General Question

longgone's avatar

Can you help me come up with a bunch of small, but good deeds?

Asked by longgone (16642points) March 15th, 2017

I’m looking for a bunch of small things I can do to make others just a little bit happier. Today, I hid some coins in a schoolyard while out on a walk. Yesterday, I left a chocolate bar in someone’s letter box. That kind of thing.

Background: I’ve been depressed for a while, and I’ll need some help feeling happier in the next few weeks. I’m going to try out therapy – but like a true geek, I researched the science of happiness. Helping people is very high on the list of things that make us feel good, so here I am.

Any ideas, my smart jellies?

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43 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Hold the door for a stranger.
Let the person behind you at the check out with less items go ahead.

canidmajor's avatar

Help someone with young children at the market (distract an upset toddler, help to load their car, that kind of thing).

chyna's avatar

I rent movies from RedBox. A few times I have put two dollars in the movie when returning it so the next person will get the movie free.

I have put money in meters that are expired.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Make a donation of any size to

40% of all transgendered individuals attempt suicide.

(I’m sorry I can’t link the site. I’m on a work computer, and my ability to access some sites in curtailed.)

janbb's avatar

Pay for the coffee of the person behind you on line. Give up your seat on the bus.

Is your dog a candidate for being a therapy dog? Could you train for that?

Coloma's avatar

Carry around dog treats for dogs you meet, or cat treats too. Toss out birdseed in parking lots for the sparrows.
Bake some cookies or make a pot of sup to share with neighbors. Make some silly little clay faces and stick them on peoples cars randomly.

Go to the Dollar store and buy a few colorful garden flower stakes or pinwheels and stick them around town in high visibility areas, on traffic islands, next t the road, in planter boxes around town.
Leave little, unopened cans of Playdoh around town, in offices, stores, etc. Buy some sidewalk chalk and draw pretty pictures on the sidewalks.

Pachy's avatar

Make conversation with a market cashier while he or she is ringing you up.

Talk to the person behind or in front if you while you’re waiting in a line.

Send an ecard or better yet mail a real card to someone to let them know you’re thinking about them.

Give another driver the right of way, even if you think it’s really yours. And let someone who’s trying to get into traffic slip in ahead of you.

Thank mailmen, policemen and soldiers for their service.

If you see someone buying food with stamps, pick up the tab.

And… give a few bucks (or water or food) to a homeless person or two, look him or her in the eye, and wish him “Good luck,” “God bless” or some such genuine sentiment.

ragingloli's avatar

Feed the wild pidgeys.

janbb's avatar

Go visit @ragingloli and give him a snuggle.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Leave books you’ve read on public transport for the next person who comes along.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
imrainmaker's avatar

Sign up as a volunteer in support groups and help others. Gardening is good for engaging yourself.

imrainmaker's avatar

I’m not sure about your age but helping elderly people always makes you feel better. If you’re gifted with any kind of art use it for bringing smile on others faces. It’ll automatically cheer you up.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m not sure if it will apply to you, but here’s my experience with happiness during my stay in Thailand because you want to dig deep into what makes people happy, you can at least learn something from it:

My teacher, who led the trip, told us before she left us in our devices that we need to give Thai people a good impression on my country. I think I have taken her words literally and this is what I have done: I greet everyone I meet in a sincere way. I bow to shopkeepers whenever I leave their stores. I say hi to random people in my dormitory when I meet them. I am friendly with my supervisor and the Thai students of the class I practice teaching in. I talk to my fellow apprentice of the team when I have chance even though I didn’t know them before. Each student in my internship team is assigned a Thai friend for help, so naturally people will just stick to the assigned friend. Not me though, I don’t care. I try to extend my relationship further from that with my friend, leaving my fellow apprentices surpirse with eye open wide and mouth repeating “That’s my buddy!”

What do I get? The shopkeepers in the canteen remember me and provide better services for me one even serves what I want before I ask. I get to know my supervisor more, apart from the team leader whose job is to contact her for information. I get encouragement from a student in the class for the teaching even though my teaching may range from fair to awful. I make more friends in my team and I am surprised to know that some of them know me and even admire me and I manage to debunk some bad myth about some people. And my support system is extended, I can ask for help from more people if my assigned friend is busy.

