Sometimes all we need is an excuse to do the things we really want to do. Random Acts of Kindness Week is the perfect time to go out of your way to be nice to strangers. Use this as an opportunity to meet people in your neighborhood in a unique way. Plus, you’ll feel happier and you’ll live longer. I love everything about this week.
When is Random Acts of Kindness Week?
Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 12 through Saturday, February 18, 2017. If you can only pick one day, make it Friday, February 17, 2017 as this is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.
Ways to Be Kind and Meet People In Your Neighborhood
Pick and choose whatever feels most natural to you. There’s no need to push it. This is about being kind, not about making something Pinterest-worthy. Decide whether you want to tell people it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week. This can help take the pressure off sometimes, but it can also feel awkward to say you’re being nice for a particular reason. Do what works for you.
Bring Food to Your Neighbors
As with all acts of kindness, you don’t need to make anything elaborate. Your mom was right that it’s the thought that counts. Take over a plate of cookies or, if you’re feeling particularly inspired, make it a meal. Purchased items will be appreciated just as much as something you make from scratch.
Leave a Friendly Note
If you live in an apartment complex, you can hit many mailboxes at once. Otherwise, it’s time to go for a neighborhood stroll. Stick a note in each mailbox that says “You Look Fabulous” or “Sending Happy Thoughts Your Way”. You can print out some smiling emojis. Write your name or keep it anonymous. Do whatever feels comfortable.
Deliver the Newspaper to the Front Door
The days of Nintendo’s Paperboy are over. The newspaper never hits the front door and lands on the front step like it did in the good ole days. Save your neighbors the embarrassment of walking to the end of the driveway in PJs. If you happen to see a neighbor, wave and smile. If you start a conversation, keep it short and sweet. They probably haven’t had their coffee yet.
Hand Out Valentine’s Day Cards to Strangers
I did this with my kids last year and it was my favorite activity that we did all week. We went to Panera with candy heart boxes and Valentine’s Day cards. Then, my kids walked from table to table handing out Valentines. They gave them to older couples, groups of teenage boys, and little kids. Young kids, so used to getting treats from school, smiled. Everyone else at Panera seemed especially surprised and touched. I highly recommend this one.
Everyone appreciates a compliment. When you say something nice to someone, try to make it specific and avoid complimenting physical attributes. Instead of saying, “Your eyes are beautiful” or “You look gorgeous today” try saying “That’s a great necklace.” Compliment someone on an article of clothing or a project she’s working on. You will brighten someone’s day with your kind words.
Shovel Your Neighbor’s Sidewalk
We know how tough it is to shovel out the sidewalk or driveway. Imagine being older or in poor health and how much harder it would be. If you know someone in your neighborhood who could use an extra hand on a snowy day, help that person out. Your efforts will be appreciated more than you know.
If You Have a Special Talent, Share It
Maybe your talent is music or art or reading or fixing things. You can offer to share your talent at a nursing home or a local hospital. You could post a flyer in the community center offering free lessons or free repairs for one week only. If you love making origami, leave some small projects for neighbors with a note.
Start Up a Clothing or Food Drive
Find a cause that you believe in and see what is on the organization’s Wish List. Start up a drive for the charitable organization and let your neighbors know about it. Offer to pick up clothing, food, pet toys, etc. at their homes or you can leave a collection box outside your front door.
Set Up an Adult Version of a Lemonade Stand
Setting up a lemonade stand with kids is a great way to meet people in the neighborhood. If you don’t have kids or it’s the middle of winter, you need to be creative. You can set up a bake sale in the apartment lobby or get a community space to host a lemonade stand with adult beverages. Have all proceeds go to charity so you help others and meet some new people at the same time.
Invite Neighbors Over for Coffee
One of the best ways to make friends is to invite people into your home. Schedule an open house where people can drop in for a cup of coffee and a meet and greet. You can always do this as a housewarming party for yourself, but Random Acts of Kindness Week helps set the stage for unique ice breakers. Set up a table where guests can give local recommendations for restaurants or baby-sitters or weekend getaways. Offer to email the list to anyone who wants the suggestions. This way you can thank everyone after the party.
Create a Random Acts of Kindness Schedule
There’s no shortage of ways to be kind. You could smile at a stranger or hold the door for someone. For Random Acts of Kindness Week, I like to create a schedule with my family. It gives us something to look forward to and we make sure to get everything accomplished that we set out to do for the week. I can’t wait to get started this year.
Let’s Connect Through Kindness
I’ll be posting my Random Acts of Kindness on social media. I hope you’ll join me and millions of others on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter in sharing kind acts. #RAKWeek2017. Together, we can help make the world a kinder and happier place.