Thoughtful people do thoughtful things. They look out for others and are always striving to do the right thing by the people they love.
Having thoughtful people in your life can be a wonderful experience. After all, who doesn’t want to feel deeply cared about?
But it isn’t always easy to tell if someone is a genuinely thoughtful person. Particularly if you’ve only just met or have recently started dating.
It also isn’t easy to figure out if someone you’ve known for a long time is not quite as thoughtful as they initially seemed.
Here are 9 traits of a truly thoughtful person to help you decide who’s a good egg.
1) They remember little things about you
In relationships and friendships, it’s always the little things that make a big difference (as evidenced by Psych Central’s research).
If someone remembers something you like, follows up about an event you did, or does something because you told them it’s what you wanted, it’s a sign they’re very thoughtful.
For example, if you mentioned you’ve always wanted to try Oolong tea, and it shows up after your roommate or partner has done their weekly shopping trip.
Or if you told a friend you were starting a new job in two weeks’ time, and they message you on your first day to wish you luck.
It’s the little things, and it shows they’re thinking of you.
2) They keep little lists about you
A thoughtful person doesn’t just remember things about you. They actually take the time to write them down, too. So they never, ever forget.
For example, an ex-boyfriend of mine used to keep little lists of things I liked. Like how my favorite dinner was lasagne, I liked green tea, and my top choice of car air freshener was anything berry scented.
He said it was so if I was ever feeling down and he was feeling helpless, he had a little list of things he could do for me/get for me to make me smile.
Keeping lists in their head and simply knowing what you like is just as good.
But there’s something about knowing they took the time to write it down that makes them even more thoughtful.
3) They think about you and how you might be feeling
This applies in the most basic terms and in the bigger ways, too.
For example, if you’ve got a job interview coming up, they’ll think that you might be nervous and act in a way that helps.
They might do things like helping you prepare notes, ensuring you get a good night’s sleep the night before, and wishing you good luck in the morning.
Or if you’re going through a stressful time, they’ll think about ways they can subtly ease your troubles. Like organizing your desk for you, doing your portion of chores, or finding ways to make you smile.
4) They question you (in a good way) if something seems off
Questioning you sounds negative, and it definitely can be. But when someone questions something you said or done (or didn’t say or do!), this can be a sign of a thoughtful person.
Let’s look at some healthy examples of this:
Your partner asks how you are and if you’re feeling okay, because they noticed you skipped lunch today or didn’t make your morning coffee as normal.
Your friend texts you after meeting to ask if everything is alright, as you were quieter than normal or didn’t seem yourself.
A bad example would be them saying, “What’s wrong with you today?” or “Are you in a mood?”.
The first two are examples of thoughtful behavior. The last is the complete opposite.
5) They consider how their actions affect others
Thoughtful people think about others. That’s just a fact.
They consider how their actions and decisions will affect others, not just themselves. They also think about how their decisions will impact you right now and in the future.
For example, what does accepting a new job mean for their portion of childcare? Or, if they go out last minute with work, how will this impact your evening plans?
They also don’t always pick the option that works best for them and only them. Sometimes, when it’s right to do so, they make sacrifices for the good of others (i.e., you).
6) They don’t assume the bill is split evenly
Everyone has different opinions on how bills should and shouldn’t be split, particularly in romantic relationships.
But splitting the bill doesn’t just apply to relationships. Friends go out for dinner and drinks all the time, and splitting the bill evenly isn’t always what everyone wants.
I think we’ve all been there on nights out when your friend has ordered significantly more than you, while all you got was cheap pasta and tap water.
A clear trait of a thoughtful person is that they don’t immediately assume you’ll cover the costs of their extravagance.
Instead, they’ll offer to pay more for their portion of the bill, and it’s up to you to split it evenly or take them up on the offer.
7) They remember what they owe you (and make efforts to pay you back)
As gathered from the last point, money is important to many of us, especially in our friendships and relationships.
Money has the power to drive a wedge between the most strong and stable relationships.
In fact, according to NCBI’s collective research, money is a leading cause of relationship concern, marital distress, and even divorce. Studies have also shown that 1 in 3 people have or would cut ties with friends due to money issues.
Paying attention to money is important in any relationship. A thoughtful person knows this and remembers if they owe you money, especially if it’s a large amount.
And, without being asked, they’ll make efforts to pay you back quickly.
8) They return the favor
Keeping tally and drawing up a mental scoreboard in your head of everything you’ve done (or another person has done for you) simply isn’t healthy.
When you love or care about someone, you do things for them because you want to. Not because you want something in return.
But, regardless of this, it’s nice when people remember what you’ve done for them and make an effort to return the favor.
For example, if you’ve made them breakfast in bed the last few Saturdays, they’ll make you breakfast the following week to show gratitude.
Or if you’ve driven them everywhere recently, they’ll offer to drive next time to return the favor.
9) They say thank you
On the topic of returning the favor, another clear sign that someone is thoughtful is if they say thank you.
Put simply, they notice the things you’ve done for them, and they appreciate you for it.
That’s all there is to it. A simple thank you here and then.
It’s small, thoughtful, and has a big impact on the quality of our relationships. It can even help your relationships last longer, according to Study Finds).
Final thoughts (pun intended!)
Being an overthinker is a term thrown around often. It’s also a term that’s considered negative. And, in some respects, overthinking isn’t good for you.
But, sometimes, overthinking can be confused with just plain, simple thinking. And thinking about you, for that matter.
Many of these behaviors can be misconstrued, and thoughtful people can also be called overthinkers. But sometimes, they aren’t that at all.
They’re just thoughtful people with thoughtful traits. And those little thoughts can make your friendships and relationships a million times better.
After all, it’s the thought that counts!