How to Be a Nicer Person (50 Tips + Expert Insights)

We all want to be nice people, but sometimes, it feels like a challenge. Many of us have felt that being nice means giving up our own needs or always putting others first. But here’s the truth: being nicer could actually make our lives better.

When we choose to be nice and kind, we create a ripple effect of positivity that touches every part of our lives and the lives of those around us. The good news is that this is something anyone can learn!

In this article, I’ll share some simple but powerful strategies for becoming a nicer version of yourself.

Table of Contents

Be Kind to Yourself First

Being a nicer person starts with being kind to yourself first. I mean, how can you genuinely show kindness and compassion to others if you don’t practice self-kindness? Here’s a quick tip list for self-kindness:

  • Practice positive self-talk: Replace negative thoughts with encouraging ones.
  • Set realistic goals: Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many tasks.
  • Forgive yourself: Understand that everyone makes mistakes, and that’s okay.

When you take care of your physical and mental well-being, you have more energy and a more positive outlook on life, which naturally makes you nicer to others.

"The more you become aware of judging yourself, and you learn to take responsibility for your feelings by learning what they are telling you, rather than avoiding them with various addictions, the nicer you will be to yourself and therefore to others.

When kindness has a higher priority for you than controlling yourself and others, you will find it easy to be nicer. You also need to get enough sleep and exercise and eat well. It's hard to be nice when you are tired and not feeling well."

— Dr. Margaret Paul | Psychologist | Author | Relationship Expert | Co-creator, Inner Bonding

Develop Empathy and Understanding

Empathy is a key component of being a nicer person. When you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective, feelings, and experiences, it becomes much easier to treat them with kindness and respect.

One way to develop empathy is by actively listening to others (we’ll discuss this more in the next section). When someone shares their thoughts or feelings with you, try to resist the urge to offer advice or relate the conversation to your own experiences.

Another way to build empathy is by exposing yourself to diverse perspectives. Read books or articles written by people from different backgrounds, watch documentaries or movies about social issues, or talk with people who have different life experiences.

The more you can broaden your understanding of the world and the challenges others face, the more empathetic and compassionate you’ll naturally become.

"Be objective. Try to look at situations from other people’s perspectives instead of just your own. This will enable you to develop empathy for others and to learn not to take things personally. You will respond to people with much more kindness if you do."

— Charlene Walters, MBA, Ph.D. | Writer and Speaker | Business & Branding Mentor | Author, Own Your Other

Practice Active Listening

Active listening means giving someone your full attention, being present in the moment, and truly hearing what they have to say.

When you practice active listening, you show others that you value their thoughts and feelings, which can create deeper connections and understanding.

Here are some tips for practicing active listening:

  • Minimize distractions: Put away your phone, turn off the TV, and give the person your undivided attention.
  • Use non-verbal cues: Make eye contact, nod your head, and use facial expressions to show that you’re engaged and interested in what they’re saying.
  • Avoid interrupting: Let the person finish their thoughts before responding. Resist the urge to jump in with your own stories or advice.
  • Ask clarifying questions: If something is unclear, ask questions to gain a better understanding. This shows you’re invested in the conversation and want to fully grasp their perspective.
  • Reflect and summarize: Paraphrase what the person has said to ensure you’ve understood them correctly.

By practicing active listening, you create a safe and supportive space for others to share their thoughts and feelings.

"Many times when we talk with others, while they are speaking we are already crafting our response that we will say next. This interrupts our ability to fully listen to what they have to say and your response will likely portray that.

By practicing mindful listening, you should try to absorb everything the other person is saying and only then determine what you will say next. Instead of relating this to something you have done, continue to dig deeper into what they are sharing. Ask questions and try to gain an understanding of the topic of discussion.

This type of conversing will not only make you seem a much nicer person, but it will also make you a nicer person as you learn and understand more about the people you speak to."

— Abby Marks | Master of Psychology | Mom Blogger, Sincerely Marks

Use Kind and Polite Language

Using kind and polite language can really change how people see and react to you. Words are powerful, and the way you use them matters a lot. Saying “please” and “thank you” may seem small, but these simple phrases show respect and gratitude.

Instead, make an effort to use positive, encouraging language that lifts others up. For example, instead of saying, “That’s a dumb idea,” try something like, “I appreciate your suggestion, but what if we looked at it from a different angle?”

Small changes in your language can make a big difference in how others perceive you and how they feel in your presence. Remember, being kind and polite is about finding a balance between expressing yourself honestly and considering others’ feelings.

Offer Genuine Forgiveness

Holding grudges and resentment can be a major barrier to being a nicer person. That’s why learning to offer genuine forgiveness is so important.

What does genuine forgiveness look like? Here are a few key aspects:

  • Letting go of the desire for revenge or punishment.
  • Focusing on the present and future rather than dwelling on the past.
  • Acknowledging your hurt feelings and giving yourself permission to feel them.
  • Communicating your forgiveness to the other person if it’s safe and appropriate to do so.
  • Choosing to see the humanity in the other person, even if you don’t condone their actions.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened or continue a relationship with someone who consistently treats you poorly. It simply means releasing the negative emotions and moving forward with a more positive outlook.

"Keep your lips still when you want to make sarcastic or otherwise derogatory remarks. Practice forgiveness, too, instead of holding a grudge. Forgiveness is an act, not an emotion or caving into someone.

You simply choose not to use the incident or controversy as a weapon against the person. You let the troubling thoughts go. Let the universe deal with the issue. You go on your merry way, being classy, calm, and pleasantly behaved."

— Yocheved Golani | Editor, eCounseling

Respect Others’ Boundaries and Personal Space

Respecting boundaries and personal space means if someone tells you they don’t like to be hugged, you respect that boundary by finding other ways to show affection, such as a warm smile or kind words.

Respecting others’ boundaries also means being mindful of your own actions and how they might impact others. This can include things like:

  • Being punctual and respecting others’ time and schedules.
  • Listen actively and avoid interrupting or talking over others.
  • Asking permission before borrowing or using someone else’s belongings.
  • Avoid gossiping or sharing others’ personal information without their consent.

By showing respect for others’ boundaries and personal space, you show that you value their comfort, autonomy, and well-being.

