99 Simple Ways to Show Kindness

daughter feeding father kindness

Kindness makes the world a better place. And that’s because it’s simply contagious. Think about it: You witness a random act of kindness, and you can’t help but extend the kindness continuum by paying it forward yourself. This makes acts of kindness not just beneficial for the recipient, but for everyone in your community.

Kindness is also good for you, the giver. When you display kindness, you increase dopamine to the brain, leaving you feeling happier and more energized. So whether you want to perk up a loved one, coworker, acquaintance, total stranger, or yourself, you’ll accomplish it all in one random act of goodness.  

In case you’re short on ideas, here are 99 ways you can practice kindness. Most cost little-to-no time or money, and will make a lasting impact.

  1. Leave a note on a neighbor’s or coworker’s car wishing them a spectacular day.
  2. Buy a box of granola bars and leave it in your car, offering one to someone who looks hungry along your way.
  3. Buy a box of dog treats to leave in your car, offering one to a furry friend who looks hungry.
  4. Buy a cup of coffee for the stranger behind you in line.
  5. Bring a reusable mug with you when you get your morning coffee, showing kindness to the environment.
  6. The next time you have leftovers, bring a meal to your neighbor, offering them dinner or a packed lunch for the day ahead.
  7. Write an email to the manager of a coffee shop or grocery store that you frequent about an employee that you find extremely helpful and friendly.
  8. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
  9. Text a friend or loved one a photo of something that reminds you of them.
  10. Buy (or prepare and bring) lunch for a friend or coworker.
  11. Next time someone cuts you off on the road, gently wave them in. You never know what kind of day they are having.
  12. Give someone a compliment.
  13. Write a “thinking of you” card to a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while. Send it in the mail. (Yes, the snail mail.)
  14. Keep a can of soup at your desk and offer it to the next coworker who says they had to work through lunch.
  15. Next time you hear gossip, change the course of the conversation toward praise and gratitude about the person or situation.
  16. Donate a bag of stuff that you no longer use.
  17. Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
  18. Next time you notice a coworker stressed out or overwhelmed, find out their favorite treat and pick up that smoothie, latte, or cookie for them during the mid-afternoon slump.
  19. Invite a lonely friend to a holiday meal or party. Make an effort to introduce them around.
  20. Bring in snacks or treats for your coworkers for no reason at all.
  21. Buy lemonade at the next lemonade stand you pass. Commend the kids on a job well done. For bonus points, buy two and tell them to gift the next lemonade to the next person who walks by.
  22. Leave a server an extra big tip if you notice they are having a rough day.
  23. Pay a toll for the car behind you at the tollbooth or pay the bus fare for someone standing behind you.
  24. Smile at passersby. (Yes, displaying kindness can be that easy.)
  25. Offer to run an errand for a sick or injured friend.
  26. Offer to babysit for a friend who needs to go to a yoga class.
  27. Give your leftovers to a homeless person. Don’t forget to get plastic utensils and a napkin.
  28. Offer to help someone with their luggage at the airport.
  29. Hold the door open for a mom with her stroller.
  30. Offer your seat to someone on the train, bus, or subway.
  31. Facebook message a friend from the past and thank them for something they did years ago.
  32. Write a thank you note to your boss or coworker, explaining how they helped you. Include specific details.
  33. Pick up trash on the street or at the park.
  34. Next time you order something from a counter, ask the cashier how their day is going.
  35. Offer to help an elderly person cross the street or load groceries into their car.
  36. Buy a lottery ticket and give it to a stranger.
  37. Buy your spouse’s favorite ice cream next time you’re at the store. (Even if it’s not your choice!)
  38. Donate your hair to cancer patients. (You need to have a certain amount of hair to donate. Check out Locks of Love for details.)
  39. Offer to take out a friend for tea, lunch, or dinner for no reason at all.
  40. Mentor a junior employee at work; offer to help them with their resume. 
  41. Forgive someone for something they did.
  42. Offer to jump-start someone’s car or call for help if you see them stuck on the side of the road.
  43. Offer your expertise to a friend or someone who needs it. (Do you play the guitar? Offer a lesson. Are you a personal trainer? Give someone a free session. Are you good at algebra? Tutor your friend’s kid. Do you make websites? Create one for a local nonprofit.)
  44. Turn off your lights when you’re not using them, to use less energy and conserve environmental resources.
  45. Write a heartwarming comment on a friend’s Facebook wall.
  46. Share a friend’s Facebook event or charity page, to drum up awareness for their important endeavor.
  47. Offer to schedule time with a new coworker to answer any questions they may have about the inner-workings of the company.
  48. Invite a friend over for dinner and cook something special for them. For bonus points, send them home with leftovers for lunch or dinner for their spouse.
  49. Offer to cook dinner for new parents while they are caring for their newborn.
  50. Give your partner a massage without expecting one in return.
  51. Bring breakfast for your favorite barista out of the blue.
  52. Make eye contact. We need more connection in the world, so lift your attention from your smart phone and look at everyone you see, offering a smile and acknowledging their presence.
