We’re often taught from a young age how to be considerate. But as we grow up, it can become easier to focus on our personal needs and forget the importance of this fundamental lesson.
When you learn to be more considerate, you fill your life with positivity and gain the respect of others. And by focusing more on others, you realize that giving is what makes you feel whole. And as a result, being more considerate will lead to a happier life for both yourself and the people around you.
This article will give you practical tools to begin to be more considerate starting today. You’ll learn that all it takes is a bit of awareness to improve your thoughtfulness.
What does it mean to be considerate?
Even though we are often taught to be considerate from a young age, many of us may not know exactly what this means.
A generic definition of being considerate would tell you that it means to be kind and polite toward others.
Research indicates that the definition of being considerate is partially dependent on your culture. This is because every culture values different behaviors and actions.
A good example could be found in eating at another person’s house. In America, if you gulp down your food quickly it’s considered rude. In some other countries, this is considered a sign of appreciation for the meal.
All this to say, you have to take into context what it means to be considerate based on your environment.
We can all generally agree though that being considerate means thinking of others first. And it also usually includes being more compassionate and patient.
Benefits of being considerate
It’s obvious that being considerate is going to benefit those around you. But research tells us that it also has big benefits for you.
Research shows that individuals who prioritize kindness to others are more resilient against stress. This same study also found that kindness enhanced their interpersonal connections.
Another study found that people who were more polite were likely to have better outcomes in negotiations.
Anecdotally, I know that when I’m more considerate I feel happier. Giving to others with kind words or giving my time always leaves me feeling uplifted.
On the other hand, when I’m grumpy or short with people, I feel uneasy. It cultivates a sense of negativity that then spreads to other aspects of my day.
The best way to see the effects of being considerate is to put it to the test. Focus on being more considerate for a day and observe the impact on your day. I promise you won’t regret it.
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5 ways to be more considerate
Now it’s time to put all this theory into action and teach you tangible ways to be more considerate.
By implementing these 5 tips, you and others will start to notice the benefits of your kindness.
1. Think about others’ needs first
This is the foundation of being a more considerate person. I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t natural for me.
But there are so many little moments during the day when we need to open our eyes to others’ needs.
Just yesterday I was caught up in taking out my trash. My mind was focused on getting my to-do list done.
Luckily, I picked up my head. I then saw my neighbor had dropped her groceries on the ground. She was struggling to pick them up off the ground as she’s an elderly woman.
I dropped what I was doing and helped her. She was so appreciative and we had a really meaningful conversation.
If I hadn’t gotten out of my own bubble, I would have missed out on this opportunity.
Each day, we’re given the chance to be more considerate. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes.
2. Respect others’ time
Being considerate of others’ time often means showing up on time. Or at the very least, it means communicating clearly if you’re not going to arrive on time.
I have a few patients who will consistently show up 30 minutes late. Now I understand that life happens and sometimes you are going to be late.
But when a patient shows up late every time, it makes me feel disrespected. And unfortunately, it can change the tone of the treatment session if I’m frustrated.
I do my best to be on time for my engagements because I want others to know I value their time. I want to show them the same respect that I’d like them to show to me.
Being on time is a simple way of demonstrating consideration for another person. We all have daily engagements that center around time, so you can start implementing this tip right now.
3. Listen more than you speak
This one is hard for me. I’m a big talker and I forget that sometimes this is inconsiderate.
If you find yourself interrupting or doing most of the talking, maybe take a step back. Take the time to listen to the other person.
When people feel heard, they feel respected and cared for. It’s such a simple thing to do, yet it’s so easy for me to forget.
I try to implement this one each day with my coworkers. It’s easy for me to interrupt my colleagues to voice what need’s to be done in the office. But when I take the time to listen to them and their needs, it’s apparent they feel more valued. It also helps to strengthen our relationship.
This one becomes especially important if you’re in a disagreement with someone. Be considerate and listen to their side.
If you want more tips regarding this topic, here’s our article on how to talk less and listen more.
4. Be willing to apologize
Sometimes, one of the most considerate things you can do is say I’m sorry. This is especially true when you know you’ve hurt someone.
When you say I’m sorry, you’re communicating that you care about the other person’s well-being.
I remember a few years back when I really hurt my friend’s feelings by forgetting to invite her to a dinner party. I had no intention of not inviting her and it was an honest mistake.
One of my other friends told me that this friend was really hurt by not being invited. I felt terrible, even though it was an honest mistake.
I immediately called up that friend and apologized. And I communicated that I know how rough it can feel to be left out.
This friend was gracious and forgave me. She told me that my apology showed that I really did care about our friendship.
5. Say thank you often
Probably the two most important words you need to learn to be considerate are “thank you”.
We really overlook the power of these two words. When you say thank you, you’re extending gratitude and appreciation for that person.
Even in my profession, I have patients who thank me at the end of a session. It may sound silly since I’m just doing my job, but that thank you means the world to me.
I do my best to look people in the eye and say thank you often. Whether it’s at the grocery checkout line or to my boss when he gives me a raise, saying thank you goes a long way.
Saying thank you takes two seconds. And it can be the difference between being considerate or inconsiderate in almost any situation in life.
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Being more considerate has the potential to change your life. When you stop focusing on yourself, you realize all the incredible people that surround you and find joy in giving. The tips from this article will help you to be more considerate and turn it into one of your personal traits. With a few days of practice, you and those around you will reap the benefits of your genuine kindness.
What’s your favorite way of showing that you’re considerate? And how has this impacted your life and that of those around you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!