Be Honest and Trustworthy

Being honest means being truthful and sincere in your words and actions, even when it’s difficult. It’s about having integrity and standing up for what’s right rather than taking the easy way out or telling people what they want to hear.

Building trust takes time and consistency. It means following through on your commitments and keeping your word. When people know they can count on you to be honest and dependable, they’re more likely to see you as a genuinely nice person.

Of course, being honest doesn’t mean you have to be brutal or share every single thought that crosses your mind. It’s important to balance honesty with tact and kindness. Look for constructive ways to share the truth that consider others’ feelings.

If you do mess up or break someone’s trust, take responsibility, apologize sincerely, and work to make things right.

Cultivate Genuine Interest in Others

One of the most powerful ways to be a nicer person is to show genuine interest in others. When you take the time to listen, ask questions, and learn about someone else’s experiences, passions, and perspectives, you make them feel valued and appreciated.

Here are a few tips for cultivating genuine interest:

  • Look for common ground and shared interests that you can bond over.
  • Ask open-ended questions that encourage the other person to share more about themselves.
  • Practice active listening, giving the other person your full attention, and avoiding distractions.
  • Show empathy and validate the other person’s feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree with their perspective.
  • Remember details about the other person’s life and bring them up in future conversations to show that you were paying attention.

Smile More and Spread Positivity

Smiling is an easy and effective way to come across as a warmer, friendlier, and nicer person. When you smile, you’re signaling openness, friendliness, and a willingness to connect. Plus, smiling can boost your own mood and reduce stress—what’s not to love?

Of course, your smile should be genuine (no fake or forced grins needed!). Look for small, everyday reasons to smile throughout your day. Maybe it’s a funny text from a friend, a cute dog you pass on the street, or a coworker’s silly joke.

In addition to smiling, there are lots of other ways to spread positivity:

  • Give genuine compliments and praise others’ efforts and achievements
  • Share uplifting stories, quotes, or articles on social media or in conversation
  • Offer words of encouragement and support when others are facing challenges
  • Practice gratitude and share what you’re thankful for with others
  • Perform random acts of kindness, like buying coffee for the person behind you in line or leaving a kind note for a coworker
"[Smile] is the purest act of kindness. You don’t have to agree to be able to smile. You don’t have to like someone to smile. You don’t have to go out of your way to smile. A smile is one of the easiest and simplest acts of kindness and can make a significant difference...

As humans, our brain likes to mirror people. So, when you smile at someone, 9/10 times they will smile back—it’s science. This invokes a feeling of compassion and kindness between two people, and the act of smiling in itself boosts feel-good endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine."

— Brooke Nally | Yoga Instructor & Health and Wellness Coach, The Edge Yoga

Offer Help and Support Willingly

When you see someone struggling or in need, take the initiative to lend a hand or offer your assistance. This can be as simple as offering to run an errand for an elderly neighbor, or being a listening ear for a friend going through a tough time.

The key here is to offer your help willingly and without expectation of anything in return. Don’t make others feel like they owe you a favor or that you’re only helping them to gain something. Let your actions come from a place of genuine concern for others.

It’s also important to be mindful of others’ boundaries and autonomy when offering help. Sometimes, people may not want or need assistance, and that’s okay. Respect their wishes and avoid being pushy or overbearing. Just let them know that you’re there for them if and when they need you.

"[...] it isn’t like niceness is foreign to us; random acts of kindness happen every day. Look them up on social media. A random stranger pays the bill of a crying mother who can’t afford food at a checkout. 

So, why not be a nicer person and increase our chance of some niceness coming in our direction? Better still, be nice without expectation; it’s almost guaranteed to gives us a lovely feel-good rush.

And heaven knows, with every act of niceness, we could just be making the world a better place. Wouldn’t that be nice?"

Dr. Winfried Sedhoff | Family Physician and Therapist | Author, The Friendship Key

Give Sincere Compliments

Giving sincere compliments can brighten someone’s day and make them feel appreciated. A heartfelt compliment can boost someone’s confidence, strengthen your connection with them, and create an overall more supportive environment.

When giving compliments, focus on:

  • Character traits like kindness, integrity, or creativity that you value in the other person.
  • Specific qualities, skills, or achievements that you genuinely admire about the other person.
  • The effort and hard work someone has put into a task or project, rather than just the end result.
  • Physical attributes that the person has some control over, like their sense of style or a new haircut, rather than inherent features they can’t change.

Remember, the key to giving sincere compliments is authenticity. Don’t just say something nice for the sake of it or because you feel like you should. Only give compliments that you truly mean, and avoid overreacting or being insincere.

Refrain from Gossip and Negative Talk

Gossip and negative talk can be incredibly damaging to relationships and create a toxic environment. As someone striving to be a nicer person, it’s important to refrain from engaging in these behaviors and instead focus on uplifting and supportive conversations.

If you find yourself tempted to gossip or speak negatively about someone, stop and ask yourself:

  • Is this information true and verified, or just speculation and rumor?
  • Can I find something positive to say about this person or situation instead?
  • How would I feel if someone were saying these things about me behind my back?
  • Is sharing this information necessary or beneficial, or am I just looking to feel superior or gain attention?

Respond Calmly and Control Emotions

Staying calm and controlling your emotions, especially in challenging situations, is a big part of being a nicer person. When you’re able to keep your cool and respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively, you’re more likely to treat others with kindness and respect.

Here are some quick techniques to respond calmly:

  • Take deep breaths: Helps to slow down and think more clearly.
  • Count to ten: Gives you time to cool off.
  • Take a break: Step away from the situation, if possible.
"Learn to control your emotional state so that others do not have the power to push you around, or set-off those hot-buttons because you disarmed them ahead of time. This is Personal Power none can mess with.

Quick ways to do this include 3 little things:

• What we do with our body, our posture–holding your head high and keeping a dignified pose, smiling–increases happy hormones, do it all the time–it keeps people guessing what’s going on!

• The things we think, including our self-talk, keep it upbeat and positive, be your own ideal coach, and watch your life change!

• What we say, positivity is key to a great mentality.

