Be nice to someone. Right now. You don’t even have to spend money or pick up the phone.
Send them an email. Write a note and leave it on their desk.
Message them on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr with a fond memory and tell them that you’ve been thinking about them.
Text them a picture of something you bought together or a DVD that you watched together.
Make something for someone. Leave a dollar on their keyboard for a snack.
And afterwards, relish in the feeling that you made someone’s day. It’s like magic.
It’s easy to block people out. Well, maybe it’s not easy so much as it is not hard. We walk out of our houses in the morning, past our neighbors. We get into our car, we drive to the office. We sit at our desk and do our work. We go home.
It isn’t hard to forget how many lives are happening around us. We’re in our own heads, we’re in our own worlds. We are functioning to survive and thrive based on our own needs, wants and desires. It isn’t difficult to block out everything that’s not in line with those things.
But something I have discovered in recent years is that being kind is so very, very crucial. And it’s just as easy as ignoring people, but it reaps three times the rewards in the world around you.
Here are a few inoffensive ways that you can make someone’s day with less than 30 seconds of effort:
- Wish someone a good day. If you’re about to leave for the day, and someone is walking to their own bus stop/car/whatever, tell them, “I hope you have a great day.” Immediate smile.
- Compliment someone’s taste. “I really love that bag. It suits you.” “That necklace is gorgeous.”
- Thank someone for something, and be genuine about it. “Hey, thanks for letting me park in front of your house. This weather is awful, and I feel so much safer not going all the way around the block.” (Note: this is one I use in Pittsburgh a lot in the winter, if possible).
- Support someone’s dream. Artists really need this, and 9 times out of 10, they’re not going to ask for it. “I saw that piece of art you posted online. It’s really great. I hope you keep sharing your work!” You have nothing to lose by encouraging someone’s creativity, and the world has everything to gain from their self-expression.
- Treat someone to a little special treat. Leave a dollar on the snack machine. Offer to buy someone a soda.
Easy. And the joy that immediately comes back from a small act like this is profound. It will make their day, and it’s going to make yours too.
30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30: Part 6
26. Being nice.
It’s the trick to getting through anything, whether it’s international travel, getting caught in a bad spot or calling customer service. I am happy to say that I am really freaking nice and I know how to not be an asshole. Hooray!
27. How to form a habit.
If I want to do something different, I know now how to adopt a change to a behavior. That used to be really hard for me. I used to just say, “Nope, I could never do that.” But it’s all in the baby steps.
28. The definition of marriage.
Life thus far with my husband has been awesome, and it’s because at some point in our relationship, we decided that we just weren’t going to listen to anyone about how to do things. Just because other people are married doesn’t mean that it’s the same in every other couple. I’ve learned how and when to break the rules, and in what cases to say, “That’s awesome you think that, but we’re doing this our way.”
29. How to get the most out of a bad situation.
Smile. Laugh. Take notes. Put the story out there asap.
30. Where adventure is.
Everywhere. Every day. If you’re willing to look for it.
Here’s to another amazing 30+ years!