Have you ever had someone do something out of the blue to make you smile? Nothing grand – but maybe a stranger paid you a compliment or someone let you in front of them in the grocery line up, or maybe a friend dropped by with a gift of special chocolates, not because it was your birthday but because they were thinking of you. Didn’t it just make your day?
Acts of kindness are small gestures that let someone know that they are seen, loved, and appreciated. And they are often most effective when they are unsolicited and a complete surprise.
These days, we could all use a little more kindness and a little more connection. If you are ready to spread some kindness and joy, here are 12 of our favourite acts of kindness.
Buy the person behind you in line a cup of coffee
This “pay it forward” gesture is a nice and cost-effective way to brighten the day of a total stranger. You can either do it if you’re going through the drive-through or while you are at your favourite coffee shop. It can be a plain cup of drip coffee or a specialty latte – whatever is in the budget for you.
1. Send customized chocolate to someone you love
You can order custom engraved chocolates and send them to a friend or family member that you miss for no specific reason beyond that you care about them. Engrave something special – an inside joke or a meaningful date – and expect a gushing phone call of thanks and mutual love when they receive the special gift.
2. Plug someone’s meter
Sometimes the best acts of kindness are those that go unrecognized. It almost seems impossible, with the way our lives are recorded and posted for the world to see, but an act of kindness between you and a stranger, with no witnesses, has a special quality to it.
3. Check in on a senior neighbour
It can be heartbreaking to think about all the lonely people in the world, but it’s easy to ease some of that loneliness with a quick check in. It’s a great way to build community and strengthen the bonds of a neighbourhood – you can pop in for a cup of tea and see if there is anything you can help with.
Spending a few hours each week volunteering is a great way to give back to the community or to a cause that has a deep meaning for you. Not everyone has the means to donate money every month, but a lot of us have a few hours to spare.
5. Compliment a stranger
Telling someone that you love their outfit or that they look great that day can really turn someone’s mood around. You never know what kind of day a person is having, and we all know that everyone has challenges in their lives, so paying someone a compliment is an easy way to tell someone that they are cared about and that they matter.
6. Bring your bestie some chocolate
Whether you are going for a walk, meeting for coffee, or just hanging out with your friend, it’s nice to show up with a small gift like a delicious, high quality chocolate bar and to say “just because I was thinking of you.” Not for any occasion, and not for anything in return but because you wanted your friend to know that you love them.
7. Send a note to someone who influenced you
Maybe a teacher growing up, an instructor, or even someone online has positively influenced the way you think or act. Letting them know that they have had an impact on your life is an easy act of kindness that you can do for someone else. You can send an email, text, or message online to say thank you, and rest assured that they will be happy you did.
8. Mow your neighbour’s lawn (or help with their gardening)
Offering a helping hand with odd jobs around the home is a great way to spread some love and kindness around – especially if your neighbour is older or if you know that they are going to be out of town for a holiday.
9. Care for animals
Acts of kindness aren’t just for humans, animals appreciate them too! You can leave a bowl of water out for passing dogs, capture a spider and release it outside instead of killing it, save a bee from a puddle or a worm from the hot concrete. All creatures great and small… as they say.
10. Leave a big tip
Let’s not forget about the barista making your coffee, the driver getting you home safe, or the delivery person dropping off your dinner. We know that these people are working hard. If you can afford it once in a while, it’s nice to leave a larger than normal tip for someone who has made your life easier.
11. Make a playlist
The evolution of burning a cd for your friend, you can easily make a digital playlist for someone you care about, either that captures a trip you went on or that reminds you of them in one way or another. A playlist is such a fun way to share music and memories – and that’s something that they can revisit again and again.
12. Call a relative
It’s easy to lose touch with people over time. While it can even be a little awkward to pick up the phone and call someone, you (and they) will be glad you did. Connecting with family you haven’t spoken to in a while often ends up filling one’s cup, so to speak. Therefore, this small act of kindness have a huge effect.
This list could go on and on – but we’d love to hear from you. What acts of kindness have you done lately for the people you love or the familiar strangers in your life?