Our Personality equals our Personal Reality... Personal development and motivation help keep us on track."

— Jo Hawkins | Transformation & Business Coach | International Speaker

Embrace Open-Mindedness and Non-Judgment

When we make snap judgments about others based on limited information or our bias, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to connect with others and see them for who they truly are.

Embracing open-mindedness and non-judgment means:

  • Being willing to consider perspectives and experiences that differ from your own.
  • Avoid making assumptions about others based on their appearance, background, or beliefs.
  • Approaching each interaction with curiosity and a desire to understand rather than a need to be right or prove a point.
  • Recognizing and challenging your own biases and prejudices and striving to be more inclusive and accepting of diversity

It’s important to note that being open-minded and nonjudgmental doesn’t necessarily mean you have to agree with or condone everyone’s actions or beliefs. It’s more about creating a respectful space for dialogue, even in the face of disagreement.

"[...] You must remember that most people are doing their best. Practice giving yourself a break and reaching for thoughts that are more compassionate, even if your first thought is judgmental or unkind. 

Assume the best in other people and in yourself. [...] Practice saying daily affirmations that are compassionate and loving towards yourself and others."

— Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, MFT, ATR | Licensed Psychotherapist, Create Your Life Studio | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Author, I LOVE MYSELF; Affirmations For A Happy Life

Think Before You Speak

Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment that you later regretted? I know I have, and it’s a terrible feeling. That’s why thinking before you speak is an important habit to develop as a nice person. Before speaking, take a moment to consider:

  • Is what I’m about to say true, necessary, and kind?
  • How might my words be perceived or interpreted by the other person?
  • Is there a more thoughtful, considerate way to express what I’m thinking or feeling?
  • Am I speaking from a place of genuine understanding and empathy, or am I just reacting based on my own assumptions or emotions?

Pausing to reflect before speaking can help you avoid saying things you don’t mean, hurting others’ feelings unintentionally, or escalating conflicts unnecessarily.

Be Fully Present in Interactions

In today’s fast-paced, digitally connected world, it’s easy to get distracted and only half-engage in our interactions with others. But if you want to be a genuinely nice person, it’s important to be fully present when you’re talking to someone.

What does being fully present look like? It means:

  • Asking follow-up questions and showing genuine interest in what the other person is saying.
  • Make eye contact and use open, engaged body language to show you’re actively listening.
  • Focusing on the conversation rather than letting your mind wander to your to-do list or other concerns.
  • Put away your phone, close your laptop, or turn off the TV and give the other person your undivided attention.
"As adults, we can be mindful of other people around us by physically looking up and being more thoughtful and considerate.

We can infuse kindness into our every day lives with very little effort or hardship on our part. These mindful acts make someone else’s day just a little bit easier and we don’t really know how big of an impact that can have on someone else’s day.

• We can look behind us to see if someone is there before letting go of the door.
• We can help a mama with a stroller and a toddler in tow get through the door.
• We can tuck our legs as someone is trying to pass.
• We can move our bags off our chair so someone else can sit down.
• We can give up our seat to someone who needs it more than us.
• We can bus our table at a restaurant and throw our trash away at a movie theater."

— Nicole Black | Owner and Creator, Coffee and Carpool: Raising Kind Kids

Acknowledge Others’ Efforts

Everyone likes to feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. That’s why acknowledging others’ efforts and achievements is such a powerful way to be a nicer person.

Make a habit of noticing and commenting on the good things people do, big and small. This could be anything from congratulating a coworker on a successful project to thanking your partner for cooking dinner after a long day. The key is to be specific and sincere in your praise rather than just offering generic compliments.

For example, instead of just saying, “Good job,” you might say something like, “I really admire how you stayed calm and focused under pressure during that client presentation.” Being specific shows that you’re paying attention and truly value the other person’s contributions.

"One phrase I find myself using a lot, and in fact whenever I travel I make sure I know how to say it well in the language of the country I’m visiting, is “Thanks for all you do.”

People in the service industry, standing behind counters, waiting on tables and the like, go through a lot in dealing with the general public. Often they’re mistreated. [...] It’s great to see the big smile I so often get when I say this—a gift that comes back to make me feel good, as well.

The karma we create by being nice is it’s own reward, whether there’s a positive response or not, though. It’s a great way to live, lower our stress, and feel better about our world and ourselves."

Arlene B. Englander, LCSW, MBA | Licensed Psychotherapist | Author, Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A Five-Point Plan for Success

Apologize Quickly and Sincerely

No matter how nice we try to be, we all make mistakes and say or do things that hurt others sometimes. A truly nice person is able to apologize quickly and sincerely when those moments happen.

A good apology typically involves:

  • Asking for forgiveness and being open to rebuilding trust over time.
  • Taking responsibility without making excuses or trying to shift blame.
  • Expressing genuine remorse and regret for the impact of your actions.
  • Acknowledging the specific thing you did or said that was hurtful or wrong.
  • Offering to make amends or take steps to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

I think a lot of people have a hard time apologizing because they see it as a sign of weakness or an admission of guilt. But in reality, a sincere apology is a sign of strength, maturity, and empathy. It shows that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions and make things right.

"Everyone makes mistakes. Even you. It’s what you do after the mistake that is an opportunity to be a better person. [...] owning up to a mistake is freeing because you no longer have to expend energy on trying to ignore it, or justifying your actions.

How do you do it? Say something simple, like, “You know how I did or said that thing? I messed up. I’m sorry. I wish I would have handled that differently.”

I can’t promise it will lead to a big heart-to-heart. You might only get a nod or a shrug. It still matters. You’re still modeling the behavior you’d like to receive. And that’s what being a better person is all about—being the change you wish to see."

Kate Hanley | Author | Writer | Coach | Podcast Host, How to Be a Better Person

Celebrate Others’ Successes

One of my favorite ways to be a nicer person is by genuinely celebrating others’ successes and happy moments. Whether it’s a friend getting a promotion or a family member reaching a goal, taking the time to acknowledge and share in their joy is a powerful way to show you care.

Celebrating others’ successes can take many forms, such as:

  • Sending a heartfelt congratulatory message or card.
  • Treating them to a celebratory lunch or coffee date.
  • Publicly praising their achievements on social media or in a group setting.
  • Offering to help them take the next step in their journey or reach their next goal.

