With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes we get so caught up in our own agendas that we forget there are other people with feelings like ours all around us. By tuning into our environment and out of our daily schedules, even if it's just when you're walking from meeting A to meeting B, you'll start to see everyday struggles of the people around you. Whether it's someone who is homeless asking for spare change, or even just someone trying to carry 12 things and open a door at the same time. These are key instances where we can do good in the world. If you're someone that thinks chivalry and genuine helpfulness is dead, I have good news for you: you can change it! Be the example of what you wish to see happen in the world. You'll be amazed by how many people join in. Even if they don't jump in right that moment, the next time they see someone having a hard time, they may remember what you did and choose to do the same. By spreading a little kindness every day, we can start to make the world we live in a better, more compassionate place. Here are some easy ways to get started!
1. Hold doors for people
This might be the easiest way to show someone that you thought about them.
2. Give compliments
If you like something about someone, tell them! It can be something they did, said, what they're wearing, their handwriting, really anything. A genuine compliment goes a long way!
3. Be on-time (and communicate when you can't be!)
Things happen, I know, but if you make plans for a certain time, try to be there when you said you would. More importantly, if you can't be, let the person know as soon as you can so they know what's up and aren't sitting alone wondering what happened.
4. Put away your phone
When you can, put away your phone and give your full attention to someone. When you can't, or you're both on your phones, try to share what you're doing with the other person. What makes you smile might make them smile too, or you may even find something while you're scrolling that could strike up a conversation!
5. Ask questions
The most genuine way to show kindness, in my opinion, is to show that you're interested in what a person is saying or doing. Asking questions shows that you're engaged and want to know more!
6. Apologize when necessary
Even if it's something you think is minuscule, it might mean more to the other person than you think, so always say sorry when you need to. A simple apology lets the other person know you're thinking about their feelings.
7. Say thank you and mean it
Even if it's to someone that simply picked up your pen for you, thank them! They're trying to spread kindness too, so reciprocate it!
8. Keep in contact (and not just when you need something!)
Reach out to someone you haven't talked to in awhile just to see how they're doing, no strings attached.
9. Try to acknowledge everyone
When you're walking from place to place, try to put your phone away, take in your surroundings, and acknowledge the people who pass by you. Smile at them, ask how they're doing, give them a head nod, anything to show them that you see that they exist. This is an often overlooked aspect of spreading kindness, but just acknowledging someone can make them a lot happier going about the rest of their day.
10. Speak up when someone makes you happy
If someone makes you smile or you feel proud of them, tell them! Let them know that they made your day better by being a part of it or by doing something awesome.
11. Run an errand for someone
We're all busy people, but sometimes we're not busy all at once. If someone is having a particularly stressful day, offer to take some of the things off their to-do list. Go to the grocery store for them, return clothing that didn't fit that they've been putting off taking back to the store, just lessen their load in some way.
12. Ask people what they need
If what's stressing someone out or making their life harder isn't blatant or easy to fix, ask them what they need from you that would make things better. Maybe that's something from the previous point, or maybe it's a hug or space. I guarantee that they will greatly appreciate the fact that you asked, even if there's nothing you can do to help.
13. Let someone know you're thinking about them
If you see something throughout the day that reminds you of someone, let them know! It's nice to know we're thought about.
14. Help someone if you understand and they don't
If you see someone struggling with something and you know how to do it, ask if they want some assistance! Keeping the knowledge to yourself really isn't helping anyone.
15. Leave something nice on a sticky note
If you want to do something really easy to make a bunch of people smile, write something nice or inspirational on a sticky note and put it somewhere people will see, but not somewhere they're expecting to see it, like on a bathroom mirror, the stall door on the inside, or on the wall above a water fountain.
16. Text your friends and tell them you hope their day goes well
This will help start their day off on a positive foot by receiving a kind word from a friend.
17. Put away your shopping cart (and offer to do so for someone else!)
Putting way your own shopping cart will make the person's day easier who has to corral them all, and putting away someone else's allows them to get on with their day that much quicker.
18. Offer to throw someone's trash away
If you see someone who's working on a project while they eat, and they haven't thrown their trash away yet, offer to do it for them so they don't have to get up and stop working.
19. Spend time with people close to you
Grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, all of them. Spend as much time as you can with them, because as the years go on you'll have less and less opportunities to. You mean the world to them, and all they want is your time, so give it whenever you can.
Now get out there and spread the love!