How not to be a jerk.

A random act of kindness in a stranger’s day sometimes involves no action at all; it can simply involve refraining from the little things we don’t even consciously think about. Often, the things that bring a person’s day down are the most simple acts or omissions that don’t even cross our minds – because we’re thinking of ourselves. Doing the things on this list may not even make someone smile, but it could prevent a frown on a day where they really don’t need another thing knocking them down.
1. When you’re driving and people let you in front of them: wave.

2. When someone has only one or two items at the supermarket check out: let them go in front of you.

3. If someone is struggling to open a door because they have items/children in their hands: open it for them.

4. When someone drops something in a public place and everyone turns to watch: pick it up for them.

5. If someone accidentally forgets to charge you for something in a store: come back in and pay for it.

6. If you are on public transport and are carrying a bag: don’t put it on the spare seat next to you in while people stand.

7. If someone’s parents have a different attitude to yours: don’t flaw their parenting.

8. When someone is driving at the speed limit: don’t tailgate them aggressively and dangerously dart in and out of cars.

9. When there is a speed limit: don’t drive more than 10km under it in the fast lane.

10. If you feel the need to complain about being ‘too skilled, ‘too good looking’, ‘too wealthy’ or ‘too loved’: don’t.

11. When you are traveling with a group and aren’t enjoying yourself: don’t expect the group to cater their trip to the moments you feel like participating.

12. If you’re in a country where you can’t speak the native language: humbly attempt words as they appear on labels, buildings and signs around you.

13. If someone looks/sounds/acts/dresses differently: don’t nudge your friends and laugh (especially when they can see you mocking them).

14. If someone has food caught in between their teeth or on their face: tell them (privately).

15. When someone brings food to an event or work: don’t eat more than your share without regard for others.


16. When you make plans with someone: don’t change them unless you have to. If you do, let them know as soon as you know.

17. When someone does you a favour, or even if they’re just doing their job: say please and thank you.

18. If you are getting onto any form of public transport: wait for people to get off first.

19. If anyone is wearing a revealing outfit: don’t feel free to exercise your non-existent right to touch them without permission.

20. If you can’t find a bin to put your rubbish in: hold onto it until you find a bin.

21. When you need to cough or sneeze: cover your mouth.

22. If you see a small insect walking along the pathway: don’t just tread on it for the sake of it.

23. When you accidentally bump into someone: say sorry – even if it’s not your fault.

24. If you work in retail and you’re having a crappy day: don’t treat all your customers like the person you’re really mad at.

25. If you visit any hospitality or retail store on your day off: don’t treat the staff like they’re servants.

26. Regardless of gender, if you propose to someone that you should immediately have sex: you better be the one with protection.

27. If you know someone finds a particular joke/word/topic offensive: don’t insist on talking about it all the time.

28. When you’re feeling sad, stressed or angry: don’t post it on Facebook. Definitely don’t post it on Facebook and then say you don’t want to talk about it. Hashtagging ‘#sad’ won’t make your pain more legitimate.

29. If you notice that your nails are particularly long when you’re in a public place: don’t choose that moment to shed your excess trimmings onto strangers.

30. If you know that someone hasn’t watched or read the last episode or book in a series: don’t spoil the ending.

And of course, the obvious but seldom followed rule: as you go through life day by day, treat all strangers exactly how you’d like them to treat you.

This post was first published on Bullsh!t Blog and is republished here with full permission. Cyndall McInerney was inspired to write this when a stranger paid for her bus fare in the peak hour commute for no reason other than to make her day a whole lot sweeter. You can follow Cyndall on Twitter here.

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