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21 Random Acts of Kindness That Anyone Can Do

Updated on September 8, 2017
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Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.

Here's a list of 21 random acts of kindness that almost anyone can commit. Only a handful of the suggestions actually involve money. The majority of the items on this list doesn't cost anything! So what's holding you back? You can get started on making your life, and the life of those around you, better through simple acts of kindness.

What is a Random Act of Kindness?

The phrase 'random acts of kindness' gets bandied around in the media a lot these days. Sometimes committing random acts of kindness also leads to another growing phenomenon called 'paying it forward.' It goes like this: Someone commits a random act of kindness, and the recipient of the good deed is then inspired to do a good deed for someone else. Then, that person does something kind for another person, and on and on it goes!

21 Random Acts of Kindness

How would you like to be the person who starts a long chain of random acts of kindness? Here are 21 different ways to commit one random act of kindness each day for three weeks.

1. Start off with the most basic acts of kindness. Be courteous. Hold doors open for people. Say 'please' and 'thank you,' a lot. There is no way that you'll be able to get through 21 days of random acts of kindness if you aren't committed to treating everyone you meet with common courtesy.

2. Call or visit an elderly relative, neighbor or friend. Seniors and older people with disabilities are often susceptible to loneliness and isolation. Mobility challenges, accessibility barriers and living on a fixed income can make it difficult for some folks to have the kind of active social life that many of us take for granted.

3. Do some drop-in volunteering. Many charitable organizations that provide direct service to humans and animals alike need volunteers throughout the day to do anything from cuddle with lonely cats at the animal shelter to sorting and packing food at the food bank. If you do some drop in volunteering, call ahead and find out what their volunteer screening process and what sort of references you might need.

4. Give your favorite charity a positive social media shout-out. There are other ways to support a charity besides giving money. If you have already made a financial contribution to your favorite charity, you could write a blog post, a tweet, or a Facebook status update telling everyone which charity you give to and why the organization means something to you. Go to the organization's Facebook page and thank them for all the work they do to make the world a better place. In the same way that businesses like to have positive reviews and accolades from customers, so too do charities and non-profit organizations.

5. Give blood. Do you enjoy good health? Then pass it on to someone in need. If you are eligible to donate blood at your local blood donor clinic, consider doing so one of the best random acts of kindness you can do for someone in need. Your gift is completely anonymous and it can safe someone's life. If you or a loved one had a serious accident and needed a blood transfusion, imagine ho

6. Pick up garbage in your neighborhood. Random acts of kindness don't always have to be directed towards a person or individual. Sometimes just doing something simple like picking up trash on your daily stroll can make a difference in the community.

7. Mail a handwritten postcard to someone. I love receiving 'real' mail--- postcards, handwritten letters, and cards--anything with a real stamp on it, written by a real human being. It doesn't take much time at all to send a pretty postcard to someone you know, even someone that you see almost every day.

8. Applaud good service. Take the time to fill in a survey form and give a hardworking employee credit for exceptional service.

9. Be patient with someone who is getting on your nerves. Sometimes the nicest thing you can do for someone is to be patient and forgiving when they are annoying you. You never know why a person might be behaving in a certain way but it's likely that they are not deliberately trying to irritate you.

10. Be on time. Being late to meet a friend or go to an appointment has a ripple effect, and not a positive one. When you're late, not only are you saying your time is more valuable than the other person's time, you are impacting a whole chain of events that could be delayed because you were late.

How many people will be impacted by your tardiness?
How many people will be impacted by your tardiness?

Reminder: Random acts of kindness are about the beneficiary and not about you. Always give recipients space if they choose to decline your charitable offer of help. No one should ever feel pressured to accept a gift or act of service that they do not want. Also, do not commit random acts of kindness that will violate a persons personal space. For example, instead of taking someone's arm and escorting them across the street, ask the person what s/he would like in order to feel safe crossing the street. Never assume you know what is best for someone else, and with the exception of emergency situations, never initiate physical contact withs someone without their permission.

11. Let someone in line in front of you. If you're not in a hurry, let someone who has fewer items than you go ahead of you at the supermarket check out.

12. Be aware of what's going on around you. Put your devices down when you are walking around. look up and notice the people around you. Smile, move aside politely down narrow hallways and aisles. Hold doors open for people. Pay attention to what is going on around you so that you can be fully present and in the moment.

13. Be a generous tipper. Give a little bit of an extra tip hotel and hospitality workers serving you on a bank holiday.

14. Donate a bunch of brand new socks to a homeless shelter. A clean pair of fresh socks may not seem like a big deal to you, but if you were standing on your feet all day out in the cold, clean, comfortable socks you'd realize how precious this small gift really is. Giving a generous supply of new socks to a homeless shelter is an easy random act of kindness to commit. Socks are easy to find, relatively inexpensive to buy compared to other items, and are very easy to deliver to a shelter.

15. Be kind to the environment. Random acts of kindness don't always have to involve someone on the direct receiving end of your good deed. Sometimes being kind to others means thinking of the future and the world that you want to leave behind for generations to come. Being nice the Mother Earth is an example of that kind of long-term giving to others. Your random act of kindness for the day could be to adapt a new eco-friendly habit such as switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products and using fewer harsh chemicals around your home.

16. Surprise someone you love with a special treat. Pick up your partner's favorite chocolate treat while you're at the grocery store.

17. Let someone in front of you in a slow-moving traffic line-up. Everyone else has somewhere important to go too. Will you really be that much further behind if you let one person merge in front of you? You never know where other people are going. Someone could be trying to get to a loved one in the hospital. Or perhaps someone's just heard that a friend died and all they want to do is get home. You never know what other people's stories are. Err on the side of being generous and let the little things go.

18. Say 'Hi'. Send a funny text to your spouse in the middle of the day. You can also send "Thinking about you" texts to your friends and family members too, just because.

No one has ever become poor by giving.

— Anne Frank
Even the tiniest random act of kindness can send big waves of positive energy through a person's life.
Even the tiniest random act of kindness can send big waves of positive energy through a person's life.

19. Tidy something up without being asked to. Is the lunch room a bit of a mess? Instead of complaining about the mess or demanding that the mess-makers clean it up, just do what needs to get done. Go in there and give it a quick once over before anyone catches you doing it. One of the things about being present-mind awareness is that you do what needs to get done, moment to moment.

20. Be sweet. Bake a batch of cookies for someone.

21. Be sincere. Give someone an honest compliment.

The key to happiness is kindness: being kind to others and being the recipient of kind acts. Invite more joy into your life by committing a random act of kindness every day for the next three weeks and see if your outlook on life doesn't improve by leaps and bounds!

What do you think holds people back from helping others in need?

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© 2015 Sadie Holloway

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  • Happymommy2520 profile image

    Amy 8 months ago from East Coast

    This is a beautiful hub. I loved the layout and the way you worked in the quote ad pics. Look like it should be in a magazine. I so agree with all of your points. Random acts of kindness make everybody happier!

  • Janellegems profile image

    Janellegems 15 months ago from United States

    Great Hub. These are all very thoughtful and unique random acts of kindness. I am definitely going to do some of these things. Thanks.