The key is to be real in your excitement and support. Don’t just go through the motions or compare their success to your own. Instead, focus on how happy you are for them and how much you admire their hard work and dedication.

"Think creatively about how to show your joy at someone else’s happiness. Spend more time with someone who wants to interact with you. Put your digital devices away and focus on real-time, real relationships, and genuine social skills, too."

— Yocheved Golani | Editor, eCounseling

Create an Inclusive and Welcoming Environment

Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment means making a conscious effort to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and valued, regardless of their background, identity, or beliefs.

Some ways to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment include:

  • Challenging and calling out biased or discriminatory behavior when you see it happening.
  • Creating opportunities for people to share their stories, talents, and ideas in a safe, supportive space.
  • Actively seeking out diverse voices and perspectives in conversations and decision-making processes.
  • Using inclusive language and avoiding words or phrases that could be seen as offensive or marginalizing.
  • Educating yourself about different cultures, experiences, and social issues to broaden your understanding and empathy.

Be Consistent in Your Kindness

Think about this: if you only choose to be kind when you are in a good mood or when others are watching, people may begin to question your sincerity. Instead, aim to be kind through small and consistent everyday actions.

  • Make kindness a daily practice in both small and big actions.
  • Reflect on your actions at the end of the day and think of ways you can improve or continue your kindness consistently.
  • Recognize that every interaction is an opportunity to demonstrate kindness, whether it’s with family, friends, colleagues, or strangers.

Consistency in kindness shows that your niceness is not just an occasional event but a part of who you are. It’s also important to remember that being consistent in your kindness doesn’t mean being perfect or never having off.

Like we mentioned earlier, we will make mistakes sometimes and we should know how to apologize sincerely.

Validate Others’ Feelings and Experiences

Validating others’ feelings and experiences doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything someone says, but it does mean accepting their right to their feelings.

For example, let’s say a friend comes to you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by a challenging situation at work. Instead of immediately offering advice or trying to “fix” the problem, a validating response might sound something like:

“That sounds like a really tough situation. It’s totally normal to feel that way when you’re dealing with so much pressure and uncertainty.”

I think a lot of people have a tendency to try to fix or minimize others’ problems, especially when they’re uncomfortable or don’t know what to say. But often, what people really need is simply to feel heard and understood.

Cultivate Patience and Understanding

Patience and understanding are two essential qualities of a nice person, but they don’t always come naturally. That’s why it’s important to actively cultivate these traits through mindfulness, self-reflection, and practice.

One way to cultivate patience is to practice reframing frustrating situations or setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. For example, if you’re stuck in a long line at the grocery store, instead of getting irritated, you might use that time to practice deep breathing or send a text to a friend.

We all have moments when we feel frustrated, impatient, or judgmental—the key is to be self-aware in those moments and make a conscious effort to choose a more kind, understanding response.

Perform Random Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness are one of my favorite ways to spread joy and positivity in the world. They’re simple, spontaneous gestures that brighten someone else’s day and remind them that they matter and are cared for.

Some examples of random acts of kindness include:

  • Leaving a kind, appreciative note for a coworker, neighbor, or loved one.
  • Donating books, clothes, or other gently used items to a local charity or shelter.
  • Paying for the person’s order behind you in the drive-thru or at the coffee shop.
  • Sending a care package or thoughtful gift to a friend going through a tough time.
  • Offering to help someone with a task or errand, even if they don’t ask for it directly.

The beauty of random acts of kindness is that they don’t have to be grand or expensive to make an impact. Even small, simple gestures can have a ripple effect and inspire others to pay it forward in their own lives.

"I’d suggest that if someone really wants to make a serious effort to be nicer or kinder, take it gradually. Don’t declare that from this day forth you will always be kind, compassionate, and Mother Teresa-like. That just sets you up for failure.

Instead, say you will aim to be 5 or 10 percent nicer and look for opportunities throughout your day. Remember that kindnesses aren’t generally grand gestures, but the day-to-day courtesies we choose (or don’t choose) to extend to one another...

After you’ve worked at being 5-10 percent kinder for a week or two, add another 5 or 10 percent. Pretty soon, you’ve become a nicer person and the world is a nicer place."

— Donna Cameron | Author, A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You

Shift Your Focus Outward

To be a nicer person, one helpful strategy is redirecting your attention from your own needs to the needs and concerns of others. This shift can transform your interactions. Here’s how this can greatly improve your interactions:

  • Listen more than you speak: Prioritize understanding others’ perspectives over expressing your own.
  • Offer assistance before being asked: This might mean helping someone carry something heavy or offering your seat on public transport.
  • Consider the impact of your actions on others: Thinking about how what you do affects others encourages more thoughtful behavior.
"To be a nicer person, we need to think outside ourselves. We need to see life from another person’s perspective. This may sound simple, but most people only look at life as if they were the center of everything.

Once you assume someone else’s perspective, you will grow to understand that things on the ‘outside’ are not necessarily how it is on the ‘inside’. People have troubles, worries, and doubts just like you do...

Being nicer to others in thought, words, and actions are what we should all strive to do, but it does require getting outside your own head to actually do so."

Janie Jurkovich | Speaker | Author, Live the Life You Have Imagined

Be Mindful and Considerate of Others

Mindfulness is about being aware of your surroundings and the people within it, taking the time to think about how your words, actions, and choices might affect the people around you, and making a conscious effort to act in ways that are respectful, thoughtful, and kind.

One simple but powerful way to practice mindfulness and consideration is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you speak or act. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How might this person feel or interpret what I’m about to say or do?
  • Is there a kinder, more tactful way to express myself or handle this situation?
  • What might this person need or appreciate from me in this moment?
"You may choose to practice Metta meditation. Metta meditation is the practice of loving-kindness towards yourself and others. You can find Metta meditation practice videos on YouTube. 

Another wonderful meditation practice is the Hawaiian practice of H’oponopono. H’oponopono has four parts to the practice:

• Admitting responsibility, “I’m sorry”
• Asking for forgiveness, “Please forgive me.”
• Expressing gratitude, “Thank you.”
• Giving love, “I love you.”

