How to Be a Sweetheart
Being sweet to people can be a good way to get along with others and earn some appreciation, but to be a real sweetheart, you'll need to do more than simply playing the part. Think about the way you interact with others and try to fix mean-spirited behaviors at the core of your personality. Once you do that, speaking and acting like a sweetheart will come naturally.
Consider the other point of view.No matter how strange or frustrating someone's actions may seem, everyone has his or her own set of circumstances. Take these circumstances into consideration and think about how things must seem from that person's perspective as a result.
- For instance, if you're playing a game with someone who has never played it before, don't make fun of that person for having a hard time understanding the rules. The experience might be frustrating or embarrassing for that person, so it would be much kinder to help than to tease.
- Similarly, if you accidentally bump into someone and that person yells at you for it, pause and tell yourself that he or she might have reasons for being irritable that you don't know about. Instead of yelling back, a better option would be to apologize and politely excuse yourself.
Maintain a positive attitude.Ideally, you should try to approach life with an attitude of optimism and subtle confidence. People tend to react better to those who can appreciate themselves and the world around them.
- It might sound cliché, but count your blessings when you feel tempted to dwell on the negative things going on in your life.
- While self-confidence is a good trait to have, you should avoid seeming arrogant. A positive self-image is all about having good feelings for yourself. Arrogance means viewing your own self as being better or more important than those around you.
- Be positive when people turn to you for encouragement, too. Instead of dwelling on everything that could go wrong, try to show that person how things could go right.
Accept being overlooked.There are times when your sweet, kind acts may go unrecognized. Learn to accept those occurrences without making a big fuss over being unnoticed.
- It's natural to want credit for the good you do, but if you're doing good only for the sake of getting attention, you have the wrong sort of motive. Do good merely because it's the right thing to do.
- Even this has its limits, though. Don't let others abuse or mistreat you. If you don't stand up for yourself, you might end up looking like a weakling instead of a strong sweetheart.
Remind yourself.When people are rude to you, look at their behavior as a reminder of what not to do. In doing so, you can reaffirm your own actions and stop yourself from reacting to the situation poorly.
- Acknowledge positive examples to follow, too. When you see someone do something sweet for another person, make a mental note of it and try to repeat a similar action later on.
Greet enthusiastically.Speak and act with enthusiasm when you greet someone, regardless of whether that person is someone new or someone familiar.
- Greet each person by name whenever possible. Even the most enthusiastic “Hey!” pales in comparison to “Hey, Jim!” or “Hey, Sally!”
- Use phrases that express your enthusiasm. When greeting someone you already know, try something like, “It's great to see you again.” When greeting someone new, consider something like, “I'm so happy to meet you.”
- Back up your words with nonverbal communication. Smiles are almost always a good idea. A warm hug is great when you're greeting someone you're close to, and a hearty handshake works well for less intimate acquaintances.
Hold balanced conversations.Give the person you're speaking with plenty of opportunity to voice his or her own thoughts. It isn't enough to merely listen, though. You'll also need to respond and talk about your own ideas, as well.
- It might be tempting to let the other person take complete control of the conversation, but doing so might actually work against you. By responding to the things others say and interjecting your own thoughts, you can demonstrate that you are fully engaged in the conversation and not distracted. Just make sure that you don't interrupt someone else as he or she is speaking.
Compliment others.People enjoy compliments. When someone says something good about you, it probably boosts your self-esteem and sense of confidence. Complimenting someone else will do the same for him or her.
- Compliments in general are important, but it's also important to maintain a certain degree of sincerity. Flattery that isn't genuine can easily sound sarcastic, and sarcasm almost never seems sweet.
Look for connections.Trying to make small talk with someone relatively unfamiliar can be difficult, but the easiest way to leave a sweet impression is by latching onto a topic the other party enjoys that you enjoy, as well.
