Sunday, December 11, 2005

How To Be Nice

From one of my favorite magazines, Real Simple, comes this list of small, simple ways to do kindnesses for family, friends, and even strangers. Do just a couple of these things and I promise you'll feel better.

I can prove it. Arriving at the drive-through at the same time as another car, the other driver waved me in first with a smile. Nice person, right? Remembering my Real Simple, I paid for their order. Both the smile from the cashier and imagining the other driver's reaction gave me a great feeling all day long.

Just a few of the other Real Simple suggestions include:

When a store clerk or customer service rep does something nice, send an email or (even better) a letter to their supervisor praising so. It will mean so much to them, maybe even at salary review time.

Stop by your local police station or animal shelter or firehouse with a plate of brownies or some donuts and say thank you. Or bring donuts for the maintenance staff at your office building.

Overtip your breakfast waiter, who probably makes less than dinner waiters for the same work. (Which ties into a rule of mine: waiters in inexpensive restaurants work harder than waiters in expensive ones, so overtip the ones in the inexpensive ones. They shouldn't be penalized because you saved money on the food.)

Keep a list of the best shops in the neighborhood. That list, in a binder with addresses, phone numbers and maps, is the best housewarming gift you can give a new neighbor.

Wave someone else into a parking space instead of taking it yourself. Wouldn't kill you.

When an elderly person is crossing the street, walk at the same speed they do. It'll take you a few minutes longer, and they won't be as self-conscious about being stuck when the light changes as if they were alone.

Trade your low ticket number at the deli with someone who looks frazzled. (I would add that it's always good karma to let someone with fewer items cut in front of you at the supermarket.)

And I'll add one more of my own, predictable if you know me: Please, please don't buy a dog or cat from a pet store or breeder. Be a really nice person and good citizen and adopt one from a shelter. Trust me, I swear to you, you will get a healthier animal, a hardier animal, a happier animal, a better feeling, and you will save a bundle of money (in the initial purchase and in medical costs through the years).

And if you have a chance to do the right thing, get a better result, and save money? Jump on it.


Lisa said...

This just made me so happy! I love it! These are really great tips. My parents always told me to never pass an elderly person when you're walking behind them. The only time I do is to run ahead to open a door. You're a good guy, Mr. M!

Michael Markowitz said...

I AM a good guy... please tell your single friends. :-)

No, that's why I love REAL SIMPLE, it's such a great mix of practical tips and soul-enriching tips.