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To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness. – Mary Stuart
You may have heard that happiness comes from within but that is not always true. You can also be the source of someone’s happiness. To be honest, it does not even take a lot to make someone smile.
Happiness can be found in the smallest of things, often from a simple actions that require little-to-no effort on our part.
Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where everything is only about us. We neither have the time nor do we care enough to think about those around us.
Making others happy can instantly brighten up your day and the world around you. So, why not start today?
(Side note: One proven way to improve your happiness and life satisfaction is to focus on goals that truly matter. To get started, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.).
In this article, you will discover a list of 60 ways to make someone happy. Whether it is your friend, boss, parents, employee, or even a stranger, you’ll discover a wealth of ideas here. All you have to do is incorporate just a few into your daily routine and you’ll discover it’s not hard to brighten someone’s day.
Let’s get to it.
What You Will Learn
- 1. Smile
- 2. Make eye contact when you say hello
- 3. Greet strangers
- 4. Use the magic words
- 5. Use their name
- 6. Help them carry their stuff
- 7. Give compliments
- 8. Hold the door for 2 seconds
- 9. Let someone overtake you while driving
- 10. Pay the toll fare for the car behind you
- 11. Express gratitude
- 12. Tell jokes
- 13. Compliment a stranger
- 14. Give a hug
- 15. Cuddle your partner
- 16. Call a friend
- 17. Have coffee with a long lost friend
- 18. Bring your partner breakfast in bed
- 19. Invite your friend over
- 20. Send written notes
- 21. Make your bed
- 22. Look after your neighbor
- 23. Give presents
- 24. Give your mom flowers
- 25. Cook or bake
- 26. Be active on social media
- 27. Be a good listener
- 28. Call your grandparent
- 29. Encourage
- 30. Offer your support
- 31. Share your playlist with someone
- 32. Appreciate publicly
- 33. Send a thoughtful email
- 34. Offer babysitting services
- 35. Take your neighbor’s dog for a walk
- 36. Shovel your neighbor’s snow
- 37. Check up on your parents
- 38. Donate to charity
- 39. Tip your server
- 40. Play with your niece or nephew
- 41. Sign up for a volunteer program
- 42. Tell your kid that you’re proud of them
- 43. Acknowledge your mail carrier
- 44. Let someone know that you miss them
- 45. Say you’re sorry
- 46. Send your boss an appreciative email
- 47. Give away a piece of your hobby
- 48. Share some of your yield
- 49. Cook their favorite food
- 50. Get their favorite takeout food
- 51. Serve them tea or coffee the way the like it
- 52. Hide a secret note
- 53. Housesit if they need it
- 54. Say I love you
- 55. Plan something special
- 56. Celebrate belated birthdays
- 57. Do some chores
- 58. Put other people first
- 59. Throw a party
- 60. Thank someone from the past
Make it a habit to smile; do this even when you do not feel like it. Charity begins at home. If you don’t feel good, people around will not be happy. Even if you’re not an overly enthusiastic person, you can start by learning how to fake a smile.
2. Make eye contact when you say hello
Often, people at work greet you as a formality and casually pass by. Look them in the eye and smile when you say hello.
3. Greet strangers
A random ‘hey’ followed by small talk does not require a lot of courage. Don’t be shy. Acknowledge and appreciate the people around you. Try this today if you meet someone new.
4. Use the magic words
Say please and thank you. At the dinner table today, say “can you please pass me the salt?” thank them when you are given the salt cellar.
Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ the next time someone opens the door for you. Even if it’s your own watchman opening the door for you every day, acknowledge their gesture.
5. Use their name
The sweetest sound to anyone is the sound of their name. Doesn’t make sense? Hearing your name being called out by another person is like a validation of your existence.
If you say “listen” to call someone, stop. They have a name, use that.
6. Help them carry their stuff
Going grocery shopping today? If you see someone struggling with their bags, help them. Elderly people, pregnant women, and mothers love such gestures.
