1. People & Relationships
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Benefits of Being Nice to Strangers

How Kindness to Strangers Helps With Friendship


Benefits of Being Nice to Strangers

If you think you can treat your friends one way, and strangers another, here's some food for thought. How you treat others can affect your friendships in surprising ways.

Being nice to strangers doesn't mean you foolishly give away your trust or treat them the same as you would a cherished friend, but it does mean you have patience, refrain from judgment, and try your best to get along. Here are a few reasons why kindness to strangers helps you in friendship.

Bad Moods That Transfer to Those You Care About

Sometimes dealing with the ins and outs of people in society can wear you down. You get cut off in traffic, the person ahead of you in line at the grocery store has too many items, and a stranger in a store grabs the one thing you were about to reach for. People are sometimes in their own world, and this means they can come off very rude.

When you get annoyed with strangers, it can be hard to turn off that attitude the next time you see your friends. In fact, your friends behavior can mimic the same things you found irritating in strangers. When they do, will you train yourself to react badly? Or practice patience?

You can't change how people act, but you can change your response to it. So if you get used to snapping at people, cursing, or otherwise being rude, this behavior will spill over to your personal life and be directed at friends.

Showing Potential Friends Your Ugliest Moments

Let's face it, when you're in a new friendship, you need to be on your best behavior. Once friends have a chance to get to know you, your bad moods and quirks will be easier to take because they will already care about you and take your negative traits in stride.

However, when you first meet someone, a rude comment or eyeball roll at the wrong time can turn off a potential friend. You never know when you'll meet someone that could turn out to be a good person in your life, because every friend once started out as a stranger.

This means that if you openly act annoyed with a stranger one day, you could run into them again another day, perhaps when you're trying to mingle and make small talk. This not only proves embarrassing, but a person who has seen you behave poorly will be less likely to give you a chance when it comes to friendship.

Negativity Is a Habit

Did you ever hear of the phrase "misery loves company"? If you're in the habit of complaining about others you'll probably find yourself surrounded with friends who constantly do the same. It's okay to grouse a bit about the frustrations of life, but the point is not to meditate on this vibe. You can share your complaints with friends, but remember not to dwell on them to the point where negativity becomes your strongest character trait.

Kindness to Others Helps Manage Conflict in Your Friendships

If you're worked up about the things strangers do, you might find yourself getting into arguments with them. What's more, this "quick to argue" behavior may spill over into your friendships. Rather than using patience with a friend, you might instinctively launch into an argument instead.

By contrast, if you begin to see the good in people you don't know, it will help you identify the positive traits your friends have. You'll notice the kind things they do for you instead of the ways they fall short.

You'll Attract More Friends to You

Being nice to strangers helps train your thoughts and mood in a way that is more positive. If you're a more positive person, you'll naturally attract more friends to you.

Positivity doesn't mean someone has a strong character or set of morals, but the perception they project is more pleasing to new people. For example, if you've ever met two people at a party, one who was welcoming and positive and one did nothing but complain, which one were you drawn to?

Being kind to people you don't know will help when it comes to new friends who want to see what you're all about. The rest is up to you.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.