In the hustle and bustle of every day life, it’s often hard to think about more than yourself. It’s not that we’re selfish humans necessarily, but we’re so busy trying to keep track of our own lives that it can be hard to find the energy to go the extra step to make other people happy.
And when we do think about doing something extra nice for someone we care about, our first thought would probably be to head to the store and give them monetary gifts or maybe treat them to a nice dinner. Those kind of gestures are awesome and of course, ideally we would want to spend some money for our loved ones, but sometimes our financial situations don’t allow for it.
The good news for us is that there are countless ways that we can make someone’s day without actually spending anything!
1. Write a heartfelt note.
This can sound sort of cheesy, but leaving notes for someone you love takes only a minute or two and easily makes that person’s day. This was my go-to gesture when I lived with my cousin. I’d write her little notes when she had a rough day or just because. It always made me happy to cheer her up.
You can do this for strangers too. Leave a cheerful, “Keep your spirits up! You’re awesome” Post-It note or something of the sort on a public restroom mirror. You may never see their reaction, but it’s nice to know that you might have really cheered someone up who was having the worst day.
2. Take an interest in something that they love.
We all have our own hobbies and things we love that not everyone understands. But it feels awesome when someone not only takes note of your interests, but wants to learn more. If your girlfriend loves studying French, learn a few phrases to surprise her. Or if your guy friend loves video games, ask him if you can borrow one or what he loves about his favorite game. I’m always surprised by how far a little effort like that can go in making someone happy.
3. Collect things for someone that reminds you of him/her on trips you take.
If you travel a lot for work or fun, start collecting things on the places you go. This could cost money but there are certain items you could collect that only require time and a little effort. If the person you love likes nature, pick up cool looking rocks when you go on hikes without him. If she likes to collect sea shells, make some time while you’re at the beach to collect some for her. It is always special to know someone’s thinking of you while they’re away. It’s a kind of souvenir that means more than anything money could buy.
4. Clean the house.
If you’re living with someone else and you have a little spare time, do some extra cleaning. Everybody loves having a clean house but not many people enjoy doing the cleaning. It doesn’t have to be the entire house, maybe just the areas that your roommate hates cleaning the most. You’ll end up with both a clean space and a happy roomie. She might even forget about that soda stain you left on the sofa last week.
5. Remember important dates.
It’s amazing how much it can mean when people in your life remember the big or little stuff that you have going on. Maybe it’s an accounting exam day for you and your best friend remembers to text you to wish you good luck. Or your boyfriend remembers that you have a meeting that you’re dreading and gets up early to make you coffee. Those little gestures can mean the world when you know how busy they are. Taking time out of your day to remember what other people are up to seems like it’s not a big deal, but it would probably make his day to know that someone is taking the time to think about how things are going in his life.
Simple gestures can go such a long way to making someone else smile. All it takes is a little thought and some positive action to make someone’s day go from terrible to awesome. Not to mention, it’ll leave you feeling happier too.