  53. Say “thank you.” This should go without saying, but anytime someone does something nice for you, say “thank you” warmly and genuinely, not fleetingly.
  54. Give someone a hug that looks like they need it. (If it’s a stranger, ask first to avoid coming across as a creep.)
  55. Leave a small gift (chocolate bar, book, or flowers) in a public place for someone to find and enjoy.
  56. Listen. When someone needs to talk, listen with your full attention, without chiming in or offering advice.
  57. Organize a clothing swap with your friends. Each of you brings a box of clothes and takes home a few gems. Donate everything else to a charity.
  58. Write a note to a teacher, expressing gratitude for something specific they’ve done for you and how much it meant to you.
  59. At your next social event, find someone who looks lonely or out of place and strike up a conversation.
  60. Hide a note and your spouse’s favorite snack in their car, bag, or desk.
  61. Next time you hear a friend say they want to see a movie or read a book, buy the book or movie tickets as a surprise for them.
  62. Organize a craft night with your friends. Vow to gift the final product to a random person or donate the whole lot to a charity in need.
  63. Buy a deck of inspirational cards and leave them for people at random: on windshields, at desks, on doorsteps.
  64. Buy an extra cup of coffee or warm breakfast and offer it to the homeless person standing outside the door.
  65. Nominate someone for an award who deserves it (like a “best boss” or “employee of the year” award).
  66. Introduce a job-hunting friend to a new connection (or 10).
  67. Offer to pet-sit for a friend who needs help. Give the pet lots of love while their owner is out of town.
  68. Volunteer at an orphanage or women’s shelter.
  69. Bake cookies and bring the whole batch to your favorite restaurant or small business for the employees to enjoy.
  70. Make your spouse’s favorite dinner, even if it’s not your favorite. And even if it’s not their birthday.
  71. Say “good morning” to anyone who crosses your path.
  72. Publicly praise a coworker for going above and beyond.
  73. Send a care package to a friend in another state for no reason.
  74. Bring flowers to your neighbor, friend, or mom.
  75. Stop to let a pedestrian cross the street.
  76. Offer to take a photo for a someone trying to get the perfect selfie.
  77. Offer directions to someone who looks lost, or if you have time, offer to walk them to their destination.
  78. Carry $5 Starbucks gift cards and offer them to people in the street who look hungry.
  79. Next time you spot a coupon for your favorite store, print out several to offer to people in line behind you.
  80. Offer to run an errand for a friend who is particularly busy or stressed.
  81. Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t particularly like. Look for something good in his or her character during the conversation.
  82. Buy a box of thank you notes and leave it for your team at work or your family at home. Tell everyone to use them whenever someone does something they appreciate.
  83. Treat a friend to a yoga class or invite someone to be your guest at your gym.
  84. Washing your car? Offer to wash your neighbor’s car, too.
  85. Introduce two of your single friends if you think they’d be a good match.
  86. Give your old warm coat or an extra blanket to someone who is homeless.
  87. Do the dishes for your spouse, even though you also cooked the meal.
  88. Bake a cake or treats for someone celebrating a birthday (find out their favorite!)
  89. Leave nice comments on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (even to strangers.)
  90. Keep gum or mints in your pocket or purse and offer them freely.
  91. Give someone a ride who needs it.
  92. Offer the gardener, plumber, or handyman a cup of coffee or tea.
  93. Gently distract the grumpy kids sitting next to you on the plane. Offer to read them a book or tell them a funny story so their parents can have a short break.
  94. Offer to donate your vacation time or sick days to a coworker struggling with a long-term illness or taking care of a sick parent or kid.
  95. Write a positive Yelp review of a business you like.
  96. Promote a friend’s small business or website: If they are a life coach, personal trainer, personal chef, caterer, nanny, wedding planner, or run any type of blog, it means the world to them that you have their back and are telling others about their services—via email or social media. It is HUGE for them and small for you.
  97. Organize a small donation for a coworker or friend going through a divorce, illness, or difficult time. Ask 10 people to donate $5 to $10 and buy them a massage, package of yoga classes, gift basket, or gift certificate to Whole Foods to brighten their day with gifts that promote wellness.
  98. Offer to help someone move. Or, if you see people moving and you happen to have a free 20 minutes, offer to make a few trips to the truck for them.
  99. Text a joke or photo to a friend who’s going through a tough time to make them smile.

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About the Author

Melissa Eisler

Professional Coach and Certified Yoga and Meditation Instructor
Melissa is the Senior Content Strategist at the Chopra Center. Also a professional coach and yoga and meditation instructor, she is passionate about motivating people to live a healthy, balanced, and purposeful life. You can learn more about Melissa’s professional coaching practice at MelissaEisler.com . Melissa is also the author of The Type A's Guide to Mindfulness: Meditation for Busy Minds and Busy People , a practical guide for new meditators in the modern world, and the creator of mindfulminutes.com , a personal blog about...Read more