10 Ways to Make Someone Happier
Yesterday I went to the grocery store. I’m there all the time, so people there know us by name. Or, actually, they know my little one’s name since they hear me calling for her all the time, lol. I ran into a bunch of people I know (not staff members) and, being the extrovert that I am, I was in a great mood from all the chance encounters. The staff is usually super friendly too, but today I was with a cashier that wasn’t as nice with us or as gentle as I’d have liked with my produce. She was very polite, but not very personable/friendly. I don’t think she smiled or really looked at us. And, unfortunately, it made me a bit grumpy to have a less than positive interaction. And in turn, I noticed my patience suffering on the ride home from my little one’s chatter.
Another recent experience at a store was completely different. I went in search of something I needed for my son. I walked to the area of the store that I thought would have the item and sought out an employee. I found one talking with another customer, so I waited patiently. When it was my turn, I got the directions I needed with a smile. He even made small talk with my kids and made them smile. I walked out of the store a happy camper. His kindness had put me in a great mood.
I don’t think we often realize what an impact we have on those happen to meet while out running errands, at work, at school functions, a night on the town, etc. Sometimes it is enough to make their day terrible or simply wonderful.
So here are some of my thoughts on how we can help turn someone’s day around and make it, even a tiny bit, better:
You may feel silly walking around smiling, but sometimes just seeing someone else smiling can help bring a smile to your face too. And did you know that smiling can actually make you happy too? It’s true!
- Make eye contact
If you happen to catch someone’s eye, you can just hold it for a second. Acknowledge that they are a person and that they are there. Don’t be creepy about it. Smiling kindly at the same time can help take away the creepy factor.
- Think about what it might be like in their shoes
Sometimes when I come in contact with someone who is being difficult, I try to remember that no matter how perfect or imperfect they seem to have their act together, how well they are dressed, or what their reputation is, we all have bad days. It might help your attitude during the encounter and, in turn, help their day from getting worse. And for those times that it just doesn’t help my attitude, I aim to follow #4.
- Don’t judge
Nothing can turn your smile upside down faster than being told you are doing something wrong, especially with parenting. You don’t know their situation and they don’t know yours. Give them a break and keep negative comments (and looks) to yourself.
- Compliment their child (if they have one with them)
I know I always personally love it when other people think my kids are as great as I do, or even just remind me to like them during a tough moment. “What a cutie!” Or if you notice the child showing good manners, you can help to call it out. “Wow! What a gentleman. Thanks for letting me go first!” Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the moment that we don’t notice when our kids are actually being well behaved! Having someone else notice can help to cheer you up.
- Give a word of encouragement
“Have a great day,” “great work” or “that color is great on you!” Of course, walking up to a random person with “that color is great on you” may not be very well received if you don’t know them or they aren’t holding up the latest in summer fashion trying to determine which color to pick.
Sometimes you might notice someone else having a hard time with something. Help them know they aren’t alone or failing. For example, maybe they are struggling opening a beach chair. Something like “Oh, I always have a hard time with those!” A “wish I could help, but I always have to have my husband/wife/mom help me,” “good luck” or “here’s how I do it” might also be well received. My favorite comment when my kids are acting up is for another parent to say, “We just had that conversation at my house too!” It helps me feel like I’m not alone in the parenting struggle.
- Let them go first
If you can tell someone is in a rush or struggling, maybe you could let them go first. I know it made the world of difference for me when I had 3 cranky, screaming children and someone would be kind enough to let me go first through the check stand. I think it was for everyone else’s benefit for us to be gone, but it sure made me happy!
- Ask for advice
It always feels good when someone thinks you know more than they do. Whether it be for advice on a new product at a store or how they chose their car, feeling knowledgeable about something can give their ego and mood a boost.
- Be sincere
If you just don’t feel it, neither will the other person. Maybe it is your turn to be on the receiving side of a smile or compliment. We all have those days!
I know my experience at the store yesterday would have been greatly improved by a smile or a kind word to my daughter. Maybe the cashier was having a bad day. Next time I see her I’ll try to remember to give her a smile and thank her for her hard work. Who knows? It might turn her day around.
How many people would benefit from your smile or kind words? Why not try? It could make you happy too!