Prosocial Behavior for More Positive Relationships

Prosocial Behavior for More Positive Relationships

Understanding Prosocial Behavior

Prosocial behavior refers to voluntary actions intended to help or benefit others, such as cooperation, helping, sharing and comforting. Research shows that engaging in prosocial acts can have positive effects for both the giver and receiver, including improved mood, relationships and overall wellbeing.

Benefits of Prosocial Behavior

Studies have found links between prosocial behavior and:

  • Increased happiness and life satisfaction
  • Reduced stress and improved ability to cope with challenges
  • Stronger connections and more positive relationships
  • Greater peer acceptance

Simple Ways to Be More Prosocial

You don’t have to plan elaborate good deeds to reap the rewards of prosocial behavior. Small acts of kindness throughout your day can make a big difference. Consider trying:

  • Holding the door for someone
  • Letting someone go ahead of you in line
  • Offering help carrying groceries or other items
  • Checking in on an elderly neighbor
  • Complimenting others

Teaching Prosocial Skills

As parents and teachers, we play an important role in nurturing empathy, compassion and prosocial tendencies in children. Strategies include:

  • Modeling prosocial behavior through our own actions
  • Praising good deeds when we observe them
  • Explaining the positive impacts of kind acts
  • Assigning children prosocial responsibilities

Overcoming Barriers

While most people believe helping others is important, we don’t always act on that belief. Common barriers include:

  • Diffusion of responsibility – assuming someone else will help
  • Pluralistic ignorance – looking to others for how to act
  • Fear of embarrassment or rejection

Being mindful of these roadblocks and intentionally focusing on prosocial opportunities can help us follow through.

Prosocial Behavior FAQs

What are some examples of prosocial behavior?

Examples include cooperating, sharing, helping others in need, being kind and considerate, volunteering in your community, and standing up for someone.

What motivates prosocial behavior?

Prosocial behavior can be motivated by empathy, moral values, spiritual beliefs, social responsibility, wanting to set a good example, or just the good feelings that result.

Is prosocial behavior innate?

Both nature and nurture play a role. While infants display some altruistic tendencies, prosocial behavior is also largely learned through parental guidance, role modeling and life experiences.

What are the effects of prosocial behavior?

Research shows prosocial actions positively impact mood, relationships, self-esteem and overall wellbeing. At a societal level, prosocial behavior promotes cooperation and social harmony.

How can we encourage prosocial behavior?

We can nurture prosocial tendencies through teaching empathy and morality, directly instructing prosocial behaviors, rewarding good deeds, and role modeling compassion in our own behavior and relationships.