12 things kind people do every day (without realizing it)

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

These words by acclaimed author Maya Angelou show that kindness is one of the best ways to connect with other people.

The thing is, even the smallest act of kindness can change a life. 

Study after study has shown that being kind has a profound effect on happiness and health — for both the doer and the receiver. 

And the best part? Everyday kindness costs nothing. It doesn’t require much of your time and energy, yet it allows you to make a big difference.  

Here are some of the simple yet meaningful things that kind people do every day. 

Let’s jump in!

1) Smile more often

Here’s the deal: Kind people never underestimate the effect that a smile can have on those who appreciate it and need it most.

That’s because smiling is not only one of the easiest ways to be kind, but it’s also one of the most contagious.

Consider this: What do you do when someone smiles at you? That’s right, you return the smile.

In other words: You brighten someone else’s day

And it doesn’t stop there: This simple act benefits you in many wonderful ways — from an improved mood to a longer life, to better relationships.

So even if you’re feeling irritable, crack a grin. You’ll be surprised at how many smiles you get back. 

2) Practice gratitude

Let’s face it: It’s easy to take things for granted when we live in a modern world that values instant gratification. 

Plus, it’s not always that easy to be grateful in challenging times.

If there’s one thing I admire most about kind people, it’s this: No matter what happens, gratitude keeps them grounded.

Being grateful focuses their attention on what’s already good in their lives, instead of constantly searching for something better. 

They’ll always express their appreciation for what other people do for them — no matter how big or small.

They know that saying thank you is one of the best things they can do for themselves, their well-being, and their relationships

3) Greet others 

Are you the type of person who will walk up to a stranger, make eye contact, smile, and just say hello?

If so, then you’re among kind people who go out of their way to make other people feel seen and recognized.

Here’s the thing: Kind people see every encounter with another person as an opportunity to engage and uplift. 

They know that everyone wants to feel accepted and acknowledged.

Even if they’re just saying “Hi,” they’re creating a genuine connection with others. 

They believe that greeting others with a positive attitude can be a boost that anyone needs to make their day better.

4) Forgive (and ask for forgiveness)

More often than not, we think that forgiveness is something we do for the sake of someone else. Sure, it has obvious benefits for the person on the receiving end.

But that’s not the whole story. Many studies have shown that forgiveness is much more about self-care, as it helps a person heal physically and emotionally. 

And for kind people, forgiveness is a great gift they give themselves. Whether it’s related to something big or small, they don’t carry around a grudge or hold onto an old hurt.

They know that it’s not about condoning or excusing, but about letting go and giving yourself the power to move forward.

And it’s the same the other way around: When kind people say sorry, they mean what they are saying.

They rebuild trust with the person they’ve hurt by making sure that their actions match their words. 

5) Compliment others

Kind people are generous with sincere, meaningful, and heartfelt compliments.

And they compliment anyone they encounter — they tell their partner how proud they are of them; they send a note of congratulations to a colleague who does a great job on a project; and they compliment a stranger who’s wearing a nice outfit.

They know that the power of a compliment lies in conveying the messages “I value you,” and “I care about you.”

Paying someone a compliment is one of the simplest ways to show appreciation, respect, admiration, and gratitude.

That’s why kind people do it every single day. 

6) Listen with undivided attention

How much of a good listener are you?

Think about that for a minute. 

We all know that great listeners are hard to find. But for kind people, listening is something that comes naturally to them. 

They know that listening is so much more than hearing. It takes a great deal of concentration to be truly present, listen with your heart, and understand what the other person is saying.

Kind people listen more deeply because they genuinely care about the person speaking. They pay attention not just to the words but also to the speaker’s tone of voice and body language. 

More importantly, they listen with empathy, warmth, and an open mind

7) Treat others with respect

Have you ever noticed how kind people will always be the first to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, valued, and respected? 

What’s more amazing is that kind people will always stand up for those who are being treated unfairly.

That’s because they accept and respect people for who they are. 

No matter how difficult the situation is, they speak gently and politely. They can express their displeasure while still being warm.

They treat all people as equals and view them with dignity — from the janitor to the taxi drivers, the CEO, a celebrity, or a politician.

8) Spend time with the elderly

If there’s one person we’d turn to for wisdom and life lessons, it’s our grandparents. They’re an ultimate source of tried and tested experience.

Our elders are a unique and extraordinary generation that has gone through so much. Sadly, they are often overlooked and underestimated by many of us.

But not by kind people. For them, the elderly should be given enough opportunities to share their experiences. That’s why they make time to listen to the stories of the elderly.

Not only do they befriend an elderly person but they also go the extra mile to support an elder in need. 

9) Stay connected

Kind people have a knack for making a personal connection with people that we might normally tend to pass by and take for granted.

That someone can be a barista at the coffee shop, a checkout clerk, or the cleaning or moving crew. This goes back to our points about giving compliments or simply just saying hello to them.

Kind people do these seemingly small things a lot because they know it makes all the difference.

Plus, they don’t have to go far. Kind people always check in and keep in touch with family, friends, and former coworkers. 

They do this by calling, sending an uplifting email or text, or even sending care packages to let the people in their lives know that they are thinking of them.  

10) Pay it forward

You may be wondering: What’s the most selfless thing a kind person can ever do?

It’s to help without expecting anything in return. And it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. 

The best acts of kindness are the random ones that happen every day. Kind people pay it forward by:

  • Helping out at home without being asked
  • Sharing an umbrella
  • Buying a meal for the homeless
  • Helping someone cross the road
  • Reaching out to anyone having a bad day
  • Helping someone carry their groceries
  • Letting others go ahead of them
  • Paying for someone’s cup of coffee
  • Holding the door open for a stranger
  • Offer someone a ride

And the list goes on….

11) Donate and volunteer

“Sharing is caring” is a basic tenet that kind people live by. That’s why you’ll always find them giving back to the community or helping further a cause they believe in.

They donate their money to a charity or organization they care about. They also donate books to the nearest school or donate toys and clothes that can bring joy to a child.

Kind people also find time to volunteer not just during Christmas or special occasions but all year round. 

You’ll find them helping out a neighbor, feeding a stray, serving at a feeding program, mentoring someone — all kinds of acts big and small that will help make the community a better place for everyone. 

12) Be kind to themselves

Kind people take responsibility for their self-care and do things that make them happy.

Yes, they can be very generous and altruistic, but they don’t forget to love themselves as much as they care about others.

This means they treat themselves with the same compassion, understanding, and respect that they would extend to other people.

When things get tough, kind people don’t beat themselves up for things they can’t control. 

They gently talk to themselves and tap into their inner champion to break those negative thought patterns.

Even in difficult times, they still choose to be kind. They know that the most effective way to spread kindness is by helping themselves first. 

Maria Fatima Reyes

Fat Niebres is a freelance writer who loves to chase stories that matter. She finds meaning and inspiration in the mundane. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, eating, traveling, or having deep conversations with her husband. She brings her experience in broadcast, print, and NGO communications, and has been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Inquirer.net.

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