice. No one has to be a “yes man,” or pretend to agree when he doesn’t. But there’s a way, and there’s a way, feel me? Remember: words can hit harder than any fist.
- Actually listen — not just wait your turn to speak. Let stuff sink in before you react.
- This is the hardest one for me: When someone hurts you, don’t react like a wounded animal. Striking back is usually our first defense, and most often the least wise. Don’t repay aggression with aggression. If the aggressor doesn’t have a sparring partner, there’s no point in continuing the barrage. If he does continue, it’s your job to remove yourself from the situation. Life’s too short to constantly be in the position of defending yourself. (That gets old really fast, believe me.) If you choose it, that’s fine, but no one should be backed into that corner against his will.
Those are my ten. Any to add?