7. Give compliments
Do you like how your friend’s bag looks? Tell them today or the next time they carry it. Do you like something your colleague did at work? Tell them, please! Stop holding back on all the positive things you want to say.
8. Hold the door for 2 seconds
Never shut the door close in someone’s face. It is a matter of only 2 to 3 seconds. Such gestures do not always go unacknowledged. You do get thanks and a smile in return.
9. Let someone overtake you while driving
While driving to work today, let someone into your lane. There is a chance they are genuinely in a hurry.
10. Pay the toll fare for the car behind you
I was driving with my kids in the car today and a car in front of me paid for my toll. He/she probably saw how I was struggling to find my wallet. Pay for the toll behind you the next time you take a toll road.
11. Express gratitude
We often take a waiter’s job for granted. Thank him when he serves the food. Thank the cashier when he returns you the change.
12. Tell jokes
Tell something funny that happened with you last week. You can also tell a random joke; whether it’s good or bad doesn’t matter. As you probably know, laughter is one of the secret ingredients to happiness.
13. Compliment a stranger
Have you ever had a stranger tell you how pretty your hair looks? You must have felt wonderful. So, if you encounter a stranger and like something they are wearing, let them know. You can even show genuine interest by asking them where they got it from.
14. Give a hug
Not everyone appreciates being hugged. So, be careful. However, it is great for disrupting negative thoughts and letting go of stress.
15. Cuddle your partner
Cuddle your partner without provocation. When you cuddle someone, calms you both down and helps you in stressful situations.
Make your partner feel loved when they least expect it. If they’re going through a rough patch in life and don’t want to share. Your cuddle can remind them that you’re there for them.
16. Call a friend
Calls are becoming a thing of the past. Most of us prefer to text and save phone calls only for emergencies. Call your friend today to have a random chat.
You may want to call a friend you have been out of touch with.
17. Have coffee with a long lost friend
If you call your friend, it might end on a coffee plan for tomorrow. Don’t ditch.
Or reach out to an old friend on Facebook. My mom found her school friend on Facebook and now they are friends again 40 years later. Even though they both live continents apart, they are happy to be back in touch.
18. Bring your partner breakfast in bed
What a delight it is to get breakfast served in best especially on an ordinary day. Get up before your partner tomorrow so that you have time to crack a few eggs, butter some toast and set it all in a tray. Surprise him/her with a meal they don’t need to move an inch for.
19. Invite your friend over
Plan a movie marathon pizza with your best friend. You both are best friends for a reason. Don’t let your overwhelming routines take over your relationship. Kick back, relax and remember why you’re each other’s number one.
20. Send written notes
Recall the days when we used to write birthday cards. Looking back makes us realize how beautiful those times were. You probably do not know anyone who has their birthdays today.
Try sending a ‘thank you’ note the next time someone does something for you. Of course, you do thank them immediately but it matters more when you remember and do it again later.
And oh, attach a bar of chocolate with your note too. It’ll make the gesture sweeter.
21. Make your bed
If you are the messiest person at home, show your gratitude to others for bearing with you by making your bed. Don’t leave this task for your partner or roommate.
22. Look after your neighbor
A few weeks ago, my neighbor rang my doorbell around 7 in the morning because she somehow sensed that we had slept in.
23. Give presents
A present does not always have to be a branded bag or anything else that’s expensive. A keychain is sometimes worth more than a crystal pendant.
24. Give your mom flowers
All that our mothers do for us often goes unappreciated. They deserve to be recognized every day. On the very least, give your mom a bouquet at least twice a year besides the presents you give her on Mother’s Day. Do this today on your way back from work.
25. Cook or bake
Cooking, baking, or even eating is a great way to detoxify for some people. Bake some cookies for your workmates. You do not necessarily have to feed your entire floor. Make as many as you can.
Share any funny content that you find online. It might brighten up someone’s day who was randomly scrolling down and smiled because of the video you posted.