People who are unkind have a war going on inside of themselves. End the war inside of yourself, and it will become second nature to end the war with others, as well."

— Christine Scott-Hudson, MA, MFT, ATR | Licensed Psychotherapist, Create Your Life Studio | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Author, I LOVE MYSELF; Affirmations For A Happy Life

Avoid Unnecessary Criticism

Constructive feedback and critical thinking are important skills, but let’s be real—sometimes, we tend to criticize others unnecessarily or harshly. But there’s a big difference between offering helpful feedback and simply picking faults.

If you want to be a nicer person, it’s important to be mindful of when and how you offer criticism or feedback. Before you speak up, ask yourself:

  • Is there a kinder, more constructive way to express my concerns or suggestions?
  • Is this criticism truly necessary or helpful, or am I just venting my own frustrations or insecurities?
  • Do I have all the information and context needed to offer an informed, fair perspective?
  • Have I considered the other person’s feelings and experiences and how my words might impact them?

If you feel that your criticism is truly necessary and valuable, aim to deliver it in a specific, actionable way that is focused on the behavior or situation rather than the person.

For example, instead of saying, “You’re so disorganized and unreliable,” say, “I noticed that you missed a few key deadlines on this project. Let’s talk about some strategies for staying on track.

Practice Gratitude and Appreciation

When you make a habit of noticing and expressing thanks for the good things and people in your life, you start to shift your focus away from negativity and comparison toward abundance, joy, and connection.

One simple way to practice gratitude is to start each day by listing things you’re thankful for. These can be big things, like your health, relationships, or small things, like a beautiful sunset, or a kind word from a friend.

Another way to practice gratitude is to express appreciation to others. This can be as simple as saying “thank you” more often, writing a note of gratitude to someone who has made a difference in your life, or celebrating others’ contributions and successes.

Practicing gratitude turns what we have into enough and more, strengthening your relationships and creating a sense of positivity and kindness.

Make Eye Contact and Connect

When you make eye contact with someone, you send a powerful message that you see them and are fully present in the interaction. Of course, making eye contact can feel vulnerable or uncomfortable at first, especially if you’re shy or introverted.

But, like any skill, it gets easier with practice. Start small by making a point to look up and smile at cashiers, baristas, or passersby throughout your day. As you get more comfortable, challenge yourself to hold eye contact for longer periods and engage in more substantive conversations with the people you interact with.

"Something simple but powerful you can do every single day is to make it a point to look people in the eye. Making eye contact is a tiny little thing that has a huge impact. It reminds you and the person you’re looking at that we are all in this together. 

It helps you feel the connection we all share with each other that’s easy to ignore or forget about when you’re in your own little world. You won’t always have time to volunteer or money to give, but you always have your attention and you can offer that to others."

Kate Hanley | Author | Writer | Coach | Podcast Host, How to Be a Better Person

Listen More, Speak Less

In any conversation, listening is just as important as speaking, if not more so. It shows you value the thoughts and opinions of others and are genuinely interested in understanding their perspective.

If you want to be a genuinely nicer person, one of the best things you can do is to practice the art of listening more and speaking less. This means:

  • Resisting the urge to interrupt or offer unsolicited advice.
  • Asking open-ended questions to encourage them to share more.
  • Give others your full, undivided attention when they’re speaking.
  • Reflecting back on what you’ve heard to show you’re actively listening.
  • Being comfortable with moments of silence or pause in the conversation.

Now, this isn’t to say that you should never share your own thoughts, experiences, or perspectives. But by making a conscious effort to listen more and speak less, you create more space for others to feel heard, valued, and understood.

"When someone is speaking to you, the kindest thing you can do for that person is holding space for them through listening. This allows them to feel safe, understood, and can even let them move through whatever they are expressing.

Maybe you don’t necessarily even agree with what they are saying—rather than rebutting, arguing, or disagreeing... listening means you are agreeing to hear them out."

— Brooke Nally | Yoga Instructor & Health and Wellness Coach, The Edge Yoga

Find Common Ground with Others

One way to find common ground is to approach conversations with curiosity and an open mind. Instead of focusing on differences or disagreements, try asking questions and listening deeply to understand the other person’s perspective.

For example, let’s say you’re talking to a coworker who has a different political viewpoint than you. Instead of getting defensive or trying to convince them to see things your way, you might say something like:

“I can see how much you care about this issue, even if we have different ideas. I think we can both agree that we want what’s best for our community and the people in it.”

"Finding common ground with someone always helps me to be able to empathize with them more, even if it’s someone that I have fundamental difficulties with. At the end of the day, we are all human, and we are all hurting in some way.

Being able to see that we all struggle with similar life experiences, helps in understanding where someone else is coming from, and not holding them hostage to their previous life experiences that they may be projecting outwardly."

Arielle Sterling | Holistic Life Coach | Reiki Master Teacher

Be Generous with Your Resources

Generosity is a key component of being a nicer person, and it doesn’t always have to involve grand gestures or big sacrifices. Simply being willing to share your time, energy, skills, or material resources with others can make a huge difference in their lives.

Some ways to be generous with your resources include:

  • Donating money, goods, or services to a cause or organization you believe in.
  • Give your full attention and presence to others in conversation or interaction.
  • Be flexible and accommodating when plans or circumstances change unexpectedly.
  • Share your knowledge, expertise, or connections with someone who could benefit from them.
  • Offer help to a friend or neighbor with a project or task, even if it’s inconvenient for you.

The key to give freely and without expectation of anything in return. It’s not about keeping score or making others feel indebted to you but just simply looking for opportunities to give and share with others what you have.

Remember and Use People’s Names

Dale Carnegie once said, “A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” And I couldn’t agree more! Using someone’s name in conversation is a simple but great way to show that you see, value, and respect them as an individual.

Of course, remembering names can be challenging, especially if you’re meeting a lot of new people at once or if you struggle with memory in general. But with a bit of practice and intention, it’s a skill that anyone can improve.

