Learn how to be gracious
How to Be Gracious
People who are gracious treat others with the tact, kindness, and respect that they deserve. They put others first and care more about listening than talking all the time. They give their time, their love, and their efforts toward causes that improve the lives of people in need, whether they are suffering friends or perfect strangers. It’s not always easy to be gracious in a world that can quickly frustrate you, but if you make an effort to have more grace in your everyday life, then you can start changing for the better. Here’s how to do it.
Being Gracious Toward Others
Thank people for their efforts.One of the most important qualities of a gracious person is the ability to thank people for their efforts, however big or small they were. Even if a co-worker is just calling you to tell you something, thank him or her for making the effort. If someone is asking you to donate money on the street, thank them for trying, even if you say no. If a friend picks up coffee or reminds you that your favorite show is coming on later, say thank you.
- A big part of being gracious is being able to appreciate what people do for you. And how do you show your appreciation? You say thank you.
- You can say “thank you” with a small gift, a note, or even a hug. There are a number of ways to thank somebody, and you have to pick the best way for the situation.
Be a good listener.Gracious people are other-driven, not self-driven, and they care more about other people than they care about themselves. Make an effort to really hear what people are saying to you, to make eye contact, and to put away any distractions, like your phone, which may keep you from fully giving people the attention that they need. Don’t interrupt people and hold your questions or comments to the end so they can finish saying what they have to say and feel like you really care about them.
- Note all of the details of what a person is saying to you, so you can bring them up later. If someone mentions that his sister just had a baby girl, the next time you see him, you can ask how his little niece is doing; the person will be impressed that you care enough to remember this.
- Show sympathy. If a person is upset, you can say, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through. That must be so hard because…” Let the person see that you’ve really heard what you were told.
- Don’t multi-task. If you’re sending an email or texting a friend and a co-worker or roommate wants to talk to you, just ask to hold off for a minute so you can give that person your full attention.
Pay attention to others.Being gracious means paying attention to people in social situations. Instead of worrying about how you come off or what you should say next, you should watch other people to have a sense of their moods, to see if they are worried or anxious, and to understand how they interact with each other. Though it’s good to be self-aware enough to be tactful, respectful, and kind, it’s equally important to notice what other people are thinking and feeling.
- A gracious person understands that other people are just as important as he or she is. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to them.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.Gracious people don’t look for ways to cut people down, criticize them, or make them feel small. They do quite the opposite. Even if they’re not sure about a person’s intentions, they keep things positive and imagine that people want the best for everyone, too. Instead of gossiping or saying something negative about a person you don’t know that well, imagine that he or she is a nice person, just like you.
- If you make a habit of doing this, then you’ll have a reputation of being a kind, respectful person, instead of a mean gossip, and people will want to spend even more time with you.
Compliment others.Gracious people are always looking for the good in people and are therefore invested in making other people feel good about themselves – not in a “because it’ll make people like me more” kind of way, but in a very real, genuine way that makes them want to give credit where credit is due. Look around. Compliment not just the most obvious things (“I love your new haircut”) but the things people work hard for (“I love how the sunlight hits the furniture in your room. You must have spend hours decorating!”) to show that you’re really paying attention.
- If you don’t feel like giving a compliment, don’t do it just to be nice. But if you make a habit of complimenting people, you’ll be better at spotting opportunities where people deserve a compliment.
Be gracious instead of winning.If you want to be gracious, then remember that it’s more important for everyone to be happy than for you to be right. Instead of trying to prove your point, argue with the person next to you (even if you’re positive that you’re right), you should be kind to the person, change the subject, or say something like, “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.” Swallowing your pride may not be fun, but neither is arguing with someone just so you can look good – there’s nothing gracious about that, is there?
- If you really have the urge to argue with someone or correct him or her, just count backwards from ten and tell yourself that it won’t really be worth it. What will you gain from it?
- If two people are arguing in front of you, be gracious by changing the subject.
