Science of People - Logo

141 Tips to Painlessly Make Someone’s Day & Spread Cheer

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Want to make someone’s day? Why not spread some warmth with random acts of kindness? Studies have shown kindness positively impacts happiness1, improves mental health2, and reduces stress3 Don’t underestimate the power your kindness could have on others—this study shows that across the board, small acts of kindness means so much more than we realize. 

How To Make Someone Happy With Random Acts of Kindness

Not sure whose day you can make, or how to know when it’s appropriate? Here are some pro tips to help.

  • You can show kindness to anyone, anywhere, with anything as simple as a smile or a thank you. 
  • The more intimate the gesture, the more intimate the relationship should be. For example, if you’ve never talked to your coworker before, giving them a gift or suddenly asking them out for lunch might feel inappropriate. Start with smaller kindnesses before moving on to bigger ones.
  • Kindness is best when it’s developed as a lifestyle that flows from a desire to bring good to the world rather than being motivated by people-pleasing.
  • Doing nice things for others doesn’t have to include grand gestures or require spending much money. Instead, the simple things you do naturally in the course of a day are often the most meaningful. 

We’ve made a list of ideas so that kindness can be a part of your daily life.  

How to Make Your Colleague Feel Appreciated

According to data from Gettysburg College, the average person spends a massive one-third of their life at work4! Whether you see your colleagues every day or only connect with them remotely, you have an amazing opportunity to share encouragement. 

These are some of our favorite ideas to make colleagues feel appreciated.

  1. Leave a sticky note on their desk to say thanks for something they helped you with.
  2. Put a kind quote on the office whiteboard. (Here are 221 Positive Quotes to Inspire)
  3. Send a coworker a good morning meme or GIF. 
  4. If you’re sending an email with several attachments, add a random cute animal photo. 
  5. Ask after their family, kids, pets, or plants (as appropriate to your culture).
  6. Bring a snack to share. 
  7. Participate in the Mayo Clinic Kickstart Kindness month-long challenge. 
  8. Send a motivational message midweek, saying, “Yay! It’s Wednesday. We are almost through the week 💪”
  9. Follow up with them about a personal concern they shared previously. 
  10. Add World Kindness Day to your calendar (November 13) and plan something nice to do for at least three people at work. 
  11. Send a message or email to a mentee or mentor to see how they are doing.
  12. Email your manager to thank them for something specific.
  13. If a coworker looks sad or tired, ask them if everything is OK. 
  14. Give a genuine compliment about something specific they did in the last month. For example, “You’re great at making presentations! I always get a clear vision of what you’re trying to communicate.”
  15. Send them a great book you just finished reading.
  16. Take them out for lunch on their birthday.
  17. Send remote coworkers $5 through an app like Venmo and say, “Wish we could get coffee together, but in the meantime, enjoy a coffee on me.”  
  18. Schedule a remote coffee or lunch break. 
  19. Offer to brainstorm together to help find a creative solution to a problem.
  20. Send an e-card.

Feeling like your people skills are a little rusty? Check out this training to make interacting with others at work easier. 

Surprise Your Friends With These Thoughtful Gestures

It’s no secret that friendships are vital for health and happiness5 Let your friends know you care about them with these thoughtful gestures to make their day. 

  1. Write a note with your favorite memory of them and send it through the mail. 
  2. Use an app like Simply Cards to send a photo postcard. 
  3. Buy them something they’ve been wanting. It doesn’t have to be big!
  4. Drop by their work or house with lunch or dessert.
  5. Watch their kids so they can go on a date night with their partner.
  6. Plan an impromptu road trip over a long weekend.
  7. Send them an encouraging message on Monday morning.
  8. If they have a big meeting, event, or performance, text them beforehand to say you believe in them.
  9. Send a note thanking them for what you appreciate the most. 
  10. Instead of asking if they need help during a big transition (move, marriage, divorce, sickness, new baby, etc.), drop by and say you’re ready to do whatever they need.
  11. Invest in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
  12. Go with them to the doctor.
  13. Cook something that fits within their dietary restrictions.
  14. If you don’t normally share your feelings, open up to friends who wish you would.
  15. If you normally do all the talking, listen more. 
  16. Send a subscription box of something they love like a monthly coffee or wine delivery.
  17. Ask how they are really doing.
  18. Play Let’s Get Real Bro to dig deeper and be honest with each other. 
  19. Put gas in their car.
  20. Ask them to tell you a story about themselves that they never get to share with anyone. 
  21. Bring a bag of groceries. 
  22. Message a friend you haven’t talked to recently and tell them you were thinking of them. 
  23. Complement your friend on something others don’t usually notice. 
  24. Send a message, even when you’re busy. 
  25. Help them open up by using the triple nod technique. After they’ve said something (and you want to dig a little deeper) in a conversation, simply nod your head three times and wait. This encourages people to elaborate or keep talking. 
An image that says "have a judgement free day" from the random acts of kindness foundation as a away to make someone's day

