9 things only genuinely kind people do, according to psychology

Understanding kindness is not as easy as it seems. It’s more than just offering a helping hand or a warm smile.

According to psychology, there are certain actions that only genuinely kind individuals routinely do.

These are not grand gestures, but simple, everyday behaviors that truly set these people apart.

As an individual who’s always been intrigued by the complexity of human emotions, I’ve delved into research and observations to decipher what makes a person truly kind.

In this article, we’ll explore the habits and traits that are unique to genuinely kind people.

So, stay with me, and let’s dive deep into the world of kindness.

1) They listen

Genuine kindness is often more about what we don’t do than what we do. It’s not just about grand gestures or sacrificial acts.

According to psychology, truly kind people have a knack for listening.

Not just the superficial nodding while waiting for their turn to speak, but genuine, engaged listening.

Listening is a quiet act that requires patience and empathy, two building blocks of kindness.

It shows respect for the speaker and an appreciation for their perspective.

It’s an act of giving – giving your time and attention, two of the most precious commodities we have.

This isn’t to say that every kind person is a perfect listener all the time, but at their core, they value the perspectives of others and make an effort to understand them.

So if you’re aiming for authentic kindness, try to really listen – it’s one of the most generous things we can do.

And remember, it’s not about being perfect, but about making a genuine effort.

2) They practice empathy

As someone who has always been fascinated by the intricacies of human nature, I’ve noticed that empathy is a common thread among genuinely kind people.

I recall an incident last winter when my elderly neighbor’s car wouldn’t start on a particularly chilly morning.

Seeing her struggle in the cold, I decided to give her a hand. 

But as I approached her, I realized that she was not only frustrated about her car but also worried about missing an important doctor’s appointment.

At that moment, I didn’t just see a neighbor with car trouble; I saw a fellow human being in distress.

So, instead of just helping with the car, I offered to drive her to her appointment.

This is what empathy is all about – understanding and sharing the feelings of others.

It’s not about simply acknowledging someone else’s situation, but putting yourself in their shoes and acting accordingly.

Empathy is an inherent trait in genuinely kind people.

They don’t just understand your feelings; they feel them with you. It’s this quality that drives them to step up and offer help when it’s needed the most.

3) They perform random acts of kindness

It’s not always about grand gestures or planned acts of goodwill.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.

Genuinely kind people often indulge in random acts of kindness.

These are spontaneous, usually small and often anonymous gestures that spread positivity.

It could be as simple as leaving a bigger tip for a waiter, helping a stranger carry their groceries, or even just leaving a kind note for someone to find.

Interestingly, research has shown that performing these random acts of kindness can boost our own happiness levels.

A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that participants who performed daily acts of kindness for ten days reported increased life satisfaction.

This means that kindness isn’t just beneficial for the receiver, but also for the giver. It’s a win-win situation! 

4) They are consistently kind

Kindness isn’t just a one-off act for genuinely kind people, it’s a way of life.

It’s not something they turn on and off depending on their mood or the situation.

Genuinely kind people are consistently kind.

They treat everyone with respect and consideration, regardless of who they are or how they’re feeling that day.

They understand that everyone has their own struggles and challenges, and they strive to add a touch of kindness to every interaction.

Consistency is the hallmark of genuine kindness.

It’s easy to be kind when you’re in a good mood or dealing with pleasant people.

But it takes a truly kind person to extend that same kindness to difficult people or in challenging situations.

5) They don’t expect anything in return

Kind and helpful man 9 things only genuinely kind people do, according to psychology

One of the most defining characteristics of genuinely kind people is their selflessness.

They don’t help others with the anticipation of getting something in return.

Their acts of kindness are not transactional.

They don’t keep a mental scorecard of who owes them what. Instead, they help because they genuinely want to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

This selfless behavior stems from a deep sense of compassion and a desire to improve the world around them, one small act at a time.

It’s not about gaining recognition or earning favors.

It’s about the genuine joy they derive from making someone else’s day a little brighter.