27. Be a good listener
Most times, this is all that is needed for taking someone out of a negative headspace. Listening helps a lot in reducing stress. Listening is harder than we think. For more on this concept, be sure to check out this article on empathetic listening.
Most of us think we’re listening but we’re not. If you engage in a conversation today, really listen and show respect. Trust me it will make a world of difference.
28. Call your grandparent
Call your one of your grandparents today just to say hi. Grandparents love getting calls out of the blue from their grandchildren. The call might last longer than you expected but don’t let it discourage you. You will get used to it.
Do you know a friend who often talks about accomplishing a big goal in life? The next time they do, tell them you believe in them and they can do it.
30. Offer your support
Be ready to help in any possible manner. If you have a friend who is trying to lose weight, become their gym buddy today. Or if your friend is running a fundraising campaign, donate a few bucks.
Plus never buy stuff or services free of cost from your friend who runs a business. Support them by paying them justly. Helping your friend reach their goal will make them happy.
Send a list of the most inspiring and uplifting songs with a friend that needs it right now.
32. Appreciate publicly
If you like your subordinate’s performance, appreciate it in front of other people rather than in private.
33. Send a thoughtful email
If your colleague has been talking about something they hope to achieve, find an article relevant to their goal and email it to them. They will appreciate the gesture.
34. Offer babysitting services
If your neighbor about how she is finding it tough to juggle work and personal life, offer to hang out with her kids next weekend. Your kindness will be remembered. Also, this might turn out to be a detoxifying session for yourself.
35. Take your neighbor’s dog for a walk
Help your neighbor run small errands like walking their dog. Carry his favorite snacks, a water bottle, and a bowl. Don’t forget their ball for playing fetch. (And if want to make a little money, you can even get paid to walk.)
36. Shovel your neighbor’s snow
We recently moved in and forgot to buy shovels. This morning my neighbor shoveled the snow off outside my house. Of course, I returned the kindness right away.
Tomorrow you can shovel your neighbor’s snow after your done shoveling yours off.
37. Check up on your parents
Sometimes life can be so overwhelming that you tend to forget the ones who love you the most. Call your parents today.
38. Donate to charity
How many clothes do you actually wear from your wardrobe? Do your children play with every toy that they have?
Don’t be a hoarder and de-clutter your home. Give the stuff you don’t need to someone who does. Involve your kids in the process so they can learn the importance of giving.
39. Tip your server
Did your server do an excellent job in serving you at the restaurant? Did your masseuse do a remarkable job? Show your appreciation by tipping them a little extra.
You may want to add a little note as well. This is a great way to point out what they did right to make your experience a memorable one.
40. Play with your niece or nephew
Kids are a great source of happiness. They can be annoying sometimes but keep in mind, they won’t be young forever. When they want to play, play with them. You want to keep your status as their favorite aunt or uncle. Plus, it is a chance for you to behave like a kid again.
41. Sign up for a volunteer program
Not only is volunteering a critical element of happiness, it is also an important habit for making the world a better place. There are many organizations around you where you can volunteer. There are orphanages, old homes, shelters, and hospitals where people yearn for friendship and support.
Visit them, talk to them, and give them small presents. Make it a habit to bring smiles on those innocent faces and let them know that someone truly cares about them.
42. Tell your kid that you’re proud of them
Some parents forget to appreciate anything good their child did. A parent’s job is not just to reprimand, yell, and chastise their children. I’m not saying that they do it needlessly. Of course, some punishment is required when kids misbehave. Still, you shouldn’t be negative all the time.
Recognize the next time your kid brings you a glass of water or carries a stranger’s groceries. Express your appreciation verbally as well as physically by hugging them. Kids don’t show it but they love being hugged.
43. Acknowledge your mail carrier
Most of us don’t get to see our courier guys but when we do we should acknowledge and appreciate their hard work. Offer them a glass of water, have a chat with them, and ask for their name so that next time, you can address them in a better way.