Do Something Special for Your Family

  1. Ask for the opinion or advice of an older family member.
  2. Call your mom to talk and not ask for anything.
  3. Message a sibling and share something you appreciate about them. 
  4. Call or message an extended family member and let them know you care. 
  5. Make a surprise visit to someone in your family. 
  6. If you only text your family, encourage them with a video or phone call.
  7. Send old photos to your family with a group text.
  8. Play cards or just sit and chat with your grandparent or other elderly family members.
  9. Ask your parents to tell you about their childhood.
  10. Ask older family members what it was like growing up in _____ (whatever time and place they grew up in).
  11. Apologize. 
  12. Say, “I love you.” Some people show love without words but saying it is very meaningful. 
  13. Use your strength, intellect, and skills to help out. This could include installing shelves, helping an elderly family member take out the trash each week, giving guidance for purchasing a car, etc. 
  14. Ask how you can help. 
  15. Take your grandma out for a fancy dinner.
  16. Invite your nieces or nephews to spend a day at work with you.
  17. Send a grocery gift card to a relative who just got their first apartment or is in college.
  18. Print or email the Random Acts of Kindness Calendar to build an office culture of kindness. 

Show Gratitude Towards Strangers & Acquaintances

Never underestimate your power to impact strangers for good. We’ve personally been encouraged and inspired by people we didn’t know. And in a global climate where everyone is a little on edge, why not spread some goodwill and kindness? 

  1. Leave a copy of your favorite book on a park bench or at a cafe. Leave a note inside explaining you intentionally left it for someone to keep.
  2. Smile and make eye contact with anyone serving you, e.g., a server, customer service associate, fast food staff, etc. 
  3. Thank a veteran for their service.
  4. Write a glowing review for your favorite podcaster.
  5. Give a thank you card to an acquaintance that is a regular part of your life, e.g., your doctor, the maintenance worker in your community, a professor, the custodian at your workplace, cafeteria workers, etc. 
  6. Donate to food banks.
  7. Buy a meal for a homeless person.
  8. Give someone a ride who is stranded.
  9. Ask if you can help someone who looks like they are in distress. 
  10. Send a note of gratitude to a first responder or veteran with Operation Gratitude
  11. Leave a positive comment on a lesser-known YouTube video.
  12. Let your barista know if the drink they made was exceptional.
  13. Take baked goods to a neighbor.
  14. Recommend your favorite small businesses.
  15. Take an empty bag with you on nature walks or the beach so you can pick up litter while walking.  
  16. Help an elderly neighbor put the trash can out for pick up and look for other ways to help others.

Cheer Up Your Partner

Have you ever noticed that, sometimes, it’s easier to show kindness to strangers than to the person closest to you? When you’re so close to a person, it’s easy to forget they need encouragement and surprise kindness too. Use these ideas to start making your partner, or significant other feel loved and appreciated. 

