We all go through the same general struggles or bad days once in a while. There can be solidarity in shared suffering, but only if we remember to treat others how we would want to be treated in the same situation. When we have our good days, it is that much more important to be aware of others. After all, there is a healing in the right interaction.
1. Engage with others.
Whether someone is a close friend or complete stranger, don’t be afraid to at least smile in passing. That harmless interaction can completely change someone else’s day, not to mention make your own a little more worthwhile. Make eye contact with your waiter, strike up a conversation with people waiting in line and compliment a random person on the street. Don’t overthink it, fellow introverts! Such little effort can go such a long way. Someone else might look like he or she is just going through the motions, but we cannot begin to imagine the stress or struggles running through another’s mind. Instead of avoiding others, offering even the most minuscule interaction can remind people they don’t have to feel alone.
2. Make people laugh.
After all, laughter is supposed to be the best medicine. However, when we are stressed or upset, laughter usually feels like the farthest luxury from our minds. Who has the time or strength to laugh when everything else is falling apart, right? More than any other instance, though, a moment of crisis is the perfect time to be someone else’s comic relief. Tell a joke, watch a romantic comedy or even reminisce about a funny experience. Every laugh begins with a smile, so remind the other person of happier days until you break through their resistance. Laughter might not immediately fix the situation, but it can improve one’s outlook. Sometimes a little distraction is all you need to gain a better and brighter perspective.
3. Give of yourself freely.
Whether you give some of your time, attention or even resources, the smallest sacrifice could mean the world to someone else. Tying in with the first point, interact with others by noticing their needs then offer whatever you can to ease their struggles. Even better, give of yourself without being prompted. Completely plan an impromptu getaway, host a low-key movie night or just drop by with a few groceries that you accidentally bought in bulk. Feel free to downplay whatever you decide, because most likely you believe the other person deserves so much more. Any of these examples might seem like the tiniest commitment in comparison to what someone else is going through, but he or she will appreciate it more than you realize.
4. Listen without judgment.
We’ve all been there, needing to talk or scream through our problems until we get the pain out of our systems. Sometimes the best gift to another human being is to just return the favor. Maybe someone else needs to be a sounding board and listen to ideas without offering much more than a nod in understanding. More often, though, people just need someone else sitting across from them letting and listening to them vent. Occasionally they might also need a shoulder to cry on, but first they need to know you understand and do not condemn their feelings. Let others express their emotions and deny or confess their mistakes until they have talked themselves to clarity. Offer advice if requested, but mainly show the other person they have a friend or confidante for support. Be a friend, and become a blessing.