A guide to promoting kindness

Samantha Simmons, Opinion Editor

Why? “Why” is a very simple question, yet for most, it is so hard to answer. I would like to know “why” so many things occur in our day to day life, but today I’m just going to apply this question to one thing. Why do people have to be so negative?

According to legend, people purposely enjoy making others feel bad about themselves in order to raise their personal status (in other words, the sky is blue!), but why? Instead of boring you with logical purposes and responses such as the social comparison theory or Freudian analysis, I’m just going to present five things one should think about to begin grasping the concept of this really cool thing called kindness.

1. Acknowledge other people’s existence- I do not care what social group you are in. I do not care if you’ve only ever had one class with this person. Say. Hello. People commonly overlook the blunt factuality that a simple hello in the hallway can make someone’s day. As of late, I have decided that humans are rolly pollies; we begin with this weak shell used to protect ourselves from harm, and we tend to use that shell when we sense danger in any social setting. But we eventually open ourselves to people who allow us to take the time we need to get comfortable, and these people that you open up to with remain with you for a long time.

2. Pay attention and ask questions- Something I am evidently very fond of is this fascinatingly beautiful thing called sonder, which basically means that each individual has an intricately woven life entirely outside your own. People are fascinating. Don’t waste your time on small talk (who cares about the weather?), and if you don’t like its inherent awkwardness either then don’t do it. People are interesting- get to know them beyond their preference of dog breed! I dare you.

3. Try not to be judgmental or close-minded- It’s okay to be opinionated, it is not okay to be close-minded. As I mentioned before, we all have our own back stories, each person has a reason for having the opinion they do and you are not allowed to shame someone for thinking on their own. If they are not fully educated on a subject, enlighten them, don’t scrutinize them. You are never right, and you are never wrong, we all only have opinions.

4. Don’t disagree with someone unless you have a reason to- If someone mentions that they like a certain book, please don’t respond with, “Okay, well, I don’t like it so…”. If you were to reply with, “Okay, I agree with some of the things you’re saying but I don’t like how the author did this because –”, then we are now open to have an intellectual debate. Never ever insert a negative opinion when someone is trying to express themselves positively.

5. Use common sense- Don’t do stupid things like utter a sarcastic comment barely in shot of the person you’re being rude to’s hearing range. It is one of the worst things you can do.