So remember, true kindness is not about what we get, but about what we give without expecting anything in return.

It’s the selfless act of contributing to the happiness and well-being of others.

6) They respect boundaries

Respecting boundaries may not seem like a typical act of kindness, but let me assure you, it is deeply so.

Genuinely kind people understand the importance of personal space and respect.

They know that everyone has their own comfort zones, and they make it a point to never intrude or make anyone uncomfortable.

They are attentive and considerate, recognizing when someone needs a moment alone or when they’re not comfortable discussing certain topics.

They know when to step forward and offer help, but also when to step back and give space.

This balance between being available and respecting boundaries is crucial.

It’s about understanding that kindness also means giving someone the space they need to heal, to think, or simply to be.

This kind of kindness might not always be visible, but it’s felt deeply by those on the receiving end.

It’s a gentle reminder that they’re seen, they’re understood, and their feelings are respected.

7) They are patient

Patience is a virtue that I’ve had to learn over time.

It’s not always easy, especially when you’re dealing with difficult situations or people.

But I’ve found that patience is often the kindest response.

Genuinely kind people understand this.

They know that everyone is fighting their own battles, and sometimes, those battles can cause them to act out or be less than pleasant.

In such instances, a kind person does not react with anger or impatience, but with understanding and patience.

They give people the space to be human, to make mistakes, and to grow.

I remember a time when I was dealing with a particularly difficult colleague at work.

His negative attitude was affecting the entire team.

Instead of reacting to his behavior, I chose to respond with patience and understanding. It took time, but eventually, he opened up about the personal issues he was dealing with.

Patience gave him the space he needed to adjust his behavior without feeling attacked or judged.

It also taught me a valuable lesson about the power of patience and kindness.

So remember, patience isn’t just about waiting; it’s about how we behave while we wait.

And sometimes, it’s the kindest thing we can offer.

8) They forgive

Carrying a grudge is easy. Letting go and forgiving, that requires strength and kindness.

Genuinely kind people understand that forgiveness is not about condoning someone’s wrong actions, but about freeing oneself from the burden of resentment.

It’s about replacing anger and bitterness with understanding and compassion.

They are aware that everyone makes mistakes, including themselves, and they are willing to give others a second chance.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or allowing harmful behaviors to continue.

It’s about acknowledging the wrong, but choosing to let go of the resentment that holds us back.

In essence, forgiveness is a gift to oneself as much as it is to the other person.

It’s a sign of emotional maturity and genuine kindness. 

9) They practice kindness towards themselves

Above all, genuinely kind people understand the importance of self-kindness.

They know that to pour out kindness into the world, they must first fill themselves up with it.

Being kind to oneself is not about being selfish or self-centered.

It’s about understanding and accepting oneself, flaws and all. It’s about practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, and forgiving oneself for past mistakes.

Only when we are kind to ourselves can we genuinely extend that kindness to others.

It’s like the safety instructions on an airplane – you must first put on your own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs.

So remember, the journey towards genuine kindness begins within.

Be as kind to yourself as you would be to others.

Because a world filled with kindness begins with one person at a time – and that person could be you.

Reflection: Kindness is contagious

Delving into the psychology of kindness, one thing stands out – kindness is more than a trait, it’s a lifestyle.

It’s a choice we make every day, in every interaction.

Interestingly, research echoes this sentiment. Kindness is indeed contagious.

When we witness acts of kindness, we are more likely to act kindly ourselves.

This ripple effect has the potential to transform our communities and societies.

Imagine a world where everyone chooses kindness, where patience, empathy, and forgiveness are the norm.

So as we reflect on these traits of genuinely kind people, let’s remember that each one of us has the power to change the world in our own little way.

It starts with one kind act, one kind word, one kind thought.

Because at the end of the day, we are all capable of kindness. It’s a part of our human nature.

And sometimes, all it takes is a little reminder to bring it to the fore.

So here’s your reminder: Choose kindness today.

And every day. Because no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Picture of Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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