Making someone’s day is a whole lot easier than we make it out to be. You don’t have to be Oprah and give everyone a car. You also don’t have to be Tony Robbins and lead an intervention that will flip the switch on someone’s life. Simplicity is king and leaves a lasting impression.
Acts of kindness goes a long way and the spirit of giving lingers in every space it is experienced. It’s the invisible light that illuminates all rooms and the unheard song that makes everyone sing.
Making someone’s day isn’t hard, and if you are in the mood to spread some good and positivity, here are some ideas to get the spirit rolling.
1) Put Money In a Strangers Parking Meter
Put some spare change in a strangers parking meter. Any amount.
Who knows? That extra 5-10 extra minutes you just bought this person could mean the difference between getting back to their car in peace, or to a bad situation with a parking ticket on their windshield. Those tickets aren’t heavy, but they can put a mar on someone’s day.
2) Leave an Uplifting Message on Someone’s Car:
The message can be as easy as “Hey, nice car!” or you can go the extra mile and write something ultra uplifting such as “Just wanted to stop by to wish you a happy day!”.
This is a super positive way to make someone’s day because when they get back to their car, they will be alarmed with seeing a note on their windshield, probably thinking someone hit their car and left their information. But when they read it they’ll be relieved that everything is ok and that someone just wanted to spread the good vibrations without having the Beach Boys present.
3) Start a Conversation with a Stranger:
Don’t even think about it and just start asking them how their day is going. Be genuinely interested in what they’re saying. Throw out a few follow up questions and have them elaborate on something. They’ll share what they are comfortable with. They will reciprocate the gesture and continue the conversation.
You’ll never know how or if this impacted them but the positive intention is there and that is what matters. This also requires a bit of getting out of your comfort zone if you’re an introvert, but if you manage to do so, that in itself is a win.
4) Donate Time to a Charity:
Volunteer to help out at a soup kitchen or a non-profit organization. These places can always use the extra hand and everyone involved is always super grateful. There are tons of smiles and thank you’s exchanged throughout the day and when it’s all done. You will leave knowing that you’ve made a difference and be filled with so much joy in the opportunity to help others.
5) Buy A Hot Meal for a Homeless Person:
We’ve all come across someone who is sleeping under a tree during the day, in their makeshift home, or outside of a grocery store asking for change hoping to receive enough to grab something to eat.
Buying them a hot meal costs next to nothing and could be the highlight of their day, elevating their mood and spirits.
6) Compliment a Stranger:
This goes a long way for them and it costs you absolutely nothing. If you like the way someone is rocking their hair or like their shoes, let them know. Watch their eyes and cheeks light up with delight as they process the compliment you gave them.
Ever heard of the phrase “If you look good, you feel good.” That is exactly what is at play here.
7) Call an Old Friend and Re-Connect:
This could be anyone you went to elementary school with, were closer with in college, or even an old co-worker. A text message is too easy to evade and allows many distractions, whether the person is in a social setting or at their desk at work. A phone call allows for a tone of voice to translate excitement, encourages a two-way conversation and in a way forces both parties to block out a slot of time in their day to be on the phone.
This is a great way to make someone’s day as you’ll replay memories made with this person, throw out inside jokes, and the feel-good from the nostalgia starts to make its way in. Almost always, these conversations end with “Hey, oh my gosh. It’s so good to hear from you. Let’s not wait so long to do this again.” and both are smiling at the phone.
8) Bring a Snack or Dessert to Share at The Office:
Bring a snack or dessert to the office with you to share with coworkers. Doesn’t even have to be an extravagant or Michelin rating worthy snack or dish and there are no rules saying you had to do the cooking yourself.
Whatever you decide to share is more than enough to spark conversation at the office and take a look around to see your coworkers talking to each other about it, smiling, and how the energy in the room just got a little lighter.
9) Write a Handwritten Letter to an Extended Family Member:
It goes without saying how appreciative and grateful we are for family, but that’s also an opportunity to create a positive impact for family members and make their day.
By telling family members how much you appreciate them in a handwritten letter, and sprinkle in specific examples of what they do, how they make you feel, and favorite quirks or famous dishes of theirs into it, it is a sure shot recipe for a positivity cocktail.
Or maybe you don’t want to get super soggy on them, go simpler with the contents of the letter. You can write an easy letter with “Hey, thank you so much for having me over.” or “hey remember that one time (insert hilarious event) happened?” This will bring out the positive vibes and it will keep them coming throughout the day.
10) Give a Copy of Your Favorite Book to a Friend:
Gift someone a copy of your favorite book or a book that has made a significant impact on you. You might even want to surprise them by having it delivered to their address from an online retailer.
