There are many moments in the day where I get caught by surprise and I don’t have a prepared reaction or comeback in my back pocket. It happens to us all the time.
We could be grocery shopping and recognize someone we haven’t seen in years. We could be asked to donate to charity for the 5th time that day in front of a lineup of 20 people.
Here are some quick and easily digestible habits, that should take no time to implement and can help your day move along smoother.
1. The homeless need a hand too, regardless of what you know
Keep a small cup of quarters in your car. Whenever you see a homeless person asking for money, or they approach your car on the side of the road, give them a quarter. You have no way to know who they are and what they are going through in that short window of time.
Of course, some people don’t deserve it — but again, you don’t know that. Give a quarter whenever you can, and I guarantee it will help at least one person. Everyone wants less misery in their lives and this gesture will be worth more than you can possibly imagine.
You will never feel bad again when you see a homeless person approach your car on the side of the road. Roll down that window and smile.
2. Let’s avoid the avoiding game
When you recognize someone you've met before, don’t treat them like a stranger. Acknowledge them first. Even if you don’t like them. There is an attractive quality to people who can act decent towards everyone, even those who are unpopular.
It’s a good way to practice your impromptu conversation skills and stepping out of your comfort zone. If the person is rude, chances are they are going through some hard times in their lives. Maybe you can take their mind off of it for a second.
If you can sense that the person doesn’t want to talk to you, you’ve already said hi, and you can cut the conversation short. You have your small win for the day.
3. Is it together, or separate?
When you are eating out with friends, try to establish the bill before the server leaves with your order. Especially if you are eating out with someone you don’t know very well.
If you are uncomfortable bringing it up, order first and let the server know it’s separate. This is an indirect invitation for the other person to object if they are feeling generous and want to pay for your meal. If they offer, accept and don’t make it a big deal. Write it down and get them back next time.
There is nothing more irritating as a server than bringing the bill to the table, to find two people fighting over who is going to pay for it, or having the customers awkwardly ask you to split it.
4. Believe me, you have donated to charity at one point or another
You’ve been waiting in line for 5 minutes. The cold beers you picked out of the fridge are getting wet in your hands. The water is condensing on the cans. You place them on the counter and pull out your ID. You’ve had a long day and you’re ready to head home and relax.
“Would you like to donate 2 dollars to help give dogs better haircuts?” The cashier asks. You do a double take at the cashier and everyone in line is staring at you. Your palms start to sweat, a soft “No” is your answer.
If a cashier asks you for a donation to whatever charity, either donate, or tell them “No thank you, I have already donated to a charity today”. When you just say no, it sets you up to look and feel bad. Chances are you have already donated to someone or some charity in one way or another.
5. When you say goodbye and start walking in the same direction — *facepalm
You’re going to run into a friend at a store, guaranteed. There are few things more awkward than saying hello, chatting for a minute, saying bye, and then walking in the same direction.
Before you end the conversation, tell them that you’ll be in the store for a while, and that you will probably bump into them a few times. That way, when you do inevitably see them later, it won’t be awkward. You can laugh about it and help them pick out a good sauce for their pad thai.