When someone introduces themselves as transgender, it’s no big deal. Simply say “nice to meet you” or “cool.” Then politely ask “What are your pronouns?” And then you know how they prefer to be addressed.
Remember this: “It’s not always about you.” It’s a natural tendency to take things personally- someone’s bad mood, or not paying attention to you, or not calling, etc. But most times when we see people acting shy/aloof/crabby or mean - it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them, and what they’re experiencing.
Try (a) not to take things personally and (b) to have compassion for people, who are all going through something.
Be on the lookout for people who are not included and reach out.
There was a girl in my 8th grade class who was pregnant. Nobody talked to her, including me. Looking back, I regret that deeply. How scared and alone she must have been. She could have used a friend. I wish I would have asked her to sit by me at lunch or talked to her about homework or something.
One of the best doctors I ever worked with started his day by walking through the office and saying “good morning” to everyone. He’d do the same before he left at the end of the day, just making sure everyone was ok, to call him if they needed anything, etc.
I don’t know what your career will be but if you’re in a position to do so, I hope you’ll adopt this habit.
Ask smart questions. More importantly, ask stupid questions! So many people are afraid of looking stupid that they totally fake understanding. Even in the very highest levels of career and society. Ask basic questions if something doesn’t make sense. Start at a kindergarten level understanding of a concept then build on it.
You never know what people are going through. Depression, PTSD, anxiety could look like avoidance, anger, risk-taking, promiscuity, etc. Look out for friends, coworkers and loved ones who may be in pain. You don’t need to solve their problem, just allow for the possibility that they’re going through something. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt and not write off “bad” behavior as a character flaw. Offer a non-judgmental ear.
Physical contact between two people is only fun / appropriate / legal / healthy if both people are into it.
If one party objects, demurs or even acts less-than-interested, that’s the ballgame. Stop physical contact immediately. Be kind and respectful at all times.
We don’t snoop. Never read a correspondence (email, letter, text, note, etc.) that is not intended for your eyes, or listen in to a conversation that is not intended for your ears. The right to privacy is sacred. Always respect people’s privacy and set the expectation that others do the same for you.
Major life events such as the birth of a baby, graduations, new job, (lost job) are a big deal. Make a fuss. Take an interest in loved ones’ experiences. Acknowledge their feelings. Express a sincere interest in others (young and old) will profoundly affect your relationships.
When you’re older, remember that stuff like video games, alcohol, junk food, gambling, porn, and a whole host of other vices can turn on you, and become an addiction that wrecks your health, relationships or even your life. You don’t have to give up all this stuff, but keep them to a minimum. How often and how much is a big difference. It’s the difference between meeting a friend for a beer or two and walking into work hungover most days.
You decide- How often and how much.