But most of all, the small friendly act makes me happy. Just the act of doing it brings joy to me. I think the key to my happiness is that I do my things sincerely and don’t ask for anything in return. And I don’t trap myself in a bubble of things I know. I reach out to people just for the sake of it. I guess what make people unhappy is that they don’t take enough time to connect with others which is what a roommate of mine is stuck in, and she comes out as being very cold and unapproachable. When you reach out to people without any “practical” intention, chances are they will return your favor.

Cruiser's avatar

I think leaving notes of inspiration, appreciation and just general warm fuzzies where people will find them will serve the purpose you seek. Put them in books at the library, magazines in a waiting room, place of worship. People have a lot going on in their lives we do not see on the surface and when they are in a place taking pause in this crazy world we live in, an anonymous note of purpose and hope IMO would flip a switch on people that find them. Inspire them to pay this gesture forward and maybe a link to a website that inspire you. This would have to make one feel good.

JLeslie's avatar

Help an older person with setting up Facebook, email, or messaging, so they can be in better touch with family.

Seek out a group or meetup that interests you. Just like here on fluther, your input will be appreciated. You will be a contributor and you can learn new things.

Pay it forward when you can. Recently, an acquaintance was looking for job leads in a city I have lived in, and I know someone who still lives there. I messaged her to see if she could help, and then relayed the info. It took me one minute to try and help, and I know it was appreciated. Keep your heart and mind open for those types of things.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I love your idea of scattering change on the school grounds. I got giggles picturing little ones when they find your treasure.

Write service members.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Pay the toll for the person behind you in line.

If you are in a long line of traffic; let the person in from the side road, in front of you.

Seek's avatar

Help a short person reach a thing in a high shelf.

JLeslie's avatar

What about bring homemade cookies to a neighbor, or fresh picked fruit. My neighbors brought me a basket of strawberries and a cantaloupe a couple of weeks ago. It’s strawberry season where I live. It can be fun to go pick the fruit, I haven’t done that in years. In your country you probably are just coming into the growing season though.

Maybe make a mini garden. Helping even plants live and grow can be satisfying. If the plant bears fruits, herbs, or vegetables even better. I’m trying to keep some cilantro alive. I haven’t quite figured out the amount of sun and water.

@Seek That’s a good one. I offer to do that all the time.

Also, you made me think of letting someone in front of you at the grocery, when they only have a couple of items, and my cart is full.

Strauss's avatar

A lot of good suggestions. I would add smile. Smile a lot. Smile when wou perform random acts of kindness.

Coloma's avatar

It’s no secret that I am a goose lover and used to carry around a huge plastic container in the trunk of my car full of cracked corn/chicken scratch to feed the local park ducks and geese. It was very rewarding to be mobbed when I pulled up to their pond in the park. They knew the sound of my car and all came running. Several became so tame they would sit on my lap. haha
I miss my old friends but they are now an hour away so don’t get over there anymore.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I hide nice things in Geocaches. It is so appreciated by the finders. And I get the pleasure of knowing someone will find them in the future.
It also gets me out of the house.

Zaku's avatar

Give people listening. Ask them about how they’re doing and be willing to listen and let them say whatever they want to say, and listen and acknowledge it without dumping your own stuff into it.

Donate books to a Little Free Library , or if there isn’t one in your neighborhood, add one.

Offer unwanted stuff using the Buy Nothing Project .

Danebiggs's avatar

I try to just practice empathy in everyday life situations.
I had a janitor job one time and I saw a homeless man sleeping on the floor in a Post Office I had to clean.
It was cold outside so rather than kick him out or call the police I just try to understand that I could be homeless if things hadn’t gone well so I just left him be. Another time someone threw up on the floor by a bank machine and rather than get angry at them that I have to clean it I just felt bad for the person that was sick and hoped the best for them.
I know these maybe aren’t “good deeds” per say, but just having a more compassionate attitude toward people in general goes a long way in my opinion.