Think before you speak.The first thing that comes to mind isn't always the best thing to say. To avoid potential misunderstandings or difficulties, you should pause before saying whatever is on your mind. If you think it seems kind and appropriate after a few seconds of analysis, it should be safe to say.
- As a general rule, you should avoid insensitive remarks or sharp, mean-spirited retorts. This can be difficult, especially if the other person is pushing your buttons, but keeping your cool will make you seem like a real sweetheart to any bystanders. The person trying to argue with you might appreciate it, too, after calming down, and you will probably even feel better about yourself for taking the high road instead of giving into the temptation to play dirty.
Anticipate and act accordingly.Once you get to know someone, past experience with that person should help you anticipate his or her feelings, wants, and needs. Take some time to anticipate that person's response in a given situation and act in a way that takes his or her personality into account.
- For example, if you know that working late tends to make your spouse grumpy, take that into consideration the next time he or she has to stay late at the office. Don't complain about the fact that your spouse is late and avoid bringing up tense topics of conversation (in other words, now is not the time to scold your spouse for his or her spending habits). Consider doing something nice and relaxing for your spouse, too, like cooking dinner or drawing a bath.
Show respect.In all situations, you should show the same sort of respect you would like to receive. This is true even when someone treats you disrespectfully.
- Showing respect requires little effort beyond being civil. For instance, you might hold a door open for someone whose arms are full or hold your tongue instead of lashing out at someone who frustrates you.
Treat everyone fairly.Don't play favorites, even if you really do favor one person over the other. Behaving justly in all circumstances will reduce the risk of creating hard feelings with people.
- When two or more opposing parties expect you to help mediate a disagreement, you should try to work toward a fair solution for all.
- For instance, if you're going out to dinner with two friends and they disagree about where to eat, it might be fairest to side with the friend who picks the least often, even if his or her tastes don't match your own. If that friend's first choice specializes in a type of food your other friend is allergic to, however, you might also want to point that out and suggest that the chooser pick another restaurant.
Go out of your way to help out.Helping others can be inconvenient. If you only help out when doing so is easy and convenient, though, you aren't doing much beyond what anyone might do. A sweetheart helps out even when it isn't necessarily pleasant or simple.
- Be on the lookout for ways to help people who won't necessarily ask for help. This might mean giving up your seat to an elderly person when you're on a crowded bus or letting the person standing directly behind you in line cut in front when he or she has fewer items to buy.
Smile and laugh.When interacting with people, you should do your best to smile at them. Laugh at their jokes and behave in a generally amiable manner.
- Smiling and laughing sets people at ease and sends the message that you are a pleasant, friendly person to be with.
- You need to pay attention to the mood, of course. If you're being introduced to someone at a funeral or other sad occasion, smiling and laughing could be perceived as insensitivity.
Have patience.Patience can be a hard skill to master, but the effort is usually worth it. People who are patient in situations that would usually evoke impatience are typically perceived as being sweet and good-natured.
- When you feel a bout of impatience coming on, try to catch it and calm down as soon as possible. For instance, if you're standing in a long line at a fast food restaurant, you might grow irritated when you see the clerk make mistakes or the people in front of you order abnormally slow. Remind yourself that losing your temper won't make the line go faster. When it's your turn, greet the cashier with a smile and be polite as you place your order. If the wait really proves too stressful or inconvenient, silently leave and go elsewhere without making a fuss about it.
Clean up your own messes.Fix the messes you make, whether those messes are figurative or literal. People who don't take responsibility and expect others to clean up after them come across as being rude and uncaring. By contrast, taking responsibility for your own space and life can make you seem much sweeter.
- In a literal sense, picking up after yourself means cleaning the spaces and tools you use. Throw your garbage away instead of leaving it lying around and wipe up your own spills instead of waiting for someone to do it for you.
- In a figurative sense, this means solving your own problems instead of relying on someone else to do it for you. When you get into an argument with someone, take the initiative and apologize first. Talk things over with the people you disagree with instead of waiting for a third party to step in and do it for you.
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