Being kind is so simple. It has often bothered me that we say “random acts of kindness.” What if kindness were so common that we just had “random acts of unkindness” but we don't. Everyone wants to be appreciated and encouraged. You can do it too. Here are some easy, quick ways to be kind.
10 Easy, Quick Ways to be Kind
- Give someone a permanent reminder. I've seen people take an inexepensive ceramic “dollar store” written on with Sharpie marker and baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cost: $3.50 plus a sharpie. Do something nice, not tacky. (See Pop Sugar's Sharpie Mug DIY Project for How)
- Buy someone's favorite soda, write a note on a sticky note and put it on their desk. Cost: $1.00 (Tip, if someone likes Mountain Dew, you can make a sign that says “Thanks for all you Dew.” or you can come up with something creative for other beverages.)
- Write a private message to someone on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or anywhere to encourage and be kind. Don't do it for recognition just to be nice. This is great if you know someone is having a hard day or tough time. Cost: Your time.
- Write a public message or blog post to recognize someone out of the blue. Notice people that not everyone notices and use your audience to point them out. Cost: Your time.
- Make a cool hand soap dispenser. This inexpensive teacher gift uses soft soap. Remove the label with “goo gone” Create the label on your home computer and take it to a copy shop to have them run it off on transparency (or run it through a copier onto copier transparency sheets). Roll it up and put it into the bottle. Use the straw inside the bottle to help guide it to the front of the bottle. (See full instructions at Design Mom.) Cost: soap dispenser and cost to copy on a transparency.
- Give someone an app. If you have a favorite app on your iOS and have a person you'd like to give one too, you can go into iTunes and click the button “Give this app as a gift.” (Cnet has some nice instructions.) Some of my favorite apps that cost money are Mr. Reader $3.99, Home Routines $3.99, or Camera+ $.99 are three great choices.)
- Give a teacher pencils or pens in a bow. Teachers and many Moms love pens and pencils. You can go get a large number at an office supply place and tie a ribbon around them. A note like “thanks for being so sharp” or “you're the penultimate” work great! Cost: the price of pencils.
- Say thank you. There are people who do so much and should be thanked. Many people don't thank because they are afraid to leave someone out. Well, you may leave someone out the first time if you only thank people once a year, but if you make it a habit, eventually you'll get around to everyone. Cost: Your time.
- Leave a secret surprise. The reason that so many people click on those viruses that say “someone is saying nasty things about you” or “have you seen this awful picture someone uploaded of you” is that most of us have a scant bit of paranoia. Turn their worries around and leave a secret note in several places saying thank you. In their box, under their locked door after they've left for the day. I've put these in my husband's jacket pocket before a trip. Everyone likes to know that someone is thinking of them. Cost: Your time.
- Just be thoughtful. Notice people and what they like. You can pick up a box of fudgecicles and take them into work. Go around to everyone's room until you've handed them all out. Take a cake and put it in the teacher's lounge with a note saying thank you. Make a delicious pot of coffee and bring it into work with a carafe and flavored syrups and invite people for coffee in the morning to the teacher's lounge. Think of others. Cost: Your time.
When you do this and you're struggling with your own attitude, you'll find that your own mood turns around. You'll also wake up one day and realize that people are starting to be more thoughtful to you! I don't know why or how but the kindness just moves through people. The habit of being kind and thoughtful can do a lot to improve your workplace, school, or home. But don't do it to be fake or to get something, people can see through a charlatan like a spotlight through Gypsy Rose Lee's fan. Be real and be kind.
Being kind may be free but when you're kind you become priceless.