Brian1946's avatar

Celebrate the end of Yarnageddon!

imrainmaker's avatar

Thanks @Zaku for sharing Buy Nothing Project link..Nice !!

dxs's avatar

Play cards with someone in the park or on the train.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Get a huge bag of tootsie rolls, go to your local DMV and hand them out to all the bummed people waiting their turn. That also works for bank lines on friday.

GregGSC7's avatar

If you use public transportation or find yourself in a situation where the number of seats doesn’t match the number of people, offer your seat up for them.

Browse pages and donate to support someone through a difficult time.

One of the things I like to do is randomly compliment someone, even if we’re not engaging in a conversation. You never know, maybe that was just the thing they needed that day.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Absolutely! ^^ I try to be complimentary myself. I have been on the receiving end also. The grayer my day, the more deeply appreciated the compliment.

funkdaddy's avatar

So you save and train animals, tutor children, help your family, look for opportunities to make others smile, and moderate awesome websites for free.

I would say you should be teaching masters classes in kindness.

You’re awesome and I hope you find what you’re looking for.

AshlynM's avatar

Let someone go ahead of you in line if you’re not in a hurry.

@Seek I always appreciate that.

ibstubro's avatar

I didn’t read most of the other answers – it was just too long, which is GOOD – so I’ll probably duplicate.

Load groceries for someone struggling, whether you know them or not.
Smile. Continuously, whether you FEEL it inside or not.
Compliment strangers. I often compliment guys on shoes I like – and it’s always good.
Offer shopping advice – usually positive. “Yes, that blouse looks GREAT for you!”
Pay for a small purchase in the grocery line. If all they have is a bottle of pop…

Noticing people is the nicest gift you can give. If you see emotion on someone’s mention it. Yesterday there was a car trying to back out in the Walmart parking lot. 3 times they got part way out, and had to pull back in. When I got parked, it was an old man, trying to pick his feeble wife up at the door. I said, “Man, you are NEVER going to get out of this parking lot!!” He brightened and said “Isn’t THAT the truth!” I shared his frustration, and it helped..
That same Walmart has exactly ONE good deli employee. I walk in one day and there she is stocking the pizza cooler. I look at her and say, “What the heck are you doing out HERE?” “This is what they told me to do.” One good employee that ENJOYS helping people, and THIS is where they put you.” “I know it.” “Guess it’s the Walmart Way!”

janbb's avatar

@ibstubro I agree with you. Just being friendly and aware and interacting pleasantly with strangers and employees as you go through your day, makes a big difference in the world. For me, it’s easier to do when I am in a good place in my self than when I am down, but it could work the other way too if you try it.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I have seen people struggling to leave a parking spot too. I have played traffic cop a couple of times to help somebody to freedom. Nobody gets angry, because the problem comes from not seeing until its too late. Another open spot makes everyone happy.

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longgone's avatar

Thanks! Great answers, like I expected. I’ve been going back to this thread whenever I needed inspiration, and I’m not out of ideas yet.

@janbb He’s still too bouncy to be a therapy dog, but that’s on the list of long-term goals.

@funkdaddy You’re way too nice. If I knew your address, I’d be dropping off cookies right about now.

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LuckyGuy's avatar

When you mow your lawn do your neighbor’s – if it’s small. You don’t want to go crazy. :-)

Patty_Melt's avatar

^^^ Yes!
I can’t mow my own lawn, and my daughter no longer helps around home. I have a neighbor who sometimes sends her brother over when he does hers.
You have no idea how much that means to me. My lawn is small, a ten minute shave for anyone capable. I have tried to do it from my scooter with my weed wacker though, and no way could I make any real progress.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Agreed! It is so quick and easy to do once your own mower is working. It is similar to snow blowing your neighbor’s driveway. Once you’re all dressed in the snowsuit, have the blower gassed up and running it is not a big deal to do another driveway.

On the other hand it is nice to have the said services acknowledged by the recipient. Cookies, a bottle of wine, a phone call, leftovers, etc. are all appreciated.

JLeslie's avatar

A neighbor has mowed my parents lawn for almost 40 years. My mom did it the first year we lived there, but not after that. First it was an older gentleman at the end of the block. He eventually moved, and then it was a different neighbor. Then it was the sons of that neighbor. When the kids started mowing it, my mom gave them some money.

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