44. Let someone know that you miss them
We often shy away from telling someone that we miss them. If you miss someone, tell them today.
45. Say you’re sorry
A simple sorry can make a lot of problems go away in a jiffy. But if a genuine effort to make things right does not follow that apology, the effort is of no use. A promise of change gives credibility to your apology.
Keep these two things in place the next time you want to make things right with someone. That next time could be today. It is magical how two words as simple as “I’m sorry” can make things perfectly all right.
46. Send your boss an appreciative email
There are bosses out there who genuinely care for their employees. If your boss is one of those, appreciate them today. You probably don’t realize this but having a caring boss means you’re very lucky. Let them know that you’re happy with their guidance and support. Send an email that says this.
47. Give away a piece of your hobby
You might be fond of making bracelets or painting. Give away a bracelet or a painting you made to your friend or colleague. If you love to read, give away your most cherished book. These little gestures will make them feel important and cared for.
If you have a small kitchen garden at home, share some of the fruits or vegetables with your colleagues at work. Freshly harvested food makes people happy.
49. Cook their favorite food
If a family member or close friend has had a bad day, cook their favorite food; it’ll instantly cheer them up. It doesn’t matter what your cooking skills are like; the gesture itself will mean a lot to them. I know from my own experiences that when someone cooks for me, it makes me really happy.
50. Get their favorite takeout food
If you want a quicker solution to someone’s crummy day, order in. You can attach their favorite chocolate or any other treat with the order.
51. Serve them tea or coffee the way the like it
Some of us prefer our hot beverages to be served in a certain way. If your loved one prefers their tea with cookies, serve them like this today. Unknowingly, you will brighten up their day.
52. Hide a secret note
I often hide secret notes in my children’s lunch boxes. There are days we get absolutely no time to our loved ones, especially our children. Secret notes are a great way to show love, appreciation, thankfulness, and much more.
53. Housesit if they need it
If your neighbor or friend is going away for some time and you think you lend a helping hand, do it. Housesit and look after their house if you can.
I understand you can’t do it for days but try for a couple of hours, if possible. Your friend might even refuse to take your offer but will forever remember your gesture.
54. Say I love you
Most times, we feel that our loved ones don’t need to be reminded of how much we love them. This is not true. We all love to be reminded of the fact that we are loved.
Before hanging up, tell your mom that you love her. Remember the real magic lies when you say all three words in “I love you.” Don’t leave out the “I” when you say it.
55. Plan something special
Surprises are great for a burst of delight. Plan a fun night out with your loved one without informing them about any of the details. Go watch a play, join a couple’s dance class, or simply go for a hike. Do let them know what they should be wearing.
56. Celebrate belated birthdays
We have all forgotten birthdays; this is okay as long as we make up for it. Don’t take relationships for granted. Don’t presume that your friend or partner doesn’t want their birthday to be celebrated.
They still need to be made happy and there is a lot that you can do. Surprise them with a thoughtful gift or a night out at the movies or a simple dinner.
57. Do some chores
If someone invited you over for lunch, march over to the sink and start washing the dishes. Don’t ask if they need help with anything because, of course, they do.
58. Put other people first
As soon as you come home from work, hug your children and kiss your partner. These people have missed you all day just the way you missed them. So, express your love as soon as you get home.
59. Throw a party
Parties don’t always have to be elaborate. Choose a couple of friends and decide on a date that is convenient for you all. Ask everyone to bring a dish or dessert for a great night of bonding.
60. Thank someone from the past
Someone in your past might have given you a valuable piece of advice that was helpful to you later in life. For instance, someone encouraged you to start your own business and five years later, you are a successful entrepreneur. Send an email thanking them today.
Have more tips on how to make someone happy?
Let us know in the comments below.
Finally, one proven way to improve your happiness and life satisfaction is to focus on goals that truly matter. To get started, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.