15 simple traits of a truly decent person

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In a time where we hear stories about assholes more than those actually trying to make the world a better place, it would seem like all the decent people are gone.

I thought so too – when I just realized that the assholes were just louder.

Decent people still exist. It’s just you have to look really hard for them sometimes. Here are some of the signs that you should watch out for:

1. Lets Others Speak

Decent people are considerate.

They take other people’s situations into account and accommodate them as best as they can.

In social situations where someone may not be comfortable with speaking out loud, these people are often the first people to give that person the space to speak up.

They won’t even make a fuss about it: they’ll subtly do it by either introducing the other person or involving them in the conversation.

I’ve seen many situations where someone is shy or hesitant to join the group dynamics – then that person notices them and actively includes them in what’s going on.

2. Admits Their Weak Points

While society has made a lot of progress towards self-acceptance, there’s still a stigma about admitting that you’re bad at something.

But I’ve never heard decent people become shy about their shortcomings.

They understand that there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you aren’t good at something.

They’re also not shy about saying that they’re working on self-improvement.

A lot of people will often downplay or hide that they’re trying to improve at something, either because they’re self-conscious or scared of being judged.

However, decent people will always work towards something, and even ask for help if they need it.

3. Cleans Their Surroundings

I always thought the saying that “cleanliness is next to godliness” was overrated, until I saw how often people just leave messes in their wake.

That’s why a decent person would never make a mess – and even further, clean up after themselves and others.

It’s not even because of a personal preference, but it’s the knowledge that keeping things neat helps others aside from themselves.

Even if they may be sometimes untidy, a decent person will never let their messes affect and spill over someone else.

4. Is Comfortable With The Unknown

Decent people always possessed a certain level of chill that I always envied.

They were never in a hurry or insecure about any situation. I wondered how that worked until I found out their attitude towards the unknown.

A decent person is secure in themselves to be confident that they can handle things that aren’t in control.

But at the same time, they’re comfortable enough with the things they can’t change.

The unknown doesn’t scare them, because they know that trying to control everything can easily lead to stepping on other people’s boundaries.

5. Is Generous With Their Time

In today’s economy, it’s already difficult enough to give someone your money – much less your time.

But decent people are generous with their time, and they’re always ready to hear you out. It’s not something that invites a lot of attention; sometimes it’s just the two of you having a cup of coffee together.

Either way, they’re always willing to give you their time.

This is not just them being considerate: it’s also understanding that everyone always needs someone to hear them out.

No matter how long or how short the interaction is, you’ll always find someone ready to listen when you talk to them.

6. Communicates Well

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten myself into trouble by not saying what I mean, or failing to communicate it well.

But decent people are great communicators since they know the value of everyone being on the same page.

Communication is one of those personal skills that you don’t notice unless your relationship is suffering from a lack of it.

Decent people are always easy to talk to, and you never have to second-guess what they mean.

Above all else, they always involve you in these clear conversations.

7. Takes An Interest In Other People’s Interests

Someone taking a genuine interest in what you like is a rarity these days. For me, I feel so self-conscious about revealing the things that I like doing or have an interest in for the fear of being judged.

But decent people won’t judge your interests – they may even show an interest in learning more about it.

They always support others, even if it’s just by sharing something with you that’s related to your hobbies.

8. Usually Takes Initiative

Decent people know that waiting on someone isn’t always the best option.

Whether it’s because they’re shy, can’t do it, or don’t have the mental capacity to do it – people sometimes lack initiative in doing things.

And more often than not, it sometimes gets to a point where nothing gets done at all.

I’ve been yanked out of a dark place more than once by a friend who took the initiative to reach out when I wasn’t.

They just know that sometimes sitting around and waiting to do nothing does more harm than good – so they take initiative.

9. Isn’t Afraid To Criticize

In that same vein, people are also scared or hesitant to criticize someone, even if they may have genuinely good points for improvement.

A decent person understands that feedback is one the best ways of getting better at something – so they aren’t afraid to criticize others at all.

They’re one of the best people I could ever ask for their opinion on something because I know they’ll tell me as it is.

It may not be something I agree with, but I’d rather get an honest dissenting opinion than just a blind agreement.

10. Watches How They Say Things

I’m honestly puzzled at people who pride themselves on being “brutally honest” – sure, you’re honest, but you’re also proud that you have to hurt other people’s feelings to do it?

But ask a decent person, and they’ll tell you that the way you say things may sometimes be just as important or more important than what you want to say.

Decent people are tactful. It’s a subtle trait that you’ll really only notice if you’re actively looking for it.

Listen to how they talk, especially when expressing their opinion: never judgemental, always supportive, but not holding back anything.

In short, they’re considerate of the other person’s feelings.

11. Is Okay With Silence

There are plenty of ways that you can say you’re comfortable with someone.

But I think one of the best ways to know this for sure is whether or not you’re comfortable with their silence.

Decent people understand that silence isn’t something to be freaked out about. Sometimes it’s just best to enjoy the moment as is.

They won’t go out of their way to fill any silence, and won’t pressure you to do the same either.

They know that silence just is, and nothing’s wrong with that.

12. Is An Active Reader

In my experience, decent people are always receptive to new thoughts, and new ideas – which is why I often find them reading.

They don’t limit themselves to their favorite genres or authors either: they’ll happily read a recommendation that you give them.

I think it’s because they know that the best way to get a good idea (or at least a decent one) is to get a lot of ideas.

And reading them is one of the better ways to get as many ideas as possible if only to help them on their journey to self-improvement.

13. Is Naturally Witty

This might seem strange, but I’ve noticed there’s a definite correlation between a person’s sense of decency and their sense of humor.

A decent person will know that there are situations where you have to be serious, but there are also plenty of times when laughing is the best solution.

As a result, they’re naturally witty and funny people to be around with. You won’t find them up on a comedy stage, but they’ll always be ready with something to say that can lighten the situation.

14. Makes Giving A Regular Routine Of Their Life

It’s popular for people to set up drives for donations or help out others in need at their lowest moments.

This is all well and good, but truly decent people take this a step further and just make helping others a regular fixture in their life.

They’re the people that you’ll most often find as regular donors to things like children’s hospitals, pet shelters, or their local churches.

Helping others isn’t an occasional privilege to them, but a regular duty to help make their surroundings a better place.

15. Lets Other People Act On Their Own Pace

When you’re comfortable with doing or saying something, it can sometimes be easy to forget that others don’t have the same background or experience as you do.

This means that you sometimes push people to match your pace, even if you don’t realize it.
Decent people always make accommodations for someone else’s situation.

They’re all right with others taking their time, and will even help them out without prompting. It’s just an inherent respect for someone else’s own capabilities and not imposing their own.

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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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