25 Easy Ways to Make Someone Happy Today
We live in an "all about me" world these days, and it's easy to get caught up in ourselves without any regard for those around us. Let's change that. Do something for somebody else today that makes them happy — even for a moment. Here are 25 ideas to get you started. In the comments below, add your own ideas on how to bring someone happiness — however big or small. (See also: Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier)
1. Send a Thank-You Card
When somebody does something nice for you, it's important to say thanks. Whether it's a passing gesture of politeness or a special gift for a special occasion, let your appreciation be known. Most of us say thank you in the moment, but it matters more when you do it again later, too. Sit down, write a quick note of gratitude, and pop it in the mail. The recipient will know that you're sincere in your thanks and that their gesture or gift was truly appreciated; and they'll inevitably hold you in higher esteem because you went out of your way to let them know how much they mean to you.
2. Bake Your Neighbor Something Sweet
Who doesn't like a big plate of freshly baked cookies or brownies? If you have a neighbor you're particularly fond of — or even better, one with whom you haven't necessarily gotten along with in the past — hit the kitchen and whip up a delicious treat. Package them nicely on a plate or in a pastry box and deliver with a kind note and a smile. (See also: Delicious Gifts You Can Bake)
3. Make Your Partner Breakfast in Bed
What a surprise it is to have breakfast served in bed — especially when it's just an ordinary day. The next time you're up before your partner and you have time to crack a few eggs and butter some toast, surprise him or her with a meal that they don't have to move an inch to enjoy.
4. Send Your Mom Flowers
Moms are special people who don't always get the recognition they deserve — aside from that one day of the year, of course. Outside of Mother's Day, send your mom a small bouquet of flowers that tell her how much you love her and appreciate all the things she's done for you throughout your life. As flowers can be expensive, I try to wait until I receive a deal via e-mail from popular flower-delivery services and pair that with an additional coupon or free shipping code that I've found online.
5. Take the Neighbor's Dog for a Walk
Taking care of a small errand like walking the dog can really help out, and it shows that you care about both your neighbor and the dog. After all, dogs appreciate nice gestures, too. Bring a bowl and a water bottle so they don't get dehydrated, and be sure to pack their favorite ball for playing fetch. (See also: Why It's Good to Know Your Neighbors)
6. Take Your Assistant to Lunch
Let's be honest — your assistant does all the work you don't want to do. Mine does, at least. Which is why I take him to lunch once a month to let him know that I appreciate all his hard work. If you have an assistant, allot time in your schedule to take him or her out to eat or order in lunch every now and then. You'll not only be able to express your gratitude for what they do for you, but it'll give you one-on-one time to get to know each other better, resulting in an improved professional and even personal relationship.
7. Call Your Grandmother Just to Say Hi
Before the grandmother to whom I was closest passed away, I would often call her out of the blue — and she loved it. I genuinely enjoyed talking to my grandmother, too. To make your grandmother smile today, pick up the phone just to say hello. She'll appreciate it, and you will too since all of our time on this planet is limited. By the way, this works for grandfathers as well; let's not forget them.
8. Invite Your Bestie Over for Pizza and a Movie
You two are best friends for a reason — you get each other when nobody else does. Let your main man or sister from another mister know they're your number one by planning a movie marathon pizza party where you can kick back, relax, and remember why you're so close in the first place. (See also: 10 Ways to Have a Cheaper Evening With Friends)
9. Send Your Boss an Appreciative E-mail
Not all bosses are created equal — I've had my fair share of jerks in charge of my employment — but there are bosses out there who genuinely care for their employees. If you're one of the lucky ones to have a boss like this, let them know that you're happy with their performance and guidance by sending a short and professional email saying so.
10. Post Something Uplifting and Funny to Facebook
I love posting funny, sweet, or heartfelt videos to Facebook because it always, without fail, makes somebody on my friends list happy. How do I know? Every single time I post something like that, they respond with how much it made their day. Mission accomplished. (See also: 10 Ways to Make Facebook Productive)
11. Pay for the Toll Fare for the Car Behind You
When I was kid, my dad used to pay the toll for the car behind us on occasion on our way to the beach. This was the 1980s and 1990s, of course, when tolls were much cheaper, but there are still small fare tolls around that you can handle financially on someone else's behalf. Thus, take your cue from my dad and pay for the toll behind you. Who knows — you might just start a trend like one customer did at a Connecticut Starbucks recently; more than 1,000 continued to pay for the person behind them. Now that's a beautiful day in America. (See also: Frugal Ways to Pay It Forward)
12. Clean the House — or at Least One Room
Are you the one who makes the most mess around the house while your partner or roommate is always cleaning it up? Muster up the courtesy — and courage — to tackle the house (or at least a room) so your default and unpaid "maid" doesn't have to.
