Unconventional behaviors which I endorse

  • Compliment people. It’s a free action and makes people pretty happy. I think lots of people feel awkward about it but should try hard to get over that awkwardness.
  • When someone is in a rough spot, instead of saying ‘Let me know if there’s anything I can do’, list a bunch of concrete actions you could take to help them and let them choose.
  • If you’re about to start a relationship, talk about big picture stuff, e.g. kids early on.
  • Be strongly biased towards sharing thoughts / opinions, even if they’re likely bad. It’s usually easy to filter out bad thoughts / opinions, but having lots of potentially good thoughts exist in the space is super useful. (It might be a good thought, or generate other good thoughts.) Are you mostly not sharing because you think you might look bad? I give you moral permission to share and over-qualify whatever you say.
  • Try hard to help your friends / solve your friends problems. I mean really try, like be willing to spend money and time and effort. If you’re me, it feels really good to help people. Also if you’re me, it feels way easier to work on other people’s problems than your own, so if everyone did this it would probably produce value.
  • Be a pushy friend. Think your friend is doing something dumb? Have advice that seems unsolicited? Maybe ask your friend if they want unsolicited advice, and then tell them, in a nice way. Chances are they have like 10 friends who will be generally supportive and you can fill the niche of actually saying something useful. Plus it might make you closer.
  • If you’re in a conversation and the current topic is boring, interject with a question or something that changes the topic. Pretty sure people will by default just use some kind of ‘go with conversation flow’ rule that produces conversations that no one enjoys. You can fix it!
  • Express preferences over shallow things. If you’re like me, it feels way less stressful to e.g. go get food with someone who has expressed preferences, because you don’t have to feel responsible for their experience.
  • If someone’s trying to explain something to you, stop the explanation and give your model of things and have them critique it. This is probably not unconventional, but like, seriously helpful.

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