12 Easy Ways To Be A Better Person
It’s a messy, noisy world and we all have to live in it together. Here’s 12 easy ways to be a better person without needing to go full Mother Theresa.
#1 Leave reviews for small businesses that you like
Reviews can make or break small businesses, and sometimes only the person who had a one-off terrible experience will take time to review them. Set aside five minutes to write a positive review for your ride-or-die cafe, nail bar or barber. Make sure you recommend particular services or dishes that you enjoy and shout out to any staff members who have boss customer service skills. You’ll not only be putting some positivity out into the world, you’ll be helping a small business thrive.
#2 Take responsibility for your own sh*t
The next time you leave a mouldy mug in the sink at work, ask yourself “if I don’t do this, will somebody else have to?” This question applies wherever you are – at home, at work, at the supermarket, at the pub. Wipe down your sweaty treadmill, change the toilet paper roll and take the time to put back the $50 scented candle you decided not to buy (well done), rather than leaving it on a shelf in the underwear section.
#3 Add birthday reminders to your calendar
Who are the five people that you’re closest to? Open your calendar and add a reminder for two weeks before their birthdays. Have a quick snoop on their Facebook profile if you can’t remember their birthday digits. This two-week reminder window will give you plenty of time to organise putting a birthday card or maybe a small gift in the post.
There’s something special about receiving snail mail and it’s extra nice around birthdays when the combined stress of event organisation and ageing can give people a serious case of the birthday blues.
#4 Put your phone away when you’re ordering coffee
This isn’t an all-out digital detox – it’s putting your phone away for all of the small interactions you have with other people. Put your phone in your bag for the five minutes that it takes to order your latte or bag up your groceries. Be present in the moment, especially if there’s a person helping you out. Say thank you.
#5 Carry supplies
Fill up a Ziplock baggie with the useful stuff that you always wish you had with you. Start with paracetamol, a few safety pins, an iPhone cable and some mints. Maybe add some tampons, a hair tie and some bobby pins. Carry your supplies in your bag, or throw them in your car or your desk drawer. The next time someone asks you for painkillers you’ll be able to smugly supply their needs.
#6 Pass on your positive feedback
Has a gym instructor, Uber driver or customer service rep gone out of their way to help you? If someone’s work has made your life easier make sure to pass on this feedback to the organisation that they work for. At the very least that person will be congratulated on their work but at the most you might help them secure a promotion or a pay rise.
#7 Only say yes if you mean it
Only make commitments if you’re actually going to keep them. If you know you’re likely to flake on Friday night drinks because you’ve had a busy week, say no instead. If you’re probably going to flake on a Saturday morning yoga class because you’re going to Saturday night drinks, say no instead. Saying no can be intimidating but it’s definitely better than flaking out last minute.
#8 Use your platform for good
Have a think about what areas of your life you’re slaying right now. Is there a way you could use that success to help other people? If you have loads of Twitter followers maybe you could share a friend’s crowdfunding campaign. If you’ve nailed a university subject or you’re killing it in your field could you take the time to have a coffee with someone who is just starting out and would appreciate your advice?
#9 Stop buying products with microbeads
Microbeads are those tiny plastic particles in beauty products like cleansers and body wash. Microbeads are seriously bad for the environment and they’re not great for your skin either – rather than gently exfoliating, the rough plastic can actually tear your skin. Coles and Woolworths have committed to phasing out products that contain microbeads from 2017 but you can stop buying them right now. Try making a body scrub at home instead.
#10 Tell someone about that thing in their teeth
Even though it’s awkward, be the person that tells someone they have a giant piece of coriander in their teeth. Try to make them feel as comfortable as possible and tell them quickly, kindly and quietly. My personal rule on this one is that I always let someone know if it’s something they can easily fix – like a dress tucked up in their undies or a smudge on their nose.
I keep quiet if it’s something that person can’t fix right there and then, like a typo in the middle of a PowerPoint presentation or a scalp full of dandruff. If it’s not an easy fix, you’re just embarrassing someone.
#11 Give compliments
When it comes to compliments I use the airport security approach: if you see something, say something. If you like a person’s haircut, writing or tracksuit pants you should tell them, even if they’re a stranger on the train and you might never see them again. It’ll brighten their day and yours. For an added self-love bonus, try giving yourself compliments too.
#12 Stop showing up empty-handed
This one is simple. If somebody invites you to their house, pick up something on the way over. You don’t have to spend a fortune – try grabbing some limes if you’re having beers, a bunch of fresh herbs if you’re having dinner or a flower from the garden for more of those… late night visits ;)
Ally Garrett is a Sydney-based writer and performer. Her writing has been published on Jezebel, The Wireless and The Guardian. Ally’s work often touches on body positivity, like her recent performance in Force Majeure’s dance-theatre show, Nothing to Lose. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @allygarrett