Some tips that have helped me include:

  • Associate their name with a unique feature, characteristic, or rhyme to make it more memorable.
  • Repeat the person’s name out loud when you first meet them, as in “It’s so nice to meet you, [Name]!”
  • Use the person’s name naturally throughout the conversation without overusing it or making it feel forced.
  • Write down names in a notebook or on your phone after events or meetings, along with a brief note about the context or conversation.

When you make an effort to remember and use people’s names, make others feel seen, heard, and appreciated—all key qualities of a nice person.

Dedicate Quality Time to Others

In our busy, distracted world, giving others our full, undivided attention shows them that they’re a priority to you and that you value your relationship with them. What does quality time look like? It can be as simple as:

  • Putting away your phone and other distractions during conversations or interactions.
  • Offering your time and attention to others when they need support, advice, or just a listening ear.
  • Scheduling regular one-on-one time with friends, family members, or colleagues to catch up and connect.
  • Being fully present and engaged during shared activities or experiences without multitasking or mentally planning ahead.

Note that dedicating quality time doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours and hours with someone or sacrificing your own needs and boundaries. It’s about the intention and presence you bring to your interactions, no matter how brief or infrequent they may be.

Respect Others’ Time Through Punctuality

Respecting others’ time is a straightforward way to show your consideration. Here’s how being punctual can make you a nicer person:

  • It conveys respect: Showing up on time demonstrates that you value the other person’s time as much as your own.
  • It builds trust: Consistent punctuality helps others see you as reliable and dependable.
  • It reduces stress: Both for you and the people waiting for you.

Focus on Giving Back and Contributing

Giving back doesn’t require huge sacrifices; even small contributions can make a significant difference. It could be helping a neighbor with their groceries, spending time at a local animal shelter, or donating clothes you no longer need are all ways to contribute.

I believe that we all have something valuable to offer the world, no matter our age, background, or circumstances. By focusing on giving back and contributing in whatever ways we can, we can make a difference in the lives of others and develop a sense of purpose.

Don’t Take Others’ Actions Personally

People’s actions and words are often a reflection of their own experiences and struggles, not a judgment of you. Remind yourself that everyone is fighting their own battles and dealing with their own stresses and challenges, even if you can’t see them.

This mindset helps you maintain your peace and prevent unnecessary conflicts. Everyone has bad days, and others’ actions are rarely about you. By choosing not to take things personally, you are more likely to respond kindly and nicely.

"[...] when someone is having a go, remind yourself that this is not about you. It’s important to remember that whatever that person did to you is not a reflection of who you are but rather where they are at in their journey. 

Maybe they had an awful day or, heck, a series of awful days and they are so caught up in their lives that they cannot see how they are causing you grief."

— Angy Tsafos | Life and Mindset Coach, The Net Life

Practice Humility and Modesty

Practicing humility involves recognizing that you are not superior to others, and being modest means not boasting about your achievements. Practicing humility and modesty also means:

  • Celebrating your successes and milestones with gratitude rather than arrogance or entitlement.
  • Treating everyone with equal respect and kindness, regardless of their status, position, or background.
  • Acknowledging and giving credit to others who have helped or supported you along the way, rather than taking all the credit for yourself.
  • Being open to feedback, constructive criticism, and opportunities for growth and improvement, even if it’s uncomfortable or challenges your ego.
  • Be willing to admit when you don’t know something or need help, and be open to learning from others who have different experiences or expertise than you.

I know it can be tempting sometimes to want to prove ourselves or show off our achievements, especially in competitive or high-pressure environments. But most genuinely impressive and likable people are often the ones who have quiet confidence and humility about them.

Give Back Through Volunteering

Find an opportunity that aligns with your values and passions and that allows you to use your talents in a meaningful way. You might:

  • Serve meals at a local homeless shelter or food bank.
  • Tutor or mentor students at an after-school program.
  • Participate in a community cleanup or beautification project.
  • Help with fundraising or event planning for a nonprofit organization.
  • Offer your professional skills or expertise to a group or individual in need.

I think a lot of people hesitate to volunteer because they worry they don’t have enough time or resources to make a real impact. But the truth is, every little bit helps—even an hour or two a month can make a significant difference in the lives of those you serve.

"Find ways to focus on others, on giving back and contributing Do this in ways that give you joy as well as others. It must be a win-win or your heart will wilt. Have fun while you do this! 

Contribution at it’s highest always seeks to leave a legacy by making a change for the greater good, leaving a mark that bears our secret signature.

Because we had a heart to uplift other Lives are changed, the world gets richer in meaning because we made a difference. There is a ripple effect and before we know it, a domino of kindness has been set-off, impacting others beyond our reach."

— Jo Hawkins | Transformation & Business Coach | International Speaker

Make Space for People in Your Life

Making space for others in your life can take many different forms. It might involve:

  • Setting aside regular one-on-one time with friends, family members, or colleagues to catch up and connect on a deeper level.
  • Being available and present for others when they need support, advice, or a listening ear, even if it’s not always convenient for you.
  • Making a conscious effort to include and welcome others in social situations, especially those who may feel marginalized or left out.
  • Inviting people from different backgrounds or communities into your conversations, and being open to learning from their experiences and insights.
  • Being willing to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations with others when necessary, and approaching them with empathy, respect, and understanding.

Of course, making space for others doesn’t mean neglecting your own needs, boundaries, or well-being. But rather being intentional about building and nurturing relationships with a wide range of people, and prioritizing time and energy for those who matter most to you.

"Nice people make space in their schedules, thoughts, efforts, and lives, for other people. Someone else is allowed to have the last word in a conversation and to speak of their own interests and opinions, not just yours. 

They can even “go first” in conversations, in lines, and in your priorities. Nice people are considerate of the people around them. They accommodate people who are unhappy, uncertain, or in need of assistance.

A “You matter, too” attitude is part of a nice person’s mindset."

— Yocheved Golani
| Editor, eCounseling

Broaden Your Cultural Understanding

Broadening your cultural understanding is a great way to be a nicer person. This can be as simple as trying different cuisines, learning a few phrases in another language, or reading about the traditions and histories of various cultures.

By expanding your knowledge and appreciation of diversity, you become more open-minded and accepting.

Of course, broadening your cultural understanding is not a one-time achievement. It requires ongoing curiosity, humility, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone and challenge your own assumptions and biases.

