I find it increasingly difficult and heartbreaking to watch someone deliberately avoid others, or deliberately avoid helping others. I see this most often when I'm in public or while I'm at work.
My jobs as a hostess and receptionist require that I be nice to people and help them in any way I can, with any problem they might be having. In fact, all of my jobs have been related to customer care and customer service, and I find that I genuinely enjoy being nice to people, because people are typically always nice back when I do so. Whilst it isn't a good reason to just be nice to others because they'll be nice to you, you can use it to become motivated to make the small changes in your day that will make them, and you, feel better in the long term, and it really couldn't be easier.
Smiling. I make a conscious effort to smile at almost every single person I see on the street that passes me. It doesn't have to be a tooth-y smile, or even your best smile. Just make the effort to pull up either side of your face and make eye contact with someone you see on the street. It's a friendly gesture that says, "Hey, I see you" and science shows that it creates a positive environment for everyone.
I definitely suggest this if you are in your neighborhood, work, or college areas. Why not be friendly to those that you encounter? You'll see them around more than once, so you might as well acknowledge their presence and make it a friendly interaction. Friendly interactions are good for us too; as human beings, we are social creatures, we thrive on this sort of positive social building. I do this everywhere I go, almost everyone smiles back or says hello, it seems to uplift people's mood and cause a sort of chain reaction of friendly-peopleness.
Hold doors open for people. Yes, I understand that there are some slow people in the world. I understand that you're frustrated. Sometimes you may think you're too cool to open doors, maybe you think it's not your style. But guess what? Other people will still be grateful that you held the door open for them no matter your mindset. And wouldn't you want someone to hold the door open for you if it was you?
It especially bothers me when you can very clearly see that the person wouldn't be able to hold the door open because they have their hands full, but you keep walking, and essentially ignore them entirely. I don't know about you, but I know that if someone saw me with a hand full of art supplies and didn't bother holding the door open for me, I'd be bothered by it. Why not just help someone when it takes five seconds out of your schedule and it makes someone else smile and they're clearly grateful for the help? Help each other, people. We can do this.
Being verbal is important. Saying things like "excuse me," or, "I'm sorry," when you accidentally bump into someone because you're in a rush let's them know that you care and requiring little effort on your part. Something I've discovered with work and in my personal life is that people are typically pretty chill about things if you are verbal and acknowledge that you're aware of what you're doing in the space that others are also inhabiting. Say things like "thank you," when someone compliments you, or moves out of your way when you try to get by, or helps you with something. It's so simple. Engage in your surroundings. Be present to other people, and to the space. One of the biggest problems I see is that people live like they have blinders on and don't notice that other people inhabit the Earth with them. Be mindful and present.
Granted, I know that I'm a tad biased in the area of manners and politeness when interacting with strangers, as it is my literal job to be nice to people, and to make sure that their needs are fulfilled to the best of my hosting and receptionist abilities. All I see that as is the fast tract to understanding and being the best, most well-tested teacher on being nice to people. I learned the hard way how to be nice to people quickly, and how positive it can be. When I was younger and angsty and in my middle school/high school phase, I was purposefully sarcastic and nasty to people because I thought it was cool somehow, or made me different or rebellious. Maturing a lot since that mindset, I realized that you get a lot further with honey than you do with vinegar, and the people around me are much happier when I put out a more positive, present attitude, and I too am happier because I'm being nice to others and I'm getting back what I put in for the grand majority.
So basically, I'm challenging you. Try these very simple tips from someone whose job it is to be nice and helpful about how to make people treat you better, by treating them better first. Make the extra, conscious effort of being nice to people, see what happens for yourself. It could be anywhere; in class, on the internet, in the grocery store, walking home, or at work. Anywhere. People are everywhere. What I like to say is that you have no idea what kind of day they've had, or what's happened to them, or what they're thinking about. You being nice to someone could mean the world to them, you never know what type of effect you can have on people's day until you put yourself out there and try it. Trust me, it's worth the effort.