Everyone loves a surprise and a simple book will always be remembered, especially if that book’s story or message resonates with them. Now everytime that person picks up that book for a reading session they will remember the bright gesture and put them in a good mood, and that is just the icing on top.
11) Leave a Handwritten Thank You for Office Cleaning Staff:
This takes about 3-5 minutes to put together, write a quick note “to the office cleaning crew”, jot down how appreciative you are and leave it behind as you’re leaving the office, and you’re guaranteed that they will gather around to read it and will make their day that much lighter.
We underestimate the power of handwritten cards. In a digital age, something less than perfect like ink and paper goes a long way.
12) Offer to Help an Overwhelmed Friend or Co-worker:
Offer some help to a friend or co-worker that is feeling a bit overwhelmed. It can be a project they are working on at home or the office, their car, a presentation for work they’ve been preparing for, etc.
Simply reaching out with a helping hand puts people in a better mood, makes them feel like they are listened to and valued. This can elevate their spirit and potentially shine a light on a different perspective for them.
Showing up for others is an act of caring more.
13) Volunteer to Babysit for a Friend:
Being a parent is more than a full time job, it means making sure kids are taken care of, fed, not getting into trouble first, and putting your personal needs second.
If you have friends or family that are parents, volunteer one of your evenings to babysit. Allow your siblings to have some time alone, unwind, watch a movie they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to, listen to a song that isn’t baby shark, and head to a restaurant that isn’t kid-friendly. This could be enormous in letting them recharge their batteries and guaranteed to put them in a good mood. Everyone likes some time out for themselves.
14) Introduce Yourself to a New Co-worker and Invite Him or Her to Lunch:.
Whenever your office gets a new employee, be the first to break the ice and introduce yourself. This person is probably already feeling a little out of place coming into an office as a new face and having someone go up to them and introducing themselves relieves pressure and you can up the ante by inviting them to lunch.
This also helps demonstrate the employee culture and makes him or her feel like a part of the team so quickly on top of getting to know their new colleagues.
15) Buy Coffee for the Person Behind You:
If you’re in the drive thru, simply request to pay for the car behind you.The person behind you will undoubtedly be grateful and will be inspired to pay it forward, creating this cascade of positivity early in the morning and setting the tone for peoples day.
Or, if you’re inside the store, request a gift card from the cashier, say $20. After you purchase your coffee, hand it to the person behind you in line and let them know that today’s coffee is on you and to keep the gift card going.
Watch what happens. The entire room lights up, the people in line let go of their rigidity and the baristas demeanor’s shift and suddenly there is a conversation happening both verbally and non-verbally. From people thanking each other, waving and smiling, and wishing good days to each other.
All of this started from one simple gesture that may have cost you a few extra bucks and few extra bucks to purchase positivity and gratitude is a worthwhile investment.
16) Make a Meal for A Friend That is Stressed:
We all understand that the outside climate has been a little weird this year and we’re all in it together. Some people handle it differently than others. But you can always choose to be the beacon that lights up someone’s day, alleviates some of the weight, and shows up for someone in the simplest ways.
Another way to make someone’s day is to make a meal for a friend who you know is a bit stressed or feeling a bit of pressure.
This is soooooo easy. All you have to do is cook an extra portion when you’re making dinner for yourself and family, set it off to the side, and deliver it. Or you can even invite this person over for dinner, have a chit chat and create an evening of good vibes.
Or text a co-worker the night before with a simple “Hey, I got lunch covered for us tomorrow. Don’t bring anything” and make enough for two.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. The act of preparing breakfast, lunch, or dinner for anyone is a simple and grand gesture at the same time.
17) Offer to Accompany a Friend While They Run Their Errands:
It’s easy, relatively cheap, helps them accomplish what they need to get done, and you get to hang out with a friend. This situation is loaded with wins all around. This time together can build rapport and memories can be created from little hangouts like this and perfect for people who’s love language is ‘Quality Time’.
18) Leave a Large Tip for No Reason:
Leave a large tip for your server or person taking your order for no other reason than just to make their day. This will snowball into a giant ball of positivity. The server receiving the tip will of course be appreciative and his or her mood will be elevated and it will carry to the service they continue giving everyone else, and the people being served will also have a great day because the servers demeanor and it keeps going and going.
19) Take Your Supervisor Out for Lunch and Thank Them:
Ask them what they’d like for lunch and let them know that today is your treat. Go out and pick it up, and during lunch just let them know they’re appreciated. You don’t have to give them the world, no one has ever been treated to lunch and got into a worst mood. This builds rapport for your team, your supervisor is in a great mood and all of that carries to the rest of your office.
20) Smile at Everyone You Encounter For a Day:
Spread positivity and smile at every single person you encounter for a day.
