While the phrase “random acts of kindness” definitely rolls off the tongue, the best acts of kindness ideas aren’t random at all, but fiercely purposeful ones. At the end of this article is a list of 31 Totally and Completely Purposeful Acts Of Kindness To Brighten Anyone’s Day. Grab a copy of this list RIGHT HERE, print it out, use it, and begin spreading purposeful kindness. This is the best way to be—and raise—kindness warriors.
I met a friend for coffee after we hadn’t seen each other for quite awhile. I had started working full time and balance had gotten away from me. So we got together mid-week for a delicious break. We sat in a golden coffee shop, hot drinks between us, sunlight slicing through the windows, warming the telltale chill that is all too quickly becoming the norm. In the beat between catching up pleasantries — kids, fall, holidays — and peeling a layer off of how we’re really doing, I arranged my thoughts, before they spilled. I wanted to tell her about how unnerved I had become. She is the kind of friend who makes you feel noticed and heard and validated; and I thought that I needed that.
But that’s not how things went.
They went exactly as they we were meant to.
She began talking first and with quick, practiced words she shared her own arranged thoughts about how hard things had been for her since summer when, from her perspective, we had lost track of each other’s schedules when things had become unbalanced for her.
Once, when I shared online how I had been struggling, a fellow kindness warrior named Melinda said, “I forget, and I lie to myself, that I am the only one.” I think that we all do this. We assume that we are alone in our struggles. And we use this lie as a shield to keep us from reaching out in the name of I don’t want to be a downer; She won’t understand; And, Does it — do I — really matter?
That day in that coffee shop, my friend and I sat together with tears and friendship between us. Not because we were two friends going through the same things, but because even though neither one of us had felt the others’ exact struggles, we both understood all too well the heartache that comes from struggle and the softness that comes from being heard.
Because beneath all of our differing details, we all want to be heard.
We all want to be noticed.
And we all want to sit with another, over hot drinks, and feel the kind of hope that is stronger between two than it is alone.
And while I absolutely went into my time with my friend thinking that what I needed was to be heard and noticed, I ended up feeling just as filled up by doing the listening and the noticing. We are meant to reach up and over lie-made shields and we are meant to land by each other.
We are bombarded by the state of busy and overwhelm and, in a lot of ways, we can’t do a whole lot about these. They just “are.”
But what we can do is refuse the It’s just me lie and instead embrace focusing out in order to focus back in. We can reach out to each other, warming the chill of solitude.
When we each carve out room and time and energy to purposefully reach out to one another, we are all lifted, and no matter what we are facing or how we are doing, we could all use that.
I believe that the best and most effective acts of kindness aren’t random at all, but absolutely purposeful. So in that spirit, here are 31 totally and completely purposeful acts of kindness to help us commit to taking care of ourselves and of each other.
CLICK HERE to get your own copy of this list, then use it to be – and to raise – a kindness warrior.
- Email a friend with a compliment + to ask how they are.
- Text a friend that you are thinking of them.
- Tweet an acquaintance you admire and let them know that you do + why.
- Send a friend Starbuck’s e-gift card.
- Drop off a batch of cookies.
- Treat her to dinner.
- Give her a compliment.
- Tell a mom she is doing a good job and that her kids are delightful.
- For every complaint you are tempted to make, offer a “put up” instead. To their boss.
- Leave your waitress a big tip + a note about something great that she did.
- Send your kids’ classroom teachers a note of thanks, no complaints or asks included. Share something sweet that your kid said about them or their class.
- Assume the best.
- Let someone go before you in line.
- Comment on the next ten posts you see on social media. (*especially if no one else has commented yet.)
- Relay a second-hand compliment.
- Say thank you, you’re welcome, please, and gesundheit.
- Bring up someone else’s garbage can.
- Hug hard.
- Clean someone’s windshield.
- Pick up the phone and call someone.
- Say, “let’s make plans,” and mean it. Pull out your calendar and schedule.
- Pause, look someone in the eye, and wait after saying, “how are you?”
- Don’t say, “i’m fine” unless you really are. Open up, be vulnerable.
- Be the one to change the bad-mouthing conversation.
- Write a hand written letter asking how someone is and/or telling someone what makes them fabulous and/or a (flattering) memory of them. Send it.
- When someone shares how they’re feeling or doing, commit to the response, how can i help?
- Take a step back to see the less-noticed people in your life and notice them, compliment them, tell them thank you. Specialists at schools, custodians, store clerks.
- Go to your friend’s event. Tell them how much fun you had.
- Share their good news.
- Get off your phone. Talk to each other.
It doesn’t really matter how we go about spreading kindness, does it? The trick is to get into the habit of noticing others, reaching out to them, and treating them not how we would want to be treated if we were them, but how they might want to be treated. And then to teach our kids to do the exact same thing. CLICK HERE to get that list and to begin spreading and raising kindness today.
Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She blogs at TheseLittleWaves.NET and tweets at @GalitBreen