Thirty-five Ways to Show Kindness

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerrey

Paying it forward is a powerful thing. In fact, research shows that being kind can make a real difference in the health and well-being of individuals who practice it and receive it. Try a random act of kindness each day to see how it can positively affect you and those around you. Consider these ideas:

  1. Bring a box of fresh fruit to share at the office.
  2. Give an anonymous donation to a school in need.
  3. Clean up graffiti.
  4. Stop by a friend’s house just to give them an unexpected hug.
  5. After a wedding or party, donate all of the flowers to a local nursing home or hospital.
  6. Send thanks to members of the armed forces, police, or fire department.
  7. Put a sticky note somewhere random that’ll make someone smile.
  8. Let someone cut in line.
  9. Cook an extra portion of dinner for someone who needs it.
  10. Encourage someone to pursue their dreams and help them get there.
  11. Pass out reusable shopping bags to customers in the grocery parking lot.
  12. Return shopping carts to the store or the cart collector.
  13. Search job postings and pass along those that are relevant to the job-seeker in your life.
  14. Make a helpful introduction.
  15. Instead of picking up a treat for yourself, buy it for someone else as an unexpected gift.
  16. Smile—it’s contagious.
  17. Get two-dollar bills from the bank and use them as your tip money.
  18. Make a favorite meal for a friend.
  19. Donate blood.
  20. Open the door for others.
  21. Offer to take pictures for tourists.
  22. Write a letter to a child who could use some extra attention. Kids love getting mail.
  23. Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, especially in bad weather.
  24. Put an extra coin or two in an expired meter.
  25. Take jackets or other clothing you never wear and give them to someone who could use the extra warmth.
  26. Call or write to a teacher who changed your life.
  27. Offer change when the person in front of you at the register comes up short.
  28. Pass along a great book you've just finished reading.
  29. Take a bucket of flowers to a nursing home or hospital to have the staff share them with patients who don't get many visitors.
  30. Create a unique-to-you holiday to celebrate someone you love.
  31. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, remember friends who have lost a parent the previous year, and check in with them. Those will be tough days.
  32. Pick up trash.
  33. Offer to be a designated driver.
  34. Give many thanks.
  35. Pick up the order for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop.


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Last updated 4/1/2015