You know that warm, happy feeling you get when someone does something unexpectedly kind? It’s in our power to pass that on, or in more trendy terms, to “pay it forward.” There are lots of easy ways to make someone else feel like smiling—here are 10 to get you started!
1. Compliment a stranger. It doesn’t have to be over the top, but it should be sincere. If you notice something nice about someone, whether it’s their smile, their style, or something they say or do that gets your attention, tell them so!
2. Pay for someone in line behind you. Whether you’re running into a coffee shop for a latte or pulling through the drive-thru, give an extra $5 or $10 to the cashier and tell them to put it towards whatever the person behind you is buying. A free coffee is sure to make anyone smile.
3. Offer to help carry something. See someone struggling through the store or parking lot with a full armload? An extra hand can be a lifesaver in that situation, and they’ll appreciate the offer.
4. Leave a generous tip. If you’ve ever been in the food service industry—heck, if you’ve ever been in any service industry—you know how draining and disheartening that work can be. Even if you haven’t, imagine the thrill an exhausted member of the waitstaff at your favorite restaurant will feel when they see a bonus tip. Talk about making someone’s day!
5. Give a good review. While we’re on the topic of your favorite restaurant, take a minute to think about your favorite local places. Got a few in mind? When you get the chance, head to their websites, Facebook pages, or Yelp and give them some positive feedback. It’ll put a smile on their face and boost business for them.
6. Put money in an expired parking meter. Ever walked out to your car dreading seeing a parking ticket? Save someone that pain by slipping a quarter into a parking meter nearby.
7. Send a handwritten letter. It’s probably been years since you sat down and wrote out a letter, but that extra time and attention will be well worth it to the person who receives it. Who haven’t you reached out to in a while? Who’s on your mind? Instead of sending them a Facebook message, write them out a letter and drop it in the mail. It’s sure to be a treat, and you might get one in return!
8. Mow or rake the lawn next door. Until it’s happened to you, you don’t realize what a nice gesture fixing up someone’s yard really is. There’s something about walking outside and seeing the grass already cut or the leaves already raked up that will always bring a smile to someone’s face.
9. Read to children. Local schools and libraries love to have volunteers come in and read to their kids. The next time you get the chance, stop in and ask if there’s an opportunity to volunteer. Make the kids’ day, the teacher’s day, and probably your day too.
10. Publicly praise someone. When you have the opportunity to praise someone, take it—but when you have an opportunity to praise someone in public, definitely take it! If someone makes you smile, take it to social media and let everyone know how awesome they are!