July 17, 2019

8 ways to spread kindness

Because even the smallest acts of kindness can have a big impact.

Bringing kindness to your community can make everything seem rosier. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Kindness is important. There are whole organizations centered on celebrating kindness and creating more of it in schools, workplaces, and communities across the country. Similar to volunteering, acts of kindness will make you feel good, but these simple acts have a way of bringing people together. “A sense of community is created when people are kind to those who need help,” writes psychologist Karyn Hall.

Below are eight concrete ways to spread kindness, both online and in real life.

1. Recommend and lend a book. If a particular title brought you joy, pass it on! When they finish reading it, you can discuss the plot and strengthen your friendship.

2. Send more snail mail. Thank you emails are always appreciated, but an unexpected thank you card or “saying hi!” letter will stick out in a pile of bills and junk mail and brighten the recipient’s day.

3. Be generous on social media. Putting yourself out there is hard, and retweets and likes and comments are an easy way for you to show support that could mean a lot to them.

4. Spy someone eating lunch alone? Whether it’s at work or school, make sure to welcome the new kid by sitting next to them in social situations and striking up a conversation.

5. Let someone go ahead of you in line at the store. If you aren’t in a hurry, allowing the stressed mom or intern on an errand to cut in front of you could change someone’s entire day.

6. While you’re at it, pay for the person behind you in line for coffee. This is a classic “random act of kindness” for a reason. You can also deploy this in a less random way by buying coffee for colleagues and neighbors as a token of appreciation.

7. Help a busy neighbor with a chore. Maybe they haven’t had time to water some thirsty plants, or their working late and haven’t been able to bring up the garbage can. Helping in small ways like this help make a neighborhood feel like a community.

8. Remember peoples’ names. This can be tricky if you work in a big office or attend a big school, but learning and using people’s names makes them feel seen and welcome. It creates mutual respect and helps build a friendlier community.

Caitlin Fairchild

Caitlin Fairchild is the deputy editor of The Renewal Project.
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