Have you ever paid for someone’s coffee at your local café or complimented a stranger on their outfit, just because? If so, then you just know how good it feels. Yes, the gratification of receiving a smile or even a thank you can mean the world, but there’s evidence to suggest that by helping others, you can experience positive psychological changes in the brain (changes, that yes, have been linked with happiness). Amazing, right? To help you reap the benefits (and put more good into the world), we’ve rounded up our 25 favorite random acts of kindness ideas.
Although Random Acts of Kindness Day falls on February 17, we’re big believers in expressing empathy and compassion all day, every day. Sharing kindness, showing grace, and acting in benevolent ways is a year-round job. Actually, scratch that—there couldn’t be anything we’d consider further from a chore.
So, keep scrolling to discover 30 creative ways you can show kindness this week and every week following. You’ll up your good karma points, build stronger connections, and even boost your own self-esteem while you’re at it. These ideas are so easy and rewarding, and you may just make someone’s entire week.
Feature image by Michelle Nash.
25 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas to Share Generosity, Gratitude, and Love
Send a “just because” text to a friend who’s going through a hard time. I used to feel self-conscious when I’d fallen out of touch with a friend for an extended period of time. Know this: You can always start again. Share a few notes of gratitude or send a note simply reminding them how much they mean to you.
Offer to babysit for new parents. Truly, I can’t tell you how much this will mean to them. When you’re a new parent, your life revolves around your baby. And while that’s one of the most gratifying, best things to experience in the world, sometimes, all you want is a few moments of peace and quiet to yourself.
Do your roommate’s laundry. Pack up the pile-up and send it for a spin. They’ll be endlessly grateful.
Tell someone they look amazing today. Because this is true every day.
Donate your work clothes to Dress for Success. Take a little time to sift through your work wardrobe and identify clean, gently-used items to help someone look (and more importantly, feel) their best.
Deliver a batch of cookies. These best-ever chocolate chip delights are a great place to start.
Throw a cool-down party. It’s getting hotttt y’all. If your home is blessed with air conditioning, invite over your friends who aren’t as lucky, open some rosé, and sink into the blissful chill.
Make someone soup. Whether it’s a new mom or a friend in need, any soup will do, but this immunity-boosting green soup isn’t just delicious—it’s mind-blowingly nutritious.
Share a friend’s latest project or accomplishment on social media. Use that social media addiction for good.
Read a story (and do the voices!) for your child. Because it’s fun for you, too.
Give a free back rub. While we elaborated on how good it feels to do an act of kindness without expecting anything in return, a hand massage would be a nice bonus.
Take your friend’s kids for the afternoon. Already planning a trip to the pool or a hike with your family? Give a friend a few hours off by asking if their kiddos want to come along for the ride.
Gift a book. Head to a local bookstore and select a title you think your friend will love. A little wrapping paper doesn’t hurt.
Give your pet a 15-minute head scratch. They’ve been begging for it all day.
Send a Starbucks coffee card to your colleague who’s doing a great job. Someone did this for me at my last job, and the ensuing smile didn’t leave my face for an hour. Maybe more.
Make someone a Spotify playlist. The same sentiment as the mix tapes of yore, updated for 2022.
Surprise random friends with flowers. The gorgeous, nature-inspired gift that keeps on giving.
Give your significant other the last bite of dessert. Even though you really, really want it.
Share an Instagram story hyping up a sibling or friend. They’re doing amazing things, and while you can’t wait to celebrate them in person, social media can be a great place to spread the word.
Drop a positive note on someone’s desk. Alternatively, you can send a Slack giving sharing kudos for their amazing work (and for being an overall good person).
Offered to help a recent college grad with her resume. You have the experience and the perspective to give someone a head start. Bonus: The experience will remind you just how much wisdom you have to share.
Pick up the tab at your next coffee (dinner, movie) date. Whatever outing you choose, treating someone can add a little unexpected burst of joy and gratitude for your generosity.
Invite a friend over for a home-cooked dinner. Ask them their favorite dish and design a meal all around that. They’ll be touched by the thoughtful gesture.
Write an old college friend a letter. Because while texting or talking over the phone is amazing, opening a hand-written letter shows you put time and plenty of careful thought into your words.
Call your mom and dad just to tell them you love them. Make it a habit.
This post was originally published on February 17, 2020, and has since been updated.