Lately, I’ve even feeling like more of a taker than a giver in my relationship with the world. I try to be grateful every day, but lots of great things are happening for me – so much so that I’ve been finding less and less time to try and make things great for those around me. This is a tough thing for me to admit – I wear my ‘good egg’ badge with pride and I’ll fight the label of ‘selfish’ to the death – but the time has come where I have to swallow my pride down as far as I can and admit that I’ve been wrapped up in my own little bubble, and haven’t always noticed when someone else’s has popped.
Since I made this disappointing realization about myself, I’ve been trying to do little things to reverse this staggering overbalance in good karma. Yes, this is partly because of my self-serving need to feel better about myself, but also because stopping, thinking and just generally trying to be a little nicer is something we should all be striving for regardless of whether it makes us feel good as a bonus. After all, as we all know from Phoebe Buffay, there’s no such thing as a selfless good deed – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing them anyway.
1. Throw something that isn’t copper into a busker’s hat.
2. Give up your seat for someone on the train.
3. Write an old fashioned stamps-and-envelope letter to someone you love (it’s SO NICE to receive unexpected post that isn’t bills).
4. Buy a colleague their favourite snack and leave it on their desk.
5. Tell a manager about someone who has given you great customer service.
6. Call your mum (or dad, or any other person you love most in the world).
7. Make a Spotify playlist of songs that remind you of great times with someone and send it to them.
8. Write more than ‘Happy Birthday’ in a birthday card.
9. Offer to do the tea round, even if it’s not your turn.
10. Bring snacks to that meeting that everyone’s been dreading.
11. Subscribe a friend to a magazine you know they’ll like.
12. Plan a dinner with pals you haven’t seen in a while.
13. Buy cheap copies of a film or book you love and leave them somewhere public for other people to enjoy.
14. Pick up litter that wasn’t yours and put it in the bin anyway.
15. Compliment a stranger on their outfit (but only if you genuinely like it).
16. Plan a surprise party just because (it’s the only way it’ll ever really be a surprise).
17. Pay for the person behind you at Starbucks.
19. Put credit in a vending machine.
20. Be liberal with your Facebook likes and Instagram hearts.
21. Bring lunch from home for a week and donate the money you would have spent in the canteen.
22. Add calendar reminders for important events friends have told you about and remember to actually ask how they went.
23. Let the person with hardly any items go ahead of you in the queue.
25. Tell someone their make up looks good, especially if it seems like they’re wearing something different than usual.
26. Clean the house, even if you didn’t make the mess.
27. Leave that pile of old magazines at the doctor’s surgery.
28. Tweet the author of an article you read and let them know you liked it.
29. Buy fresh flowers for no reason.
30. Help someone carry something heavy.
31. Text and ask how someone is.
32. Answer your emails promptly but politely.
33. Leave a comment on a blog (people work really hard on them and mostly it’s like shouting into the void).
34. Sponsor the person in the office who is always running marathons for charity.
35. Take the leaflet from the person handing them out.
36. Leave plenty of hot water in the boiler for everyone else.
37. Instigate a work night out.
38. Buy a copy of the Big Issue.
39. Give the parent of the crying baby a smile instead of a withering look.
40. Say sorry if you’re wrong.
41. Let someone show you their holiday pictures.
42. Patiently teach someone something new.
43. Let your friends know about great sales/voucher codes you’ve spotted – everyone loves a bargain!
44. Clear out your cupboards and take anything non-perishable to the food bank.
45. Tell someone when their label is sticking out/their top is on back to front/they’ve got something on their face/there’s toilet paper on their shoe.
46. Give a lost tourist directions.
47. Take a picture for a group so everyone can be in it.
48. Do the filing/photocopy/other thankless task that no one wants to do.
49. Buy local.
50. Take pictures of things you think others would like and send them to them.
51. Actually leave feedback on eBay.
52. Similarly, give good reviews on TripAdvisor.
53. Compliment the chef.
54. Do laundry that isn’t yours.
55. Let someone know when they’ve done a good job.
56. Ask questions and listen (properly) to the answers.
57. Hold the lift door open for someone and don’t tut when they eventually get in.
58. Give the other person the bigger portion.
59. Fill a charity bag with clothes you never wear.
60. Look up from your phone once in a while.
61. Be honest – it might not seem nice at first but it’s always nicer than lying.
62. Smile more.
63. Remember everyone is fighting a battle you can’t always see.
64. Say thank you, always, and mean it.