I love making people’s days better, and I know I’m not alone.
Although we are constantly worried about our own problems, bills, or the way people think of us, making someone else smile or improving their day through a simple act of kindness can completely turn your mood around, too. What’s better? These kind, positive actions aren’t that hard to do, nor do they take that much time from our busy, frantic lives.
Here are 15 super simple, fun ways to make other smile.
1. Crack a dad joke or terrible pun
Okay, I know not everyone is super witty or clever or quick on their feet enough to do this. But even a simple joke or witty commentary will do. Humor is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make someone smile (crazy, right?!).
Some people might find you corny or cheesy, but deep down inside their laughing too. Besides, your simple act of courageousness and your willingness to be vulnerable enough to tell a joke will win the reward of a smile, making others feel better.
2. Give a genuine compliment
Compliments are often mistaken as creepy come-ons for one reason: they aren’t sincere. If you truly like the way a girl’s hair looks or a guy’s smile looks, they’ll be able to tell immediately by the way you say it. If you truly mean it, this simple sentence, that took maybe 15 seconds to say, can make someone’s entire week.
3. Reach out to someone you miss
Sadly, I see a lot of people use the excuse of, “Well, they haven’t talked to me in X years either and the phone works both ways dontchaknow?!”
What a sad thing to say. If you’re yearning to spend time with with a close friend or relative, reach out and see how they’re doing. Be the first to initiate contact. Again, genuine gestures go a long way here. Even just a Hey, I really miss you and hope you’re happy with life text will hit them right in the feels.
Even people who are dieting or exercise a bunch love pizza and burritos, but not together. Or maybe…
*Bonus points: If you make something from scratch. Even if they’re burned cookies, it’s still really cool that you did that and the recipient will appreciate it (and probably laugh it off with you).
5. Send your mom or loved one “just because” flowers
This is fairly self-explanatory, but random gifts and treats are so much more appreciated when they’re given spontaneously.
Birthdays, Mothers Day’s, and every other Hallmark holidays can be spotted from a mile away with the expectation that a gift is coming. Although gift giving in any form is appreciated, random gifts are always the best.
6. Tell someone you’re proud of them
These words are so heavy and meaningful, but some of that meaning is often lost because we’re only told that by our parents or family members. Telling a close friend or significant other that you’re proud of them after they accomplished something meaningful carries substantial validity.
In fact, try flipping the switch and tell your parents you’re proud of them for something they did. There comes a time in your life when you’ll finally realize that they’re not just superheroes, but actual people, too.
*Bonus points: Praise them publicly
7. Write and send a handwritten letter or note
I had a pen pal recently bring up a really good point about our current culture. In our highly communicative, fast-paced lives, we often have, like, six to ten conversations going at once.
Between social media, email, text messaging, and Tinder, the intimacy of letter writing has sadly diminished. In fact, disappeared. But, if you think about it, there aren’t many things on the planet that can be more complimentary. The fact that you sat down for 15-20 straight minutes to carefully craft a message to one person, and one person only, is like one hundred specific compliments wrapped in an envelope and stamped with love.
8. Listen fully
Again, there are a lot of distractions in the world around us, and some for good reason. Life is crazy beautiful! There are countless things to look at and see and do and experience. However, one of the kindest, most touching things you could do for someone is be fully attentive when they are talking. I can almost guarantee they will kindly return the favor when you want to talk, and they will never forget how much you care.
9. Say “I’m sorry”
We’ve all done someone wrong, but it’s never, ever, ever too late to make it right. The ship rarely ever sails, but our egos make us thinks they did. It doesn’t matter if it’s been days, weeks, months, or even years since the incident happened, owning up to something you did that hurt another person will go a million miles in one heartbeat.
10. Give a huge tip
For some reason I’m unsure of, people seem think, and tip, like the check they pay at the end of the meal is what the waiter, waitress, or bartender pockets. Now, I’m not saying that all people tip poorly, or all service is super great, but giving a great tip, especially when the service warrants the pay, will make that persons shift endlessly better.
11. Say what’s up to the mailman
Dude, he brings your mail every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the sleet, in the snow, in the squelching hot sun, and any other inclement weather pattern in-between, he’s always there. That sort of reliability and timeliness deserves a proper introduction at least. Or, if nothing else, a head bob and a smile.
12. Realize when someone is bumming out and encourage them
The world is inherently negative, and it’s very difficult to pull ourselves out of funks alone. I can remember several times when friends recognized I was down and did something they knew would pull me out of it.
But it doesn’t have to just be with your friends. People can be read pretty easily. Older gentleman hanging his head on the bus? How hard is it to turn and say, “Hey, you okay?” Believe it or not, we’re all scared and worried and get depressed at times.
However, we’re all in this “mess” together. Kindness always comes full circle.
13. Give thanks
It’s often said that successful people start their day by giving thanks for one thing or several things they have. Even when you’re striving for more, or trying to make a better life, it’s always good to stop and recognize the beauty that exists around you.
How can a rose grow in the middle of New York City on it’s own? Astounding. This is also true for others. Someone holds the door for you? Thanks, m’am. The barista at the coffee shop you frequent buys your coffee on a Friday?Frick yeah! Thanks! Waitress fills your water glass without you having to ask for it? Well, you get it by now. It’s pretty easy to recognize moments of graciousness if you keep your eyes out for them.
14. Be available even if you don’t want to be
Okay, don’t ever tell someone that you don’t want to be there for them. That’s not only extremely disrespectful, but also very hurtful.
What I’m encouraging instead is to be willing to drop the things you want to do to be there for someone. This can be a text message convo, a phone convo, or a late night trip to Baskin Robbins after a bad breakup or a job firing. There will come a time when you’re called on to be there for someone when you have other stuff going on. Be there and light up their world.
15. Smile at everyone you see every single day
I intentionally saved this one for last for two reasons: 1.) It’s the easiest one to do and can be applied to everyone you pass during the day (I’m looking at you, city dwellers) and 2.) It’s so effortless. Actually, I want to challenge all of you. Next time you’re on your lunch break at work or walking around the busy mall on a Saturday, look up from your phone for 5 minutes, make eye contact with the person in passing, and give them a warmhearted smile. Again, sincerity, not creepiness, is the key here.
But if you make it from the heart, you’ll be truly amazed at what will happen.
Positivity is a lot like a stone being dropped in a calm lake. Once you drop it in (via a simple action), it will send ripples of kindness and happiness in every direction.
Featured photo credit: Young happy hipster woman looks through binoculars via shutterstock.com