10 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Make Someone’s Day in 5 Minutes or Less
Have you ever had the kind of day where it seems the world has conspired against you?
Everything goes wrong. You fail an exam, your kids won’t stop screaming, your dog ate who knows what, you have a strong headache, and you just want to go to bed at 5 PM.
And then, out of nowhere, something happens:
- Someone buys your coffee for you.
- Someone compliments your outfit.
- Someone tells you your dog is so cute and well-behaved.
- You come back home to a clean house.
And almost instantly, you feel a surge of joy, of conviction — “I can do this.”
This happened to me recently. I was buying some very important, life-altering items that definitely weren’t meant to alleviate my stress through retail therapy… And I still remember the cashier. This was earlier on in the pandemic; she was working at the Dollar Store, probably 60 years old, and she was beaming. She seemed happy to see me — as though we were old friends.
Immediately, I felt uplifted.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about times when this has happened in my life, and how every single time, the impact of the tiniest kindnesses had a massive effect that rippled infinitely outward.
Now more than ever, tiny acts of kindness are one of the greatest gifts we can give to one another — it’s scientifically proven. Therefore, I researched the psychology of kindness and discovered 10 easy ways we can make these magical moments happen for others. To boot, the time commitment for each is only 5 minutes or less. If you’re having a good day, why not use that energy to boost someone else who needs it? Plus, it will benefit you, too.
1. Smile and Say Hello
As humans, this is one of the simplest ways we can connect with strangers and make their days a little brighter. Just to be acknowledged is a beautiful thing, and smiles are contagious!
Even if you never see that person again, you made their day better in just seconds of your time. I’m a shy introvert, so I struggle with this one personally; however, if you’re shy like me, this is a really good strategy for becoming less shy. It’s a win-win!
2. Pay for Someone’s Coffee
This is one of my favorites (mostly because it involves coffee). If this has ever happened to you, you know how touched you felt that someone you didn’t even know wanted to help you have a good morning.
This happens in a lot of ways. Yesterday, my boyfriend and I played D&D with our crew(safely and socially-distanced). I asked my boyfriend if he had any quarters so I could get a Coke. No dice — and then one of the players offered to buy it for me. I couldn’t accept it, but I was touched by the gesture. Then, the owner of the store (and also a player) said I could grab one for free.
The Coke was 75 cents. It was so simple and inexpensive, but so heartwarming.
3. Open the Door For Someone Who Needs Help
I used to actively run a Poshmark business, so I had to carry A LOT of packages to the post office. Several times, strangers would literally run in front of me to grab the door and open it for me. They went out of their way to help me, so I wouldn’t have to struggle to get inside.
There’s no way they remember doing that for me — it was that tiny. But I remember. I’ll never forget.
If someone is carrying a lot, using a cane or wheelchair, or heck, even if you’re there and you can do it? Open the door. You won’t regret it, and you probably won’t remember it — but that person just might.
4. Let Someone Cut in Line
Now, I’m not saying to let everyone walk all over you. What I’m saying is, if someone seems like they’re struggling or in a rush, and you’ve got the time? You can wait. Let them go first.
As someone with an invisible illness like stage one autism, people don’t look at me and think I need to cut in line. I don’t always — but if I do, I might be too nervous to ask.
Yet, I remember several people letting me cut in front of them on the line to board an airplane. As someone with Sensory Processing Disorder, I was already frazzled by all of the lights and sounds around me. For these people to notice I wasn’t doing so well and then to encourage me to move ahead was so kind. I didn’t even ask. They noticed I was struggling, and they were brave enough to reach out and ask what they could do. It made my day.
5. Compliment Someone
My favorite compliments are short, sweet, and sincere — that way, you don’t need to embarrass someone or make them feel uncomfortable. Keep it simple! Here are some “easy” compliments to give:
- Your dress is so pretty!
- I love your hair color!
- You are such a talented ____!
If they seem a little uncomfortable at the moment, don’t compliment them — just say hello and smile instead. However, if they seem comfortable, compliments are a great way to brighten someone’s day.
6. Call Someone You Haven’t Talked To Lately
This especially applies to your grandparents! Every time I call my grandma, she is so thrilled to just hear my voice and see what I’m up to. She says it makes her day, and making her day makes my day.
It’s the simplest thing in the world, you can do it anywhere, nearly anytime… And you’ll make someone you love smile.
You can text, too! Maybe text a friend you haven’t checked in with for a while and ask how they’re doing. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell our friends if we’re struggling, and checking up on them is so important. Let them know you’re there for them.
7. Help Carry Someone’s Shopping Bags
We drink a lot of Coke at our house (this story is relevant, I promise). We have a pretty clear system where, if my boyfriend or I is already in the kitchen, it’s okay to ask if they can get the Coke for us. Why? Because it’s significantly easier for that person to grab a can and toss it across the room.
It’s the same with carrying things. Have you ever seen someone struggling to push their shopping cart or carry their bags, when it wouldn’t be difficult for you? Help out!
My rule of thumb is that if it’s easier for me to do something than it is for the other person, I help — and it takes no time at all.
8. Answer Someone’s Questions
This is going to sound weird, but trust me, this is actually a great way to help others.
I’m in a lot of Facebook groups, and I frequently see questions asked by beginning writers. If I know the answer, I tell them, and I send links to relevant resources.
This is fantastic because if you know an incredible resource for someone else to achieve their goals, why not share it? That two-second message could help them follow their dreams.
9. Write a Handwritten “Thank You” Card
There’s something about getting a handwritten card in the mail that feels like getting a warm hug.
Personally, I’m currently working on a “Thank You” card project to thank all of the teachers in my life, because many of them shaped the positive moments in my life, and they deserve to know how grateful I am for their impact.
But this can be to anyone. A verbal thank you is great, but a handwritten note shows the extra time, effort, and gratitude for someone who’s brightened your day — brighten theirs back!
10. Do Someone’s Chores Without Being Asked
When I used to live in a low-income apartment for people with disabilities, I was really struggling. One day, my mom came over and did my dishes and made my bed. She didn’t have to, and she had no reason to, but it felt like the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders.
You can do it, too. Do one of your partner’s chores for them while they’re away. Mow your neighbor’s lawn. Vacuum a relative’s floor. Sure, it’s small, but it adds up. That person will be more appreciative than you think, especially if acts of service is their love language (but that’s for another article).
It’s easy to watch TV and see the sacrifices people make for others that we may never replicate. Teachers jumping in front of shooters to save their students. A person who dives in freezing waters to save a dog. Someone giving tens of thousands of dollars to charity.
Those are all great things, but an act of kindness doesn’t have to be an extraordinary sacrifice to make a difference.
A few words, a few pennies, or a few minutes are more than enough to make someone’s day better — and you’ll be able to smile, knowing you could help.
(Want more info? There’s actually an awesome Instagram page all about tiny kindnesses. Learn more here. Not mine or an ad; just more goodness!)
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