13. Shovel Your Neighbor's Snow
Just a few weeks ago my neighbor shoveled snow off the sidewalk at my house. My husband and I recently moved in, and we neglected to buy shovels. I really appreciated his kindness, especially because it meant that we didn't have to brave the elements to pick up shovels of our own. We have, of course, bought shovels since then so we're prepared for next time, and our neighbor received a nice, freshly baked treat as thanks.
14. Listen — Just Listen
Listening is harder than it sounds (no pun intended). Often we think we're listening, but we're not. Next time somebody wants to be heard, really listen, engage in the conversation, and let the speaker know that you care about what they're saying. Trust me when I tell you that it will make a world of difference, especially if the situation is an argument.
15. Give a Stranger a Compliment
If you like what somebody's wearing or how they've done their hair today, let them know. They obviously took some time and care putting themselves together, and it feels nice to be recognized for it. Remember, too, that they might not get that compliment even from the people to whom they're the closest, which makes a stranger's compliment all the more meaningful.
16. Tip Your Server a Little Extra for Exceptional Service
Did your server do a great job bringing you everything you needed to have an excellent meal out? Show your appreciation by tipping a little extra and add a little note that points out what he or she did right to make your outing a success.
17. Play With Your Niece or Nephew
When your niece or nephew wants to play, play. They won't be young forever — which means that you'll regret it later if you don't play with them — and you need to keep your status as favorite auntie or uncle, anyway. Plus, it never hurt anybody to act like a kid again for a bit. (See also: Free Ways to Entertain Kids)
18. Give Somebody Important to You a Hug
One little hug can go a long way. You have no idea what others are going through, and this simple gesture can make all the difference in the world. Hug somebody — for you and for them.
19. Cuddle Your Partner When They Least Expect It
There are very few things that make me happier than when my husband cuddles up to me without provocation. It's even more appreciated when I wake up in the middle of the night only to realize that he's already cuddling me. Like I mentioned earlier, our time on this planet is limited, so we should make the best of it — and as far as I'm concerned, cuddling is the best of it.
20. Donate Clothing or Non-Perishable Food to a Shelter
Granted, you won't get to experience the happiness you'll bring to someone by donating food or clothing to a shelter, but rest assured that the recipients will appreciate it. If you don't need it, let someone else have it; it'll make their day. (See also: Local Shelters That Need Your Stuff)
21. Sign Up for a Volunteer Organization
There are many organizations at which you can volunteer, but I personally recommend giving your time to Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you're accepted into the program, you'll bring happiness to your "little" on a regular basis by spending time with them, listening to them, and letting them know that someone — even someone they least expected — truly cares about them. If we all did this, the world would be a brilliant place.
22. Help Someone Reach a Goal
Whether it's donating a few bucks to a friend's 5K fundraising campaign or being your buddy's gym partner as he tries to lose weight, helping someone reach a goal will make them happy — and even happier that it was you that helped them.
23. Tell Your Child That You're Proud of Them
I don't have kids, so I can't get too righteous here. But I do hear a lot of reprimanding and yelling and chastising of children by their parents whenever I'm out. Most of it's probably necessary, but you can't be negative all day long. Step back for a minute and recognize the good things your kid has done and verbally express how proud you are of them. Then follow it with a hug. A hug helps. See above.
24. Acknowledge Your Mail Carrier
Most of us don't see our mail carriers that often, but when we do we should acknowledge them and show our appreciation for the hard work they do. I remember my mom offering our mail carrier a cold glass of water when he or she was delivering the mail in extreme heat during the summer months. That gesture has stayed with me my whole life, and it's something I continue myself to this day. You don't have to do what we do, but rather show you mail carrier your gratitude however you feel is appropriate.
25. Say You're Sorry
Real talk: A simple "I'm sorry" will make many problems go away in an instant. But those words must be accompanied by a genuine attitude of regret — and a promise of change. If those two things are in place, you'll both walk away happy. For today, at least, but that's all that matters when you're living in the now.
Do you have other ways to make people happy today? Let me know in the comments below.