How to Be Nice to People: Be Polite

When only swearing will do © by aMixedmedia

Being polite will make people like you. No matter what your beliefs are; no matter what political stand you have; no matter what your opinions are; no matter what ethnic background you have: If you are polite people will like you!


When you speak you should make sure that it sounds nice. The first thing you learned about speaking nice was probably not to swear and curse. I come from a working class family of blacksmiths and drivers. My grandfather worked at the docks and I can assure you that the language at the docks in the 50’s was not for touchy people to hear! I soon learned that using that kind of language among my academic friends would not get me far.

No matter what social context you are in, a polite language will always make you likable. If you come from swearing culture and you think you speak nice, then review your language and see if you can do better.

Body language

Research shows that your body language counts for 60 % of what is said in a conversation. Your body language has to match your language. To have a polite body language you have to smile, look people in the eyes when you speak, listen without interrupting, keep you hands visible and not cross you arms. Mind that in some cultures crossing your legs can be very offensive because you point the souls of your shoes at other people.


Doing small deeds that do not take much extra effort makes you appear nice. Hold the door for other people, if you see someone drop something then pick it up, let someone go in front of you in line, offer your help when needed etc.


People are different and have different cultural backgrounds and different beliefs. You cannot agree with everyone but you have to respect that some people see the world from another angle than you do. Acknowledge people by smiling and greeting; let them know that they are welcome in your world; be grateful and say thank you; be ready to receive when people offer you something.

How to Show Genuine Interest


Interested in snowboarding @ Erik Back 2000

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about how to show interest. It has become the third most read post on my blog and a lot of people search for advice on how to show genuine interest; I can see that from the Google searches that is referred to my blog. The keyword that made me write this post as a follow up on my previous post was the word genuine and today I will give you 4 steps to genuine interest.

To show genuine interest in something you have to be genuinely interested. Thus, the question is not how to show genuine interest, the question is how to be genuinely interested. There is no way you can fake genuine interest because the receiver of faked interest will feel it immediately; and so will you! The only way to be genuinely interested is by feeling an interest for the subject or person in question.

A feeling comes from a related experience you have had. E.g. If you have never tried to snowboard and I enthusiastically tell you how great it is snowboarding on fresh powder snow, you will smile and say – that’s nice, good for you! You will not start a conversation because you have not had the experience that makes you feel what I felt snowboarding on powder snow.

To be genuinely interested you have to be able to recall a feeling from a related experience. E.g. you are an experienced surfer and when I tell you about snowboarding you compare your experiences from surfing and that will generate a genuine interest.

The good news is that you can always recall a related feeling. The first thing you have to do is observe and listen to the person you are talking to. Find out what this person is actually saying and look for keywords and clues you can relate to. Connect these keywords to experiences you have had that are related and the feeling of interest will come. As soon as that feeling shows up you will know what to say or ask and you will automatically seem genuinely interested because you are genuinely interested.

4 steps to genuine interest

  1. Listen and observe.
  2. Find keywords you can relate to.
  3. Connect the keywords to past experiences.
  4. Ask questions based on the feelings you get.

How to Be Nice to People: Give Compliments

smile! © by seanbjack

– Hi, you look good today! It is hard to feel offended by such a compliment. You would feel flattered, smile and say thank you. If you find something positive to say to people that makes them feel good then you have made the day a better day for both of you.

There are different kinds of compliments and the above is a superficial compliment that works acknowledging. It will make the receiver feel good at the moment and it will make the receiver feel accepted. It is the kind of compliment that goes a bit further than saying hi and the receiver will see you as a nice person.

If you want to take compliments to the next level you need to give meaningful compliments that make a lasting impression. You do that by giving a specific compliment that shows that you paid attention to what the person did.

Furthermore, the compliments have to be sincere. If you do not mean what you are about to say, then do not say it. People will immediately notice if you give false compliments; and they will perceive you as false and untrustworthy. If you want to make a good impression then only give compliments that you mean.

Like anything else you give to other people: Give without expectations! Do not expect anything in return. Trust that anything you give will come back eventually in some form and that also goes for compliments.

Use compliments when giving critique

At sergeant school I learned to always give a compliment before critique and then end the critique with another compliment. Critique can be very hard to take because it tends to have a negative influence on the receiver; but giving compliments before and after the critique will make the receiver remember the good things he did. The easiest parts to remember from a conversation are the first and last things being said.

How to Be Nice to People: Show Interest

cross arm © by JASON ANFINSEN

Some of the nicest people I know show genuine interest in how I am doing. They do not solve my problems but the do listen to me because they are interested and want good things to happen to me. They give the most valuable thing that anyone can give; they give themselves.

They give themselves by listening to you; they listen and understand and they make you realise what to do about the problem that is nagging you. Thus, if you want to be nice to people then start a conversation by asking how they are doing and then listen! Do not start talking about yourself, just listen and keep asking. At some point people will feel comfortable and start asking you.

I have listed a few things of what you can do to become better at listening and showing interest.

Eye contact: Look into the eyes of the person you listen to. If you let yourself distract and look elsewhere it will look like you do not care and that you have no interest in what is being told. By keeping eye contact you demonstrate that nothing is more important at that moment and that you are present and ready to listen and understand; that is genuine interest.

Communicate understanding: Show that you are listening by nodding and using confirming sounds and words. By doing this the person will become more open and talk more because you are showing interest.

Body language: Show your hands; and by that I mean you should keep you hands visible because if you cross you arms or stick your hands in you pockets then you will communicate mistrust and lack of interest. One of the best ways to gain the speakers trust is by copying the speaker’s body language. Unconsciously people copy each other’s body language when they feel comfortable together and you can use that knowledge to show interest.

Respond to what is being said. If the speaker tells you something shocking then look shocked and if the speaker gives good news then look happy and smile.

How to Be Nice to People: Say Hi!

Smile and greet people!

Hi! © by the.barb

Lately I have been thinking a lot about positive attitude and how important it is to make a good impression on people; it is important to have a nice and likable appearance. My blog is becoming more popular every day and in the wake of success comes unfriendly comments. They make me sad although I know they are not personal.

Today one of my readers told about a bad experience; she had just bought an ice cream and was smiling because it made her happy. On her way out of the shop a girl says in a hostile tone – what are you looking at? Sometimes it can be pretty hard to be friendly, but we have to ignore this. People have their reasons and if they contribute to your life with negativity then get them out of your life again. They are toxic to you and you do not want that.

Meet people, smile and say – hi! You can greet people even without knowing them in person. By greeting people they feel acknowledged; they feel welcome in your world and they feel comfortable. Sometimes nodding your head is enough to show that you acknowledge their presence.

Where I come from we do not talk if we wait at a bus stop together. Even if it is the same people we meet at the bus stop every morning we do not talk. We do not event say hi and a smiling is unthinkable. Some time ago I decided to smile to these people I met every morning and I practiced saying hi and commented the weather and asked how they were doing. Soon I learned that people loved the attention and gave me some attention as well. It felt nice.

We do not need close relationships to greet each other but sometimes greeting can develop into close and meaningful relationships. Practicing greeting I have met a lot of interesting people and some of them have become friends; some of them have become clients; some of them have become collaborators.

You never know where you will meet an opportunity for something you dream of, but you can be prepared for the encounter by greeting people.