It’s a bit of a challenge as well, especially when some people don’t look like they are the smiling type, but you’d be surprised with the results. Even if 5% of people don’t smile back at you, that means 95% DID smile back and we can all agree that those odds are worth it.
It’s not every day that people get someone to look at them square in the face and give them a smile, so the natural reaction is to smile back. Then next thing you know, they are out and about smiling at people they encounter. That is the impact that you just made.
21) Reach Out to Your Favorite Childhood Teacher and Thank Them:
Reach out to one of your favorite childhood teachers and thank them for the role they played in your life. We have all had teachers that have made a significant difference and truth be told, they are in contact with so many kids at the most developmental stages in life they probably don’t hear about it, and life happens so fast that we the students often let time go by without ever expressing this gratitude.
If you replay memories of a time a teacher said or did something that stuck with you, let them know about those specific examples and give them a bit of nostalgia, too. It’ll make their day.
22) Deliver Dinner to a New Parents in your Neighborhood:
They just welcomed a baby to their home and got home from the hospital. Chances are, they are still acclimating to the new schedule, routines, and haven’t had a chance to get their meal plans together, nor do they plan on leaving the house soon.
It could be as easy as grabbing pickup from a diner for them, having a delivery service send dinner to their door, or you can cook them a meal and hand it over to them.
This would make such an impact for them as their eyes, hands, and heart is occupied with the newborn, they probably even forgot to eat.
23) Pay for New Parents Dinner:
At any point in time, we’ve all been in a restaurant and heard an infant or toddler crying in the distance or in some cases, right next to your table. Make the best of this situation, spread the positivity, and pay for the new parents’ dinner or lunch. You can even do it anonymously.
All adults know how life changing a child can be, both parents and non-parents.
Most likely, these new parents have been staying home trying to acclimate to their new lives, living under mountains of diapers, clothes, baby food, chores left undone, and everything that comes with this. And who knows, maybe this is their first night out trying to get out of the house and treat themselves to a dinner other than pizza or whatever meal(s) they have worked into their daily routine.
And maybe they are also panicking as the baby is crying and they’re trying their absolute best to keep peace for those around them.
Paying for their meal would not only make their day but is also an act of encouragement and gives them an extra strut in their step to be amazing parents.
You can even increase the impact by asking your server to pass them a short note with encouraging words such as “Congratulations on the baby and filling your home with love and warmth. You’re doing an excellent job and wish you the absolute best on the life-long journey of being parents.”
Just reading this is probably making you feel a different way. Now, imagine what it would be like to experience this act from a complete stranger.
24) Ask for Someone’s Opinion:
It could be getting another set of eyes on something at work, sending someone your favorite song and asking for their thoughts, or even send a photo of some shoes before purchasing them and asking “what do you think?”
And if this person gives their opinion it could really set you on a path to make that report at work much better, share more music with you, or recommend a nice pair of shoes. This is sure to start a conversation and will make the person feel valuable, and we all know that is an amazing feeling.
25) Send a Text to Someone Letting Them Know You’re Thinking of Them:
One way to make someone’s day is to quickly send a message to someone letting them know you’re thinking about them. Might even be a good idea to bring up a specific memory you share with this person.
This will allow them to replay the memory, the feelings surrounding it and spring them into feeling good. If the memory was a hilarious one, you will both undoubtedly fall into laughter and both will leave that text thread in an elevated mood.
26) Fill Up Your Spouses Gas Tank:
This is something that is so easy and often overlooked. No one likes putting a quick halt to their day to fill up on gas. We like to be smooth operators and go go go. We can guarantee that if you fill up your significant other’s tank the night before they go to work, you will receive a phone call or text in the morning thanking you for taking care of the gas for them.Not only that, but this starts off their day on such a positive note.
27) Leave Quarters at The Laundromat:
If you have a random stash of coins at home that have been hiding in a ziploc bag in your drawer, you can give the bag a purpose and leave some quarters at a nearby laundromat. This is always a sure way to make someone’s day spread positivity.
28) Take a Hike:
Getting some alone time is important to making people’s day. There is no direct giving in this act, but making time for yourself is vital to being able to serve. Take time to recharge and get out of your everyday routine to enjoy a bit of nature. Head down to the beach if you’re in driving range, visit your local forest or desert and take in what the view has to offer.
You can’t fill people up with an empty cup.
29) Wheel Out Your Neighbors Trash Bin:
Love Thy Neighbor! If you’re already out taking out your trash bins in preparation for the trash truck, relieve your neighbor of a small errand and take their bins too! You can bet this will start a trend of bins being taken out for each other. In the worst case scenario, this will get you a friendly text message from your neighbor thanking you.
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