Put others first.Being gracious means saying “after you” in the literal and metaphorical sense. If you want to be gracious, then you have to put others first, whether you’re letting someone order ice cream before you thought you’re having a killer chocolate craving, or whether you’re letting a car cut in in front of you even if you’re late to work. It’s a mindset. Other people should go before you, and it’s really not so important – you’ll get your turn anyway, and you’ll be more gracious for it.
- This doesn’t mean you should let people walk all over you, though. It does mean that you should put others first when it is reasonable to do so.
Developing Gracious Qualities
Be humble.Gracious people are always humble. They don’t brag about how great they are or show off; instead, they act modest and wait for other people to note their achievements. They don’t make a spectacle of themselves, they are in awe of how big and complicated the world is, and they don’t march into a room like they own the place. If you want to be humble, then be happy to be who you are without showing off about it.
- Always give other people credit. If someone says you’ve done great work on a project, mention that you couldn’t have done it without the help of your other co-workers.
Be respectful.Treat other people with kindness and respect – even if they don’t always deserve it. Be punctual if you said you were going to be somewhere. Hold doors for people. Don’t text your friends or look distracted when you’re supposed to be giving another person your full attention. Make eye contact, don’t curse, and treat people kindly regardless of their social status or their position within your social network or company.
- Treating people with respect means treating everyone the same, regardless of what you think they can do for you.
Be tactful.Having tact means not saying anything that is offensive, off-color, or just plain weird. Tactful people think before they speak and they are discreet if they have to say something slightly uncomfortable – like if they have to tell a person that he has something in his teeth. Be aware of what you say and also of how you say it – you may mean well, but your comment may be taken the wrong way because of your tone or the words you used.
- Being tactful means not bringing up anything that can cause a stir. If you know you’re hanging out with two people who have very opposite views on Obamacare, for example, then don’t bring it up in their company.
Be generous.Generous people are able to give – whether it’s their time, their money, or their love and kindness. Be a person who is always looking for a way to help others, whether we’re talking about your closest friends or perfect strangers who are in need. Cultivate a generous spirit that is always looking for ways to help other people and to improve and expand their lives.
- Being generous with your time is important. Sure, helping your friend clean her apartment will be a time suck, but she’ll really appreciate all of the help since she’s been so down in the dumps lately because of her break-up.
- Being generous also means recognizing opportunities when you can help out. Your sick friend may not say that he’d love it if you picked up chicken soup for lunch, but that doesn’t mean he won’t appreciate it.
Learn to take a compliment.It’s important to take a compliment the right way if you really want to be gracious. Thank people for their compliments, and show how much their words mean to you. You don’t have to downplay it or make it sound like you don’t deserve it; sounding overly-modest can get a little bit annoying. Instead, say something like, “Thank you so much for saying that. It means so much to me.”
- If you can give a return compliment at the time, that would be great. For example, if someone says, “Thank you so much for helping me with my math homework,” you can say, “It was my pleasure. And thank you for helping me with the English homework last week. That was so helpful.”
Take criticism well.Gracious people know how to handle criticism – whether it’s constructive or not. If the criticism is constructive, then you have to be able to see the value from it, learn from it, and make a plan for growing or improving the qualities you were criticized for. And if the criticism was just meant to hurt you, then you can let it roll off your back and take the higher ground by not saying something negative about the person in return.
- A great deal about your character can be revealed depending on how you take criticism. If you immediately get angry and defensive then this shows that you are uncomfortable acknowledging your flaws. Furthermore, it just won’t be very gracious.
Be grateful.Gracious people act the way they do because they know how to count their blessings instead of focusing on the challenges they have to face. They know exactly what they have to be thankful for, whether it’s their health, their friends, their family, and/or their opportunities, and they never forget any of those things for a second. If you want to be grateful, then you have to always know how much you have to be thankful for, no matter how upset or frustrated you may be feeling at any given moment.
