Kindness makes both you and the people around you feel better, so why wouldn’t you be kind? Like any habit, kindness can be practiced, and you can make a difference starting right now. If you’re not sure what to do, here are 14 random acts of kindness you can do this week:
Take a gift to a new neighbor.
Moving into a new apartment or neighborhood is a big undertaking, and it can be intimidating to make friends in the community. Make your new neighbor feel welcome by bringing them a small housewarming gift, such as a nice scented candle or a small potted plant. Take advantage of the opportunity to introduce yourself and give the new people the lay of the land.
Write an encouraging note.
Words have power, and a nice note from you could be the boost your loved one needs to make it through the week. Throw it back with good old–fashioned snail mail stationery, or send a nice long text or digital greeting card if you want your note to arrive immediately.
Do someone’s chores for them.
While not the most glamorous idea, this act of kindness has a really big impact. Bring dinner to a sibling who’s stuck at home with the flu, clean out the fridge at work even though it’s not your turn or offer to babysit your friend’s kids for free so they can get out of the house.
Reach out to an old friend.
Perhaps you have a childhood friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or a mentor from your old job who gave you the skills you needed to succeed. While it may feel awkward reaching out to them after a long silence, it will probably make their day, and they might be surprised in the best way possible at the impact they’ve had on your life.
Leave a big tip.
Many workers in service jobs such as restaurants rely on tips for their income. Leave the biggest tip you can afford on a meal or service, and a nice note is a sweet additional touch. (Don’t leave a note instead of a tip though. That’s completely rude, and the opposite of being kind.)
Make a custom playlist.
Some people fondly remember the days of making mixtapes on cassettes and giving them to crushes. Now technology has made it easier than ever to make a playlist and share it with whomeveryou please, not just your middle school crush. Put together some encouraging anthems for your work bestie who needs to crush a presentation, or break up songs for a friend nursing a broken heart.
Be a good listener.
This underrated skill is critical for good communication in all relationships, whether you’re at work or in love. For a day or week, practice actively listening to others when they talk and check yourself when you have the urge to interrupt. You might be surprised to discover how often you’re not really listening, even when you thought you were.
Cook a meal for someone else.
Cooking at home is often healthier and cheaper than eating out, but planning, shopping and cooking is a huge time commitment. Take the burden off your partner or friend by offering to do it for them and treating them to a homemade meal. Play some nice music and light scented candles to recreate the ambience of a restaurant.
Let others go first.
In our “me first” society, letting others go first is becoming rarer and rarer, making this a great act of kindness to practice. Let a car merge in front of you during rush hour, or offer to let someone behind you in the checkout line go first.
Take a photo for someone.
Selfies are great, but sometimes you want a full–length body shot. If you notice people struggling to take a selfie together, stop and offer to do it for them. It will only take a minute—maybe even a few seconds—and you’ll help them capture a memory that could last a lifetime.
Compliments are free and can seriously make someone’s day. Tell your friend what you love about them or talk up one of your coworkers to your boss. Friends, relatives and other connections are the easiest to compliment, but if you’re polite, feel free to tell strangers, too.
Give away your unused coupons.
Just because you’re not going to use a coupon doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. Offer to forward digital coupon codes to your friends, and if you have paper ones, you can leave them at the stores next to the products that are on sale.
Be the designated driver.
Be your friends’ Lyft for the night by offering to be the designated driver. You’ll probably be surprised at how good of a time you can have even if you’re not drinking, plus it gives you a perfect excuse if you’re looking to cut back on your alcohol consumption anyway. For once, none of you will have to stand around in the cold trying to describe to a driver where you are.
Take alternative transportation.
Cars may be the most convenient way to get around in many U.S. cities, but they’re a significant contribution to emissions and our everyday carbon footprint. Do something kind for the environment by walking to work, riding your bike or taking public transportation. If that’s not an option, you can offer to carpool with friends and coworkers to keep other cars off the road.
Being kind doesn’t have to be a huge burden. In fact, as you can see, it’s very easy to make this world a little bit better each and every day. Try out one or all of these 14 ways to be kind to someone this week.
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Thanks to Taylor Sicard for this post–he serves as the Co-Founder and CMO of Homesick a hand-poured candle company that offers specialized scents to invoke feelings of nostalgia. Taylor is responsible for overseeing the planning, development and execution of all Homesick marketing and content initiatives. When he is not working or writing, Taylor enjoys spending time with his fiancé and exploring the great outdoors!