But by having this deeper appreciation and understanding of the diversity of human experience, you become a more empathetic, inclusive, and compassionate person—all qualities of a nicer person, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Pay Attention to the Little Things

Noticing and appreciating the small details can significantly impact how nice and considerate you come across to others. Here’s how being attentive to the little things makes a difference:

  • Shows you care: Remembering someone’s coffee preference or asking about a family member shows thoughtfulness.
  • Builds stronger relationships: Small acts of kindness and attention make people feel valued and understood.
  • Enhances daily interactions: Positive remarks and gestures can turn ordinary encounters into memorable ones.

Paying attention also means being mindful of others’ needs and feelings, even if they don’t express them outright. So the next time you have the opportunity to pay attention to the little things, don’t hesitate—you never know how much of an impact you might have.

"One of the biggest secrets to becoming a nicer person is simply paying attention rather than being caught up in our smartphones and other devices, or our own internal drama, being aware of what’s happening around us is important. 

That means noticing the person whose hands are full for whom we could open the door, or the car trying to change lanes in front of us or the child who is craving some attention."

— Donna Cameron | Author, A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You

Embrace Constructive Criticism

Receiving feedback—especially the kind that points out areas for improvement—can be challenging, but it’s an opportunity for personal growth. Embracing constructive criticism demonstrates humility and a commitment to becoming better.

  • Reflect on the points made and seek clarity if needed. If you don’t fully understand, ask for examples or further explanation.
  • Use the feedback as a stepping stone for growth. Make an action plan for how you can apply the criticism to make positive changes.
  • Listen to the feedback without rushing to defend yourself. Consider the intentions behind the critique—they are often aimed at helping you improve.

When you accept constructive criticism, you become more resilient, adaptable, and self-aware—all qualities that are essential for building strong, healthy relationships and making a positive difference in the world.

Offer Advice Only When Asked

As someone who values kindness and wants to support others, it can be tempting to offer advice or solutions whenever you see someone struggling or facing a challenge. However, it’s important to remember that unsolicited advice, even when well-intentioned, can sometimes come across as intrusive, presumptuous, or even condescending.

A good rule of thumb is to offer advice only when someone has explicitly asked for it or when you have a close enough relationship with them to know that they would welcome and appreciate your input.

Push Back Against Negativity Bias

As human beings, we have a natural tendency to focus more on negative experiences, thoughts, and emotions than positive ones. This negativity bias can lead us to dwell on our mistakes, criticize ourselves and others harshly, and overlook the many blessings in our lives.

Here are some strategies for pushing back against negativity bias:

  • Share positive experiences with others regularly.
  • Keep a gratitude journal to reflect on daily positives.
  • Set reminders to assess situations from a balanced viewpoint.
"[...] our brains are hard-wired to look for problems. It’s called the negativity bias, and it’s what helped us remember well which berries made us sick when we were living on the savannas. But now it makes us remember negative things more than positive ones.

If you want to be kinder, you have to push back against the negativity bias. One way to do that is to challenge yourself to leave more positive reviews—and that includes giving more positive feedback to your loved ones and colleagues.

It will help you remember to look for the experiences that go well and to thank people for doing good. And what we focus on grows."

Kate Hanley | Author | Writer | Coach | Podcast Host, How to Be a Better Person

Send Thoughtful Notes and Messages

In today’s digital age, communication with others seems to have become more superficial and transactional, with quick texts, emails, and social media posts replacing more personal, heartfelt forms of connection. 

Tips for sending thoughtful notes and messages:

  • Be specific: Mention what you appreciate or recognize about the person.
  • Keep it simple: A few sincere sentences are enough.
  • Use different mediums: Handwritten notes, texts, or emails all work well.

I can say from personal experience that receiving a thoughtful note or message from someone can be a truly touching and uplifting experience.

Refrain from “I Told You So” Moments

Nobody enjoys the sting of being reminded of their mistakes, especially with an “I told you so.” Keeping those four words to yourself can preserve relationships and offer a chance for the other person to grow without feeling belittled.

When someone is already feeling down or frustrated about a mistake or setback, the last thing they need is someone else rubbing it in or making them feel worse about themselves.

Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and respond with empathy and compassion. When you avoid these “I told you so” moments, you show empathy and kindness and it shows that you’re more interested in being supportive than in being right.

Ask Yourself: What Would a Good Friend Do?

When you’re facing a challenging situation or decision, and you’re not sure how to respond, a helpful question to ask yourself is: “What would a good friend do in this situation?”

A good friend is someone who:

  • Tells you the truth with kindness and tact, even when it’s hard to hear.
  • Listens with empathy and an open mind, without judgment or interruption.
  • Celebrates your successes and helps you learn and grow from your failures and setbacks.
  • Respect your boundaries, privacy, and autonomy, and trust you to make your own decisions.
  • Offers support, encouragement, and validation, even if they don’t necessarily agree with your perspective or choices.
"To be a nicer person, ask: what would a good, kind, and loving friend do? We are social beings; friendship is in our makeup. To bind that friendship and help us feel safe, secure, and loved, we all seek to feel valued, respected, heard, validated and cared for—meet each other’s friendship needs.

To be a good friend is undoubtedly the epitome of being nice. Our lives do not have to be surrounded by nasty horribleness. When life’s toxicity strikes, what better time to ask, how might a good friend react?

Next thing you know, we might see the situation differently and respond with an act of niceness we never knew we had in us, yet we suppressed."

Dr. Winfried Sedhoff | Family Physician and Therapist | Author, The Friendship Key

Avoid Complaining, Excuses, and Blame

Constantly expressing dissatisfaction or deflecting responsibility isn’t just draining for you; it can affect the people around you. Taking a more constructive approach to challenges can lead to better outcomes and healthier relationships.

Here are practical steps to reduce negativity:

  • Before voicing a complaint, think of two possible solutions.
  • Acknowledge your role in any issues before pointing fingers.
  • Replace excuses with honest explanations or admissions of oversight.

I know that breaking the habit of complaining, making excuses, and blaming others can be tough, but trying to reframe your thinking makes you proactive and gives you a greater sense of resilience and adaptability.

