Kindness is contagious. Not only does it have the potential to make others feel good, but it may also increase your happiness when you do random things for other people.
There are tons of things you can do to be kind, even to strangers. You don’t have to practice random acts of kindness daily; you can do something nice once a week or once a month. Just do kind things because you can, without expecting anything in return. Try these ideas to get started!
Help Someone Carry or Load Their Groceries
Everyone makes the mistake of buying too much and skipping the cart once in a while. When you see someone struggling with carrying too many bags, offer to help.
If you see someone loading their vehicle with a large number of shopping bags, offer your assistance. If they prefer that you don’t help, let them know it’s no problem and get on with your life. Not everyone will want your assistance.
You can help people who have only a few bags, too. Offer to assist with carrying shopping bags for moms or dads who are busy wrangling kids, or elderly folks who are having trouble getting around.
Important: Use good judgment when practicing this one. Approaching someone in a crowded parking lot during the day who’s clearly struggling will likely be appreciated. Approaching someone alone in a parking lot at night—not so much!
Offer a Sincere Compliment
Compliments can be good and bad, so always make sure your compliment is both sincere and appropriate. Rather than telling a woman she looks hot today or that her eyes are pretty, tell her that you like her style or that you think her boots are killer.
Compliment people you work with by letting them know when they’ve done a good job. Compliment the people you live with, even when they do something they should be doing. Tell your husband he did a great job on the laundry or tell the kids they really got the dishes extra clean.
Say Something Kind or Funny
When someone seems down, say something to cheer them up. Tell a silly “dad joke” or tell them that you know they are bound for bigger and better things. Obviously, what you say will depend on whether or not you know the person and how well you know them.
Pay It Forward, Literally
Pay for the meal of someone else in the same restaurant, pay a stranger’s layaway off (perfect during the holiday season), or buy a round of drinks or coffee.
There are plenty of easy money-related acts of kindness you can do. Some will allow people to know who was kind (like buying others’ drinks when you’re standing in line). Others never allow anyone to know what you did. Give these a try:
- Put some quarters in the machine at the laundromat before you leave with your clean clothes.
- Put some money in the jukebox, leaving free songs for the next person.
- Put quarters in one of those kids’ toy or stickers machines, or get a prize from one and leave it in the drop area to surprise a child with.
Hold the Door
One of the most simple acts of kindness anyone can do is holding the door for another person. Even if you’ll end up in line behind that person, instead of in front of them, do the right thing and be polite.
Hold the elevator door when you see someone rushing to the door. This task is as simple as reaching your arm out to stop the door from closing.
Donate Items, Money, or Time
There are always opportunities for donating that allow you to be kind to strangers:
- Donate items: When you hear about a family that has lost everything in a fire, go through your stuff and anonymously donate some useful things to them. Donate items to local shelters for homeless people and battered women, rather than dropping your things off at large thrift stores that may be overstocked already.
- Donate money: Don’t have items to donate? Donate money to the above people and places instead. Help out struggling families by giving them gift cards for grocery stores, clothing stores, and even toy stores. Mail them with no return address if you prefer to remain anonymous.
- Donate time: If you have some spare time, spend it working at a homeless shelter or volunteering with the Cub Scouts. There are always places looking for volunteers, so do some research. Find opportunities to work with children, animals, veterans, or the homeless.
Even small acts of kindness can pay off in a big way with perspective and positivity, so don’t wait to give some of these ideas a try!