10 everyday situations that reveal your true level of kindness

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Ever wonder how kind you really are?

You don’t need to do big things to show it.

Sometimes, it’s the small stuff that counts.

This article will talk about 10 simple, everyday moments that show your true colors.

So, are you ready to find out what kind of person you really are?

Let’s dive in.

1. How You Treat Waitstaff and Cashiers

We’ve all been there: dining at a restaurant or rushing through a checkout line at the grocery store.

It’s super easy to forget that the people serving us are, well, people. They have feelings, bad days, and dreams, just like we do.

So, do you say “please” and “thank you”? Do you make eye contact or are you too busy scrolling through your phone?

Kindness can be as simple as treating these folks with respect. Being rude or impatient doesn’t just ruin their day; it shows you’re not as kind as you might think.

Remember, a simple smile or “thank you” can go a long way.

So the next time you’re out and about, give it a try and notice how it feels. You might be surprised at what it reveals about you.

2. How You React When Someone Cuts You Off in Traffic

Ah, traffic—everyone’s favorite place to be, right? Just kidding! But seriously, we’ve all been cut off while driving at some point.

Maybe you’re humming along to your favorite song, and boom! Someone zooms in front of you, almost causing an accident.

Now, here’s where the kindness test kicks in. Do you honk like there’s no tomorrow and wave your fists in the air?

Or do you take a deep breath and let it go?

I’ve been in both shoes and trust me, staying calm isn’t just kinder; it’s also a lot less stressful for you.

Being kind in this situation means realizing that we all make mistakes, maybe that person didn’t even see you, or perhaps they’re having an emergency.

Reacting with understanding rather than anger shows your maturity and, you guessed it, your level of kindness.

3. How You Handle Seeing a Homeless Person on the Street

Most of us have walked past a homeless person and felt…something.

Maybe it’s discomfort, guilt, or even annoyance because you’re in a hurry.

Sometimes, it might even be a sense of helplessness, wondering how on Earth to make a difference.

This moment right here is a raw, honest look at your kindness level.

Do you avoid eye contact and rush by? Do you ever think, “They’ll probably use the money for drugs,” and use that as an excuse to keep walking?

I’ve had those thoughts, too. No judgments here; we’re all human.

But the truth is, kindness doesn’t always have to involve giving money.

Sometimes a smile, a respectful nod, or a simple “hello” can offer a moment of dignity to someone who’s struggling.

And if you’re in a position to help more, why not? Offer to buy them a coffee or a meal.

Acts of kindness don’t have to be huge to be meaningful.

Sometimes they can be as simple as acknowledging another human being’s existence when the world has seemingly turned its back on them.

These are the moments that don’t just speak volumes about who you are, but also who you could be if you stretch that kindness muscle a little more.

4. Your Reaction When Someone Else Gets the Promotion You Wanted

You’ve been working your tail off for months, eyes on the prize: that shiny promotion that’s finally within reach.

You’ve put in the hours, aced the projects, and even laughed at the boss’s jokes. Then, the big day arrives, and the promotion goes to… someone else. Ouch.

Here’s the interesting part. Most people might think kindness is about how you treat others when you’re on top.

But sometimes it’s actually about how you act when you’re not the winner.

So, do you walk over to the lucky colleague with a genuine smile and congratulate them?

Or do you fume quietly at your desk, considering them your newest arch-nemesis?

Keep in mind, the way you treat someone who’s where you want to be says a lot about you.

Believe it or not, showing kindness in a moment of personal defeat is empowering.

It reflects a level of self-assurance and grace that, paradoxically, is the stuff promotions are actually made of.

Plus, you never know—the person who got the job this time might be the one recommending you for an even better opportunity down the road.

5. How You Act When You’re Running Late

We’ve all been there: The alarm didn’t go off, you can’t find your keys, and to top it off, you spill coffee on your shirt. Now you’re late for an important meeting or an event. Stress level: 100.

Now, I’ve been in that rush-a-minute situation, and man, is it easy to forget your manners.

You might snap at your partner, honk at slow drivers, or even skip the usual pleasantries with your neighbors or the office receptionist.

But guess what? Being late is already a bummer; don’t make it worse by letting it turn you into someone you’re not proud of.

Even in the hustle to make up for lost time, a moment of kindness—like thanking your spouse for finding your keys or apologizing to the receptionist for your tardiness—doesn’t really cost you any extra time.

But it does offer invaluable insights into your character.

Being late is often out of your control, but how you handle it? That’s all you, baby.

So, the next time you’re racing against the clock, remember that a little kindness won’t slow you down—it just might make the day a bit better for you and those around you.

6. How You Listen (or Don’t Listen) When Someone Else is Talking

You’re in a conversation, maybe it’s with a friend who’s going through a tough time, or perhaps it’s a family member sharing their day.