  1. If they normally pack a lunch, make something special and prepare it for them. 
  2. Learn their love language.
  3. Make them an iced coffee or other tasty drink and take it to them in their home office. 
  4. Surprise them with their favorite takeout.
  5. Walk the dog or take the kids to school for a change so they can sleep in a little longer.
  6. Instead of trying to fix things when they are upset or frustrated, simply say, “I understand.” or, “I’m sorry, that’s really hard.” 
  7. Cook their favorite meal for breakfast.
  8. Surprise them with an impromptu picnic date.
  9. Do the thing they’ve been asking you to do. 
  10. Take them to an animal shelter to play with the animals.
  11. Offer to help before they ask. 
  12. Give them a genuine and specific compliment like, “I feel safe with you.” or “You’re so good at staying calm in difficult situations.” 
  13. Help them laugh when they are feeling sad.
  14. Go for a long walk in your neighborhood or local park.
  15. Send them a text during the day to let them know you’re thinking of them. 
  16. Compliment them in front of your friends.
  17. Give them a foot or back massage.
  18. Put your phone down when they are talking to you.
  19. Offer praise and affirmation such as, “This bookcase you put together looks beautiful! Thank you for doing that.” or, “I’m thankful you’re so good with finances.” 
  20. Hold their hand when they are feeling anxious or uncertain.
  21. Let them take a long nap.
  22. Spend time with them doing the things they love.
  23. Ask them to teach you something.

Make Someone’s Day Over Text 

Brightening someone’s day can be as simple as sending them a text or message. It shows you think about them and you care. We’ve included some emojis, but you can also use stickers and gifs to express what you can’t say in words. 

  1. Good morning! ☀️☀️ I hope you have a beautiful day today.
  2. Thinking of you. 
  3. Remember when ____? (fill in a short positive memory).
  4. I don’t say it often, but I love you. 
  5. I just saw ____ and it made me think of you. How are you doing?
  6. You’re my favorite person to spend time with. Want to do something this weekend? 
  7. I didn’t say it this morning, but I love it when you wear that outfit. You’re so beautiful. 
  8. I know things have been hard for you lately. What can I do to support you? 
  9. You did a great job on the new marketing proposal. You should call it a day and spend the rest of the afternoon doing something fun with your family or friends. 
  10. Hi Grandma, can I take you out for a nice meal, or is there something fun you want to do? 🎥 🛍️ 💃
  11. Don’t worry about getting groceries, honey. I’ve picked up everything on your list, so you can come straight home or just go out for a coffee with ____ if you want 😘😘
  12. You’re going to do great on your presentation! Give me a call when you’re done.
  13. I’m just on my lunch break; want to chat? 
  14. I didn’t see you at _____, is everything OK?
  15. Your support means so much to me.
  16. I’m glad I have a friend like you who ______ (include a specific detail about your friendship).
  17. You bring so much joy into my life.
  18. I can always count on you for wise counsel.

Brighten Anyone’s Day With These Compliments

Want to get specific with your compliments but unsure where to start? Use this list to build others up with your words. 

  1. I love your style! 
  2. Thank you for being there for me. 
  3. I appreciate how you communicate clearly and provide structure for what we are learning. 
  4. You’re good at seeing the best in other people. That’s a quality I’d like to develop.
  5. When I talk to you, I know you’re present and listening carefully to what I’m saying. Thank you.
  6. You are so skilled at ______! That must have taken a lot of time and devotion to get to that level. 
  7. Thank you for standing up for me. 
  8. I understand how hard that can be. You’ve handled this difficult situation with maturity and graciousness. 
  9. That color makes you look even more vibrant. 
  10. There are so many things you do that I love. But most of all, I just love who you are. 
  11. I appreciate how supportive you’ve been. Thank you. 
  12. You are an excellent communicator!
  13. I’m impressed by your presence of mind and calm attitude as a leader.
  14. You make me want to be a better person. (OK, we snagged that from As Good As It Gets, but it’s a pretty great compliment!)
  15. Thank you for being my mentor. I truly feel honored that you’ve invested so much in me. 
  16. Thank you for living a life that is consistent with what you believe. 
  17. You’ve modeled what it looks like to be a good leader. Thank you. 
  18. I’m proud that you’re my daughter/son.
  19. Thank you for raising me to care about people. 
  20. Thank you for giving me the foundation to succeed. 
  21. Thank you for all that you’ve sacrificed for me. 

At the end of the day, we could all use a little encouragement! But if kindness doesn’t come naturally to you, try these 62 Unique Ideas to Be a Nicer Person, According to Science.

How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

Do you have a difficult boss? Colleague? Client? Learn how to transform your difficult relationship.
I’ll show you my science-based approach to building a strong, productive relationship with even the most difficult people.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Get our latest insights and advice delivered to your inbox.

It’s a privilege to be in your inbox. We promise only to send the good stuff.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.