How to Be Friendly and Kind


With many things in life, a little goes a long way—and the same goes with kindness! Whether you’re in a bad mood or hanging around someone you don’t like, it can be tough to be nice to others at any given moment. However, it’s easier than you think to make the world a friendlier and kinder place. By creating a warm environment, you can set the stage for friendly conversation, which is a great way to make the people around you feel valued and appreciated. You can also prioritize friendliness and kindness in your daily life by taking the time to encourage your loved ones and avoiding bad social habits. Soon enough, you’ll be one step closer to making someone’s day a little bit better!

Part 1
Maintaining a Positive Presence

Maintaining a Positive Presence on How to Be Friendly and Kind

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Put other people at ease by offering them a smile. A single grin can help start a new conversation, which can potentially lead to a friendship! Studies also show that smiling is contagious, and that most people you smile at will return the gesture.[1] Smiling is beneficial for you as well! Aside from brightening another person’s day, smiling releases many positive chemicals throughout your brain.

Maintaining a Positive Presence on How to Be Friendly and Kind

2
Take some time to network by speaking with people you don’t know as well. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy—a lot of times, introductions are valuable because they make others feel welcome while releasing any tension from the room.[2] For example, if you’re at a church or school function and see a new person, casually go up to them and say, “I don’t think we’ve met before. My name is Jane Doe. What’s yours?”

Maintaining a Positive Presence on How to Be Friendly and Kind

3
Keep your eyes on another person throughout the conversation. If your gaze is wandering, you’ll look closed off and unfriendly, which may make other people feel uncomfortable. By maintaining strong eye contact, you’re letting the other person know that you value their time, and that you care about whatever they have to say.[3]If you’re distracted or in a rush, let the other person know. They’ll appreciate the heads up a lot more than you being distracted throughout the conversation.

Part 2
Helping Others Feel Comfortable

Helping Others Feel Comfortable on How to Be Friendly and Kind

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Use polite language to address everyone around, regardless of the location. Simple habits like holding the door and using courteous language can create a much friendlier environment, and help to make everyone around you feel more at ease.[4] For example, if you don’t hold the door for someone, you’ll give off a rude, uncaring vibe.

Helping Others Feel Comfortable on How to Be Friendly and Kind

2
Go out of your way to say something nice about someone else. Everyone loves compliments, so don't be afraid to say something positive about another person. Try to avoid giving out excessive compliments, though, as these might come off as insincere or mocking. Try to offer compliments that aren’t just skin-deep, but instead that praise the person’s talents and motivations.[5] For example, if someone is sketching a picture, say something like, “I love your art style! It’s so unique and special.” If a person seems especially uncomfortable receiving praise, don’t compliment them a lot.

Helping Others Feel Comfortable on How to Be Friendly and Kind

3
Look for opportunities to help the people around you, be it holding the door or letting a car turn or drive in front of you on a heavily-trafficked road. One day, you may need to rely on the kindness and help of a stranger, so try and repay the favor ahead of time! Remember, the greatest value of community service comes from your desire to participate, so don’t help others just to make yourself look good.[6] If you want to go the extra mile, look for volunteer opportunities at soup kitchens and other helpful organizations.

Helping Others Feel Comfortable on How to Be Friendly and Kind

4
Let someone feel valued and heard by taking the time to truly listen to them. If you’re using your phone, set it aside and give the person all of your attention. Committing to listening to another person’s problems makes them feel like they matter, and will make you feel good, too! If the person is having trouble verbalizing their feelings, offer vague questions that help them to pin down their thoughts and feelings.[7]

Helping Others Feel Comfortable on How to Be Friendly and Kind

5
Take the time to check in with someone and see how their day is going. Don't just ask this question in passing, but ask it in a way that really shows you mean it and care about the person. If someone is having a lousy day, your sensitivity and consideration could make all the difference. Be sure to sound engaged when you’re speaking to other people—if you sound bored, then others will assume that you don’t care.[8] If someone seems to be in a bad mood, consider rephrasing your question. Asking things like “Is everything okay?” or “Is something on your mind?” can have a positive impact in the long run.

Part 3
Encouraging Loved Ones

Encouraging Loved Ones on How to Be Friendly and Kind

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Ask a friend or family member if you can give them a hug. While the question may seem odd, hugs are some of the best ways to physically show your support and affection toward another person. Make sure to ask for permission before immediately wrapping your arms around another person—even if you both are close, some people prefer to remain untouched.[9]Consider offering free hugs to complete strangers as well. You never know how a random act of love and support can positively influence someone’s day.

Encouraging Loved Ones on How to Be Friendly and Kind

2
Section off your schedule to hang out with a friend or family member. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion—in fact, the people in your life might be more touched that you want to spend time with them for no reason at all.[10] Ask ahead of time before showing up at someone’s house. If the person already has plans, your kind and friendly gesture will look more like an intrusion. If you really want to hype up the occasion, send your friend or family member a text or email saying that you can’t wait to see them.

Encouraging Loved Ones on How to Be Friendly and Kind

3
Tell an upset friend or family member to let all of their feelings out. Saying that you hear and understand their pain is incredibly validating, and can be a huge encouragement. Offer them a shoulder to cry on, give them some healthy ways to release their anger. Regardless, the people in your life will appreciate your sensitivity and support with their problems.[11]

Encouraging Loved Ones on How to Be Friendly and Kind

4
Take a few minutes out of your day to shoot a text to a close friend or relative. The message doesn’t have to be lengthy, as long as it includes a greeting and brief message of support. Consider what the people in your life would find the most encouraging. Some people might like long messages, while others might appreciate shorter, concise messages. For instance, if you’re reaching out to a quieter, more reserved friend, consider sending something like, “Hey! Just wanted to let you know that you’re in my thoughts. Have a great day!” If you’re messaging someone you’re close with, send them something like, “I love you so much! I hope you have a wonderful day!”

Part 4
Curbing Unfriendly Practices

Curbing Unfriendly Practices on How to Be Friendly and Kind

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Avoid using excessive profanity around acquaintances and strangers. Without the proper context, you may look more vulgar than nice. If people see you cursing and getting angry, they'll likely feel uncomfortable. Instead, try inserting more positive topics into the conversation, or replacing your negative thoughts with more peaceful ones.[12] If you’re especially spiritual, consider praying or saying a mantra to prevent yourself from cursing.

Curbing Unfriendly Practices on How to Be Friendly and Kind

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Gossiping about people you know is mean, and it makes you look like a negative, untrustworthy person. If you want to be nice to the people you care about, don't talk about them behind their backs. If you really want to talk about drama, consider rerouting the conversation to a new celebrity scandal, or something that’s entirely unrelated to your group of friends.[13]

Curbing Unfriendly Practices on How to Be Friendly and Kind

3
Consider the people you’re speaking with before bringing up any sensitive topics. Depending on who’s around, certain conversations might be more awkward or uncomfortable than others. Try to stick to the safe, polite topics, like your health, the weather, school or whatever it is you have to talk about. These are much better matters to discuss, as opposed to controversial topics.[14]For example, if your friend has recently had a death in their family, avoid bringing up anything that could serve as a reminder.