On the surface, it seems like you’re engaged. You nod, you “uh-huh,” but let’s be truthful—where’s your mind really at?

Are you scrolling through your mental to-do list? Thinking about what you’re going to say next? Or maybe you’re just waiting for them to finish so you can jump in with your own story.

The reality is, most of us are not as good at listening as we think we are.

Here’s why this is a crucial kindness test: True kindness involves giving someone your full attention, without judgment, without planning your next move.

When someone talks, they’re handing you a piece of their life, their worries, their joys.

If you can’t be present for them, it’s not just a missed opportunity for connection; it’s a missed opportunity to be a genuinely kind person.

Listening might seem passive, but it’s one of the most active forms of kindness you can offer someone. 

7. How You React to a Mistake at a Store or Restaurant

You’re out shopping or dining and something goes wrong.

Maybe they mess up your order, or perhaps you get charged for an item you didn’t buy.

It’s frustrating, right?

I’ve been there too, eagerly waiting for my burger only to find out they’ve forgotten the cheese. Oh, the horror!

Now, you have choices here. You could make a big scene, demand to speak to the manager, and ruin someone’s day.

Or you could take a deep breath and handle it with grace.

I’ve seen both reactions in action, and trust me, the second approach makes everyone’s day a lot better, including your own.

Keep in mind, most mistakes are just that—mistakes. They’re not personal attacks on you. Handling it kindly doesn’t mean letting people walk all over you; it means addressing the issue respectfully.

You can be firm and kind at the same time. It’s all in how you say it and your willingness to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

8. How You Treat Your Enemies or People You Don’t Like

Picture this: you’re at a social gathering, a work event, or even just scrolling through social media, and there they are—the person you just can’t stand.

Maybe they’ve wronged you in the past, or perhaps you just don’t vibe with them.

Now, the knee-jerk reaction is to either avoid them like the plague or engage in some not-so-subtle eye-rolling.

But what if, instead, you treated them with the same courtesy you’d offer a friend?

Here’s the thing: it’s easy to be kind to people we like.

The real challenge? Extending that kindness to those we’d rather not share an elevator with.

Greeting them warmly or even just offering a polite nod doesn’t mean you’re fake; it means you’re mature enough to put your personal feelings aside for the sake of social harmony.

Believe it or not, this tiny act isn’t just good for them; it’s good for you. It frees you from the emotional baggage that comes with holding grudges.

Plus, who knows? Today’s enemy could be tomorrow’s ally. Your small act of kindness could be the catalyst for change, not just in them but also in the dynamic between you two.

9. Your Reaction to Someone Else’s Good News

A friend or family member comes to you, bubbling with excitement, to share some fantastic news.

Maybe they’ve landed their dream job, got engaged, or maybe they’re going to be parents. Incredible news—for them. But how do you truly feel inside?

Are you genuinely happy for them? Or do you feel a pang of jealousy, overshadowed by thoughts like, “Why can’t that be me?” or “I deserve that too, maybe even more.”

It’s uncomfortable to confront these feelings, but we’ve all had them at one point or another.

This is one of those unfiltered moments where your level of kindness is put to the test.

Why?

Because kindness isn’t just about being good to others; it’s about being good for others.

Celebrating someone else’s happiness, even when you’re still waiting for your own, is a sign of emotional generosity.

If you find it difficult to be happy for them, that’s a sign. It’s not a scarlet letter or anything, but it’s a moment to pause and ask yourself why. Is it jealousy, insecurity, or a sense of entitlement?

The next time someone shares their good news with you, use it as an opportunity to grow in kindness—toward them and also toward yourself.

After all, everyone’s life journey is different, and your moment to shine will come.

But in the meantime, how you celebrate others will say a lot about you.

10. How You Behave When No One is Watching

You know those moments when you’re completely alone, and you have a choice to make?

Maybe it’s deciding whether to return the extra change the cashier mistakenly gave you, or perhaps it’s the choice to recycle that plastic bottle instead of tossing it in the regular trash.

For me, it was once finding a lost wallet and pondering for a split second whether to take a peek inside.

In those moments, there’s no audience, no applause, no social media likes to earn. Just you and your decision.

These are perhaps the most telling instances when it comes to gauging your true level of kindness.

Making the “right” choice, even when no one would know otherwise, is a powerful statement about your character.

And let’s be real, it’s in these moments where we might be tempted to act differently because there’s no immediate consequence—except, of course, for the imprint it leaves on your soul.

Next time you’re faced with one of these small but mighty choices, think about who you want to be, not just what’s easiest in the moment.

Sometimes, the truest tests of kindness are the ones we give ourselves, away from the eyes of the world.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

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With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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