Being considerate is perhaps one of the most underrated values in our generation. Ask anyone what is important to them in a relationship, and they may be very quick to say trust, love, and commitment. Rarely do we think of being considerate as a valuable attitude in others. But, come to think of it, it is what keeps our relationships smooth sailing. Being considerate is simply having the next person in mind—it is remembering to put things back the way you found them, or simply holding the door for the next person who will pass through.
Because of this definition, some people mistake being considerate as the same thing as being civil. There is a fine line between the two—being civil is simply doing things as expected from us, while being considerate of others is doing things with empathy and sensitivity. In short, it’s simply being nice to people because you want to, not because it’s what you were conditioned to do.
We may not realize it, but sometimes, we forget how to be mindful of other people. Some would even go as far as saying that being considerate of others is a lost art. In fact, look around you now and see how we have become the “Me, me, me!” generation. We have become a people obsessed with ourselves at the expense of how we relate with other people. But do not think for a second that we are doomed—we can still change this.
Check out the 7 ways to be considerate of others below, and see whether you are doing any of these to be mindful of others:
1. Listening intently
When people share stories and ideas with you, it means that they value your input and attention. So, listen to them with intention. Show the person that you are interested by affirming their ideas, or responding during appropriate times. During conversations, some people forget to listen, and sometimes, even take over the dialogue. Avoid this by keeping your responses for later. It’s never nice to interrupt a person who is talking.
2. Practicing honesty with tact
When it is your turn to speak, consider how you should phrase your side. Considerate people think their words through, and know that there is always a better way of saying things. While honesty is valued by most people, it is still best to practice it with tact. People appreciate it when we tell the truth, but we can still offend them if we use the wrong words. Instead of saying “You did it wrong,” maybe say, “You can try again.” Remember that the words we say have the power to wound other people. We can be right, but still be wrong in how we say things.
3. Minding their manners
Considerate people know to mind their manners. Chew with your mouth closed. Listen when someone is talking. Do not talk when your mouth is full. Do not spit or litter in public spaces… The list can go on. All of these were taught at home and in school for a reason. These are the right things to do, because doing the opposite is disrespectful and careless. Just think of it this way: always be intentional about the things you do. If you value being clean, well-mannered, and well-behaved, tailor your actions accordingly. All it takes is some distinction of what is proper and not.
4. Considering other people’s time
Most of us have lied about where we are and what time we will be arriving when meeting up with loved ones, or worse, colleagues and bosses. We do not like having our times wasted, so it is only right not to do it to other people. Never make other people wait past your agreed time. This will tell them that you do not respect your commitment, and you do not respect them enough to be there as you planned. Just put yourself in other people’s shoes—what would you feel if someone’s late for your meeting?
5. Anticipating their loved one’s needs
If there is something that will best exemplify what being considerate is, it is this attitude. What else can show your consideration for others better than planning their needs ahead? Anticipating other people’s needs will make them feel like you really care and thought of them. It is arguably the greatest expression of love.
6. Empathizing before judging
Some people find it so easy to judge another person based on a few things they hear or observe. Forming a judgment without seeing the whole picture—good and bad details, both—is just plain immature. The key to being considerate of other people is to simply empathize. Think of why a person acts a certain way. Is she quiet just because she doesn’t like your company, or is it maybe because something bad happened before you saw each other? Jumping to conclusions can cause the ruin of some relationships. Let’s not risk going to that level by simply exercising some empathy.
7. Apologizing when it is warranted
Sometimes, we really mess up and hurt other people. It may be because of our lapse in judgment, or perhaps we lacked courtesy and forgot to consider how the other person will feel. We have to admit that it is difficult to say “I’m sorry,” but most of the time, it is outweighed by the consequence of our pride. We might as well go ahead and say it (and mean it!) instead of putting your relationships at stake. Being sorry is not an act of weakness. Admitting your mistakes and knowing how it has affected other people are strengths.
Being considerate of others may be a rare quality, but it is surely one that can be easily learned. Our minds can be trained and re-framed to think “Less of me, more of others.” Consideration is simply thoughtfulness in action. So be thoughtful. No one ever loses from being mindful of how the people around them feel. What can you do today to become a kinder and more thoughtful version of yourself?
ALSO READ: 20 Ways to Show Compassion to Others