7 Habits Of Considerate People

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NEW YORK – Taking a passive approach to behaving with consideration toward others can stem from our subconscious nature rather than intentional actions. However, that doesn’t mean we all can’t put a little effort toward being more considerate of those and the world around us. Here are seven habits that set considerate — and civil — people apart from the rest.

They practice empathy.

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“Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

It’s one thing to harbor a sense of empathy and another to put it into action. Considerate people are not only capable of figuratively putting themselves in other people’s shoes, they also actively choose to view the world beyond themselves. Theirsense of compassion for others drives them to connect, and they derive personal joy and satisfaction from this selfless exchange.

“I think when someone is not acting this way, just the behavior itself seems really selfish,” said Abdulhalim. “No one will ever understand the perspective of another unless they take that person’s hand and consider things how they see it.”

They smile often.

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Believe it or not, choosing to smile makes a significant impact on how others perceive you and your presence, not to mention your own mood. According to Abdulhalim, the body uses 42 different small muscles to smile, whereas a frown is the easy default. Make the effort to smile for the positive impact it has on others around you.

Abdulhalim suggests creating a reminder for yourself in developing this habit. “In the entrance of my building here, for example, there’s a big banner that says, ‘Civility, power,’ and different phrases that remind me that I need to smile at the face of a stranger, or maybe open the door for someone whom I don’t know, or maybe let them in the elevator first,” he said. “I think it is also very helpful to practice with yourself. If someone looks at themselves in the mirror and they frown or they smile, it’s a huge difference. You’ll realize how you look differently. People just don’t know how they look when they frown or when they give a nice smile.”

They are intuitive of other people’s needs.

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As you channel your sense of empathy and consider how others around you are feeling, choose to act on that information. You never know, simply asking someone how they’re doing — regardless of its impact on your life — can do wonders for their mood and self-esteem.

“When you get into the elevator and you have 10 seconds to make a good impression or just remain quiet and look at your cell phone, I think if you ask, ‘How is your day?’ just to be nice, that’s being considerate,” said Abdulhalim. “Let’s face it: Do you really want to know how that person’s day is going? Is it something that would add to or change your life? Especially if that person is a stranger. From the face of it, you really don’t want to know. You just ask the question because you want to make the person in front of you feel like they’re valued. And that’s the point of being considerate in this situation — it’s not the content of the answer, it’s the intention.”

They mind their manners.

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“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” – etiquette expert Emily Post

Being polite doesn’t begin and end with saying please, thank you, and you’re welcome. It involves a comprehensive acknowledgement of another person’s feelings and behaving accordingly. Follow the golden rule and treat others like you want to be treated — from being punctual (respecting others’ time) to not talking over others (exercising self-control) to actively listening to what others have to say.

“You can’t be considerate if you’re not really listening,” said Abdulhalim. “You have to really pay attention and grasp information, and even repeat it within yourself, to then provide feedback based on actual logic. Listen, process, and then act by logic, and pass that logic through empathy rather than blurting it out. Then the answer should come up with logic but in a considerate way.”

They put others first… sometimes.

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“He who doesn’t consider himself is seldom considerate of others.” – David Seabury

Selflessness can be a double-edged sword for considerate people. While prioritizing others’ needs over our own makes people happy and creates a sense of fulfillment for us, we often lose our ability to take care of ourselves first when necessary and say “no.” However, striking that balance is just as important as being considerate in the first place — otherwise, we fall into the realm of people-pleasing, which leads to a decrease in our own productivity, according to Abdulhalim.

“It’s hard, he said. “But practicing the ‘no’ in smaller situations will help you say ‘no’ in more crucial situations. Practice is very important. The sweet spot is to know when to be considerate of others and when to be considerate of yourself.”

They are patient — even when they don’t feel like it.

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Patience is far from a passive characteristic. It can be difficult to come by — especially when we feel stressed, overwhelmed, and surrounded everywhere by impatience. However, that’s all the more reason to find a sense of motivation and work on it.

“Many people I’ve met who are very nice and considerate would actually say, ‘Why should I be considerate when 95 percent of the time I finish last?’” said Abdulhalim. “And I agree with that logic, but you never lose if you are considerate. It depends really on how you look at it. Let’s say you’re civil to someone and they don’t reciprocate. Why don’t you use this as a motive for you to set a better example of how civility is really important for everyone? That goes back to being a positive influence. If you have this positive influence, then you have the motivation to be better and to influence others in a positive way.”

They apologize — but only when warranted.

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Some people say “sorry” incessantly for fear of offending others with any and every move they make. Others forgo apologies altogether, coming across as quite rude and insensitive. Similar to the people-pleasing tendencies of kind and considerate people, apologies must find a sense of equilibrium.

About the author

Saher Afshan

Saher Afshan is a Pakistani Journalist and web producer of PakistanTribe.com. She has a good experience of working in Pakistan's mainstream print and broadcasting media. Saher writes on current, social and Islamabad's affair for both PakistanTribe English and Urdu.

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