Be True to Yourself

Finally, perhaps the most important tip for being a nicer person is to be true to yourself. This means having a strong sense of your own values, beliefs, and boundaries and living according to them, even when it’s difficult or unpopular.

Being true to yourself doesn’t mean being selfish or inflexible. It also doesn’t mean always getting your way or never compromising for the sake of others. But it does mean:

  • Expressing your authentic thoughts, feelings, and needs, even when they differ from those around you.
  • Pursuing your passions and purpose with courage and conviction, even in the face of obstacles or criticism.
  • Knowing what matters most to you and what you stand for and using that as a guide for your decisions and actions.
  • Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries that protect your well-being and allow you to show up as your best self.

When you’re true to yourself, you can be more genuinely kind, compassionate, and giving to others. You won’t constantly second-guess yourself or try to be someone you’re not.

More Insights from the Experts

“People often treat others the way they treat themselves, so if they are harsh and judgmental toward themselves, they will likely treat others this way as well. People tend to project onto others how they feel about themselves, so if they think they are not good enough, they may be unkind to others as well.”

— Dr. Margaret Paul | Psychologist | Author | Relationship Expert | Co-creator, Inner Bonding

“Learning to pause is another strategy for becoming nicer. Instead of a knee-jerk response to someone’s unkind or insensitive remark, take a moment to pause and see if you can offer them the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps the comment came out differently from how they intended it. Perhaps they are dealing with stresses or problems that you know nothing about that could excuse their lapse.

[…] when we respond in-kind to bad behavior, bad behavior wins. Use that pause as an opportunity to ask whether someone else being a jerk means we have to be one, too. Instead, ask who you want to be and what values you want to model.”

— Donna Cameron | Author, A Year of Living Kindly: Choices That Will Change Your Life and the World Around You

Learn to pause. If you feel like you might say something that is unkind or that you might regret, pause for a moment and think about your words. Those extra seconds will afford you the opportunity to formulate a nicer response.

Maintain work-life balance. Focus on self-care too. When we are well-rested and balanced, we are happier and interact in a more positive way. Take care of yourself.

Work on your resilience. The more resilient you are, the better you will become at re-framing the negative and bouncing back from trying situations. Resilient people are happier and approach setbacks with a positive attitude and kindness.”

— Charlene Walters, MBA, Ph.D. | Writer and Speaker | Business & Branding Mentor | Author, Own Your Other

“You need to start small and change a few items. Once the few are changed, you can start changing some harder areas. I am going to five ways you can start being a nicer person today.

  • Smile. Smiling not only affects your attitude but it can also change the attitude of those around you.
  • Look others in the eye. Looking someone in the eye shows you see them as a person. Next time you interact with someone, look them in the eye and smile, most likely they will smile back, and you will come across as a nice person.
  • Stop talking about yourself. People seem to be nicer if they are interested in the other person. When talking to others, stop making the conversation about you, instead ask a question about them and their family.
  • Say hello. Greeting others as you walk down the hallway at work is a great way to show others you see them and respect them as a person.
  • Say, thank you. When interacting with others, simply saying thank you shows respect for them as a person and that you value them.”

Jim Tanner, LPCC | Pastor | Founder, The Next Right Choice Counseling Center

“Often the toughest thing to do is to forgive our own wrongs. People who are Tough on others are often harder on themselves. Being a nicer person starts with being nicer to ourselves. Say kind things in your internal dialogue, encourage yourself, have some fun. Happiness is an inside job.”

— Jo Hawkins | Transformation & Business Coach | International Speaker

“Realize that we are all fighting our own private battles. When I remind myself of that truth, it’s easy to be nice to the strangers I meet or the people I deal with in my daily life.

[…] I choose to believe when faced with a less than pleasant personality, that something in their life caused them to be like that. One word of kindness, a simple gesture of goodwill, might be all that it takes to turn their day around.”

Mary Potter Kenyon | Program Coordinator, Shalom Spirituality Center | Author, Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace

“Choose what you fill your cup with. Fill it with joy, acceptance, forgiveness and open heart and let this spill out and overflow when you are prodded or when life gets tough. You can always choose how to react and what to fill your cup with.

Choose positivity, understanding, and love and when prodded or pushed, let that ooze out and spill everywhere. Imagine just how much impact you will have…”

— Angy Tsafos | Life and Mindset Coach, The Net Life

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to be a nicer person?

Being a nicer person improves your relationships and social interactions and contributes to your own mental and emotional well-being.

People who practice kindness and compassion tend to experience lower stress levels, better mood, and even improved health.

What if I’m not naturally a nice person?

Being nice is a skill that can be developed over time. Start by practicing small acts of kindness, such as smiling at others, expressing gratitude, or offering help when needed. As you make a conscious effort to be nicer, it will become more natural and habitual.

Does being nice mean I have to please everyone?

Being nice does not equate to people-pleasing. You can be kind and respectful while still asserting your own needs and boundaries. It’s about finding a balance between kindness and self-respect.

How can I be nice to someone I don’t get along with?

Being nice to someone you have difficulties with can be challenging. Aim to find common ground and try to see things from their perspective.

Practice empathy and remember that being cordial doesn’t mean you have to be best friends.

What if someone is being unkind to me?

If someone is being unkind to you, it’s important to set boundaries and prioritize your own well-being. Respond calmly and assertively, expressing your feelings and needs without attacking or blaming.

In some cases, it may be necessary to distance yourself from toxic or abusive individuals.

Can being nicer really make a difference in the world?

Absolutely! Every act of kindness, no matter how small, has the power to create positive change. By being nicer in your daily interactions, you can inspire others to be kinder as well, creating a ripple effect of goodwill in your community and beyond.

Final Thoughts

Being a nicer person is something we can all work on. With simple steps and daily actions, we can make a big difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us. Remember, every small act of kindness counts.

So, start today. Go out there and spread some kindness—the world needs it now more than ever.

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Erika Maniquiz is a certified teacher and librarian with a Library and Information Science degree. She cherishes the calm moments reading books as much as the dynamic discussions she has in her classroom. Beyond her career, she is a fan of Kdrama and loves Kpop's lively beats.