We are more helpful when we see others helping
I had to visit my university recently, and I opted to use my usual method: the bus.
But there is a problem with my usual bus route. It is normally crowded and by the time the bus gets to my stop, it is filled up, and you have to stand all the way to ISB. But you get used to it... eventually.
This time when I got on the bus, there were just two of us standing; a couple of stops later two more girls got on the bus and had to stand. But a minute later, somehow some of the girls squeezed in and managed to make room for the two of them.
Another minute or two later while I was busy feeling a little dejected, another seated girl tugged at me and offered a seat she and the girl next to her had squeezed in as well.
I gave up that offer though because the other girl standing next to me was trying to revise her notes "let her sit instead" I said.
Less than a minute later another group of girls squeezed in and finally I was able to sit down. Next stop two more girls got on, and after standing for a bit they were also offered seats; where previously there weren't any.
I liked this whole turn of events a lot, it instilled a 'feel good' vibe in me since I'm so used to the 'every one for themselves' attitude that is usually prevailing in these buses. So I started wondering why this all happened in the first place.
Maybe it was just because the bus wasn't as crowded as usual; and so they felt more awkward about the 'few' people standing. Maybe the behaviour of the first group of girls 'caught on' with the others; and so they started feeling more generous and helpful. Maybe it was a combination of both.
But do people become more helpful when they see others helping?
In psychology helpful behaviour that benefits others without necessarily benefiting the individual helping is referred to as prosocial behaviour. Making yourself a little uncomfortable to give comfort to others certainly qualifies as prosocial behaviour (some may argue that it is just polite behaviour).
One factor that research has shown to enhance helping is the presence of 'prosocial models' the presence of a helpful person is known to provide at times a 'model' of desirable behaviour to follow. So when the first group of girls managed to make room for the standing girls this may have acted as a model of behaviour for others to follow. Resulting in the generosity of other passengers.
Which goes to show that it doesn't matter how insignificant your actions seem, never hesitate to be kind to others even in a small way. Try to smile often, say thank you, and say please.
Because evidently it's catchy. helping others www.pakpositive.com