- If you’re really feeling out of your element or down in the dumps, it helps to write a gratitude list. This can include all of the things you’re thankful for, and you can add to it whenever another thing occurs to you. Taking the time to read over the list and smile can make you feel more grateful no matter how bad your day was.
Going the Extra Mile
Volunteer.Give your time to people who really need it and help out in your community by working at a soup kitchen, library, homeless shelter, or another place where you can help people in need. Do this at least once a week and see how much of an impact you can have on the people around you – and how much they can change your life for the better. You should volunteer because you really feel like making a difference, and you will see how much more gracious you become when you see all of the challenges that other people had to face to be where they are.
- You’ll see that the people you are helping will be helping you out as much as you’re helping them. Volunteering can make you feel more grateful for all of the advantages you have and will give you a fresh perspective.
Do favors for other people.If you really want to be gracious, then you shouldn’t just help out your friends when they really need you; you should do them favors just to say thank you, just because they’ve been good friends, or because you know they need a little bit of cheering up. Pick up lunch for your friends, help them do laundry, or give them a ride to their work when their car breaks down. Help your mom clean the floor. You’ll be all the more gracious for it.
- If you have a good relationship, then you’ll receive some favors in return, and you’ll feel happy about the reciprocation.
Admit your mistakes.Truly gracious people know that they aren’t perfect and are ready to admit their shortcomings. Whether you’ve hurt a friend, said something you didn’t mean, or messed up at work, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that you aren’t perfect and make a goal to improve the next time around. It’s far more important to admit to your flaws than to be in denial in order to save face and look tough. Sure, it won’t be pleasant, but you’ll be all the more gracious for giving the people around you the respect they deserve by admitting your mistakes and apologizing for them.
- When you do apologize, make sure that you are sincere and really mean it, so the people around you don’t think you’re apologizing just to get it over with.
Write “thank you” cards.Sending “thank you” cards to people is another great way to show your gratitude. Thank your professors, colleagues, or other important people who have improved your life, and make it a habit. You don’t even have to be so formal: thank your best friends, your significant other, or even your neighbors for helping you out during a difficult time. Try to send at least one “thank you” card each month and you’ll be even more aware of all that you have to be thankful for.
Show people that you really care.Doing this makes people feel important. Get good grades to show your teachers that you respect them and follow their good teaching rules. Follow your parent's advice on what to do, and hear their opinions on things. Doing things like this will leave you, and other people feeling great. They will really feel important that you are taking the time to learn from them.
QuestionWhat if I'm not really intelligent?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAnyone can be gracious and kind, regardless of his or her level of intelligence.Thanks!
QuestionI am a student, does it matter?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes! It's important if you want to make new friends and maintain healthy relationships with your family and others.Thanks!
- Respect your friends too. Your friends are fun to be with and they support you highly. Go out of your way to thank them, or plan a special get together to get closer to them.
- Offer to help younger siblings with their homework, comfort them when they are feeling sad, or play with them when they look bored. They will really appreciate this, and they will look up to your kind ways.
- If it is your parent's birthday, get them a present or make them a special card to show that you care about them, and that you took the time to go out of your way to celebrate them.
- Never lie to get out of a situation. Do your duties and let people know that you are an honest person. Be sure to always tell the truth in every situation.
- If you ever get into a fight with your parents, hear their opinions carefully and try your hardest to learn from your mistakes. Never yell or accuse them of ruining your life.
Sources and Citations
In other languages:
Español: , Português: , Français: , 中文: , Русский: , Italiano: , Deutsch: , Bahasa Indonesia:
Video: The Art of Diplomacy
Easy Summer Eating Plan: Final Tips
How to Prevent Hepatitis C Infection
Meet Your Favorite New Superfood:Lucuma
10 things you didn’t know about being a model
20 Makeup Tips for Contact Lens Wearers
10 Awesome Ways To Identify And Fix Dry And Damaged Hair
How to Evaluate Offshore Asset Protection
Heres why automatic bathroom sensors suck
7 Surprising Foods That Kill Your Sex Drive
How to Care for Fresh Cut Tulips