Genuine Kindness is the Universal Language

· November 4, 2018

Genuine kindness strengthens those who practice it. It goes way beyond good manners or formalities. When kindness is authentic, it demonstrates true consideration and respect for others. It’s also evidence of good character and a key that opens most doors.

The truth is that kindness is a universal language. It isn’t just a language to use among friends, either. Kindness can be really powerful in difficult circumstances or with stubborn people. Most human beings are susceptible to the power of a friendly attitude.

Sometimes we confuse kindness with hypocrisy. Sometimes people pretend to be nice to others or avoid conflict by staying quiet. Or, they might just say whatever they think the other person wants to hear to try and gain control of the situation. This isn’t genuine kindness. It’s more akin to manipulation.

True kindness comes through in people’s body language more than in social formalities. Here are some tips on how to identify genuine kindness.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

-Mark Twain-


Visual contact and genuine kindness

Visual contact is one way to detect hostility and kindness. If someone refuses to look you in the eye, it implies a certain degree of rejectionRaising your jaw to look down at someone or looking at them over your shoulder can also be signs of hostility.

When you look at someone with kindness, on the other hand, you do so spontaneously and warmly. A kind person meets the eye of whoever is talking. When speaking, a genuinely kind person makes eye contact with the listeners. This warm and open contact makes everyone feel comfortable and on equal footing.

A couple looking at each other with genuine kindness.

Gestures of acceptance

Truly kind people respect other people’s opinions. They know how to listen, even if they don’t agree with the other person. Kind people make gestures of approval when other people speak. They do that to encourage conversation and signal that they’re listening.

Nodding your head or leaning slightly towards the other person will encourage the speaker to keep talking. These gestures, however small they may seem, make it easy for people to express themselves. They knock down any barriers that may exist. Smiles are also signs of approval and acceptance. All of these things relax the speaker and make everyone feel more connected.

Finding balance in the conversation

Few people are well-versed in the art of conversation. In an atmosphere of genuine warmth, everyone understands the importance of balance in interactions. Both parties effortlessly perceive the importance of the back-and-forth in a good conversation. There’s a time to speak and a time to listen. This is the only way to establish good communication.

Monopolizing conversations or steering them towards subjects that aren’t of general interest is bad for communication. Ideally, everyone should be able to participate. If people aren’t trying to impose or show off, this happens naturally. Things flow without anyone having to make a special effort.

A couple having a conversation.

Flattery isn’t synonymous with kindness

Some people play the host or hostess in whatever situation they find themselves in. They use flattery and compliments to relate to people and to make themselves seem nice. However, they do it automatically. It’s like they’re reading a script that has nothing to do with what they really think.

Kindness has nothing to do with flattery. Recognizing the worth and value of other people’s achievements is one thing, and fawning over them is another. Being kind is very different from being a sweet-talker. Genuine kindness might adapt to certain situations, but it’s never like theater. Truly nice people aren’t putting on an act.

A happy couple treating each other with genuine kindness.

Kindness if one of the traits that one of the most well-known personality tests evaluates. We’re talking, of course, about The Big Five model. You can check out a great description of this personality test in this study from Jan J. F. Ter Laak.

All human actions and words can be improved with kindness. If we all tried harder to be kind, we’d be able to approach difficult relationships and situations with greater intelligence and ease.