There is no better feeling than when you make someone smile. It’s easy to do, but people shy away from doing it because making someone else feel happy can sometimes make you feel awkward or vulnerable.
You’re walking down a sidewalk, and you are about to pass by a man who looks like he’s had a bad day. His eyes are pointed downward, his hands in his pockets. Maybe he’s dealing with something terrible at home. Maybe he was in a relationship that just ended. Maybe he’s questioning his life choices. You notice that the jacket he’s wearing perfectly complements him, or it’s a really cool style or colour. “Hey man, that jacket looks really nice on you”. Smile at him. It only took you a few seconds to say it, and you might have made a big difference in his day. He’ll walk a little straighter for the rest of the day, because of the compliment of a stranger.
You’re in line at Starbucks and there’s a girl standing behind you, waiting to order. She’s looking very despondent as she stares through the glass at the available sweets. You notice her shirt: it’s a great style and it complements her in a really nice way. Smile and say, “That shirt looks nice on you”, before ordering your coffee. For the rest of the day, she’ll walk more confidently and feel really great about herself and how she looks in her shirt.
Normally, you might walk by these two people without a thought. You might recognize how nice they look but you wouldn’t dare tell them. Why? Why not try to make someone smile? Why not let a little honesty slip out about a stranger if it gives them a reason to smile? How many times have we whispered to a friend, “I love her shoes/style/hair/glasses!” making sure they don’t hear that you’re talking about them? Our lives are made up of a series of experiences, most of which involve other people. The unnecessary kindness of a stranger, a compliment given without obligation, a simple smile… it can make someone’s day. Try it.
Just as it can be great to make strangers feel awesome, it’s even better to make friends feel good. I think a lot of us get comfortable with our friends and we might feel like there are things that no longer need to be said. Telling a friend, “I appreciate you.” can go a long way and create a stronger bond. “I’m glad I met you”, “I love having you in my life”, and “You’re beautiful, inside and out” are all examples of things you can say to the people in your life that will lift their spirits and let them know you value them.
I’ve noticed a startling lack of people telling other people how they feel when it’s something that will spread happiness. I’m absolutely confused as to why people hold back in this area. Is it some deep-seated fear that we’ll be rejected? Is it that, as a society, we’re so detached from one another that smiling at another person is considered “creepy” rather than a nice gesture? Maybe I’m the crazy one for thinking it’s a good idea to help raise the confidence of other people in this way. Most of us struggle with problems surrounding our self esteem and I would love to be part of a society where we help build each other up.
Be genuine. If you notice something positive about another person, tell them! You just might make someone smile, make their entire day, and make yourself part of a happy memory in their life.