We here at Inc. give tons of good suggestions about how to make yourself happier. We had "10 Easy Ways to Make Yourself Happy in 2016," "5 Secrets to a Balanced, Happy Life," and "5 Daily Habits of Remarkably Happy People," all within the past few weeks. These articles are all fabulous, but what if we want to make other people happy? How can we do that? Here are 10 ways to make others happy, and (spoiler alert) you'll find that doing them makes you happy as well.
1. Leave a review on TripAdvisor.
My husband and I just got back from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. These are poor countries that rely heavily on tourism. Every time we would do an activity and indicated that we'd had a good time, our hosts asked us to leave a review on TripAdvisor. Getting positive reviews can be the difference between life and death for a small business-especially one that caters to tourists. So, if you had a good time on a vacation or you love your local independent restaurant, log on and leave a positive review. You'll make someone's day.
2. Let a manager know when you get great customer service.
Most of the time, when a customer asks to speak with a manager, it's to complain. Switch it up, and when your grocery store cashier is efficient or you watch her handle a nightmare customer gracefully, tell her boss. This will actually make two peoples' days--the employee and the boss.
3. Do a despised task for someone else.
At home and the office, there are just things no one wants to do. It could be opening the mail, covering the receptionist's phone while she's on break, or filling and starting the dishwasher. None of these things are big deals, so just jump in and do one of them. Don't go up to everyone in the office and say, "Hey! I cleaned up the kitchen and started the dishwasher, you slobs!" Just go ahead and do it. With a smile.
4. Compliment a co-worker.
"Hey, Bob, great presentation!" "Sue, thanks for getting that report to me a day early. You're awesome!" "Raphael, I'm super impressed with your Excel skills." We often rely on managers to provide feedback. While it's not your job to tell co-workers when they stink, you can certainly make their day by telling them when they don't. And if Sue is normally late with her reports, when she does one early and you praise her for it, you're not only making her day, you're helping ensure she does the same again.
5. Compliment a stranger.
See someone knitting on the bus? Tell her it looks awesome. Let someone you see handling a cranky toddler know that you think they are doing a great job. Little comments like this can go a long way in making someone else happy. And it doesn't cost you a thing.
6. Thank your spouse.
A lot of us are pretty burned out by the end of the day. We deal with work and kids and sink pipes that choose to start leaking right before you need to leave for something critical. The result is that we often end up taking the person we are supposed to love and care for the most for granted. Say thanks to your spouse for whatever you're grateful for. Angry because he travels all the time? Thank him for working hard. Did your spouse make dinner tonight? Say "thanks for making dinner" even if it was spaghetti made with sauce from a jar. If you didn't do it yourself, you should thank the person who did. Who did your laundry? Mowed the lawn? Changed the last poopy diaper? Thank your spouse.
7. Give to someone who asks.
Frequently, cities tell you to donate to charities rather than giving to panhandlers. That's great advice, but listen to your inner voice. If you feel like you should give to this particular person, go ahead and do so. It will make someone who is genuinely in need very happy. You may get annoyed with the GoFundMe requests that come at you for everything. But if you can afford it, throw a few dollars at someone, even if you don't think their cause is as important as something else. It will make that person feel loved. (That said, don't feel guilty for not giving for Jane's 21st birthday bash! Jane needs a little bit less self-esteem if she thinks she's entitled to a party funded by friends.)
8. Say yes to a request for an informational interview.
You're busy, and it's true that many people ask for informational interviews as a sneaky way to get a job interview, so you probably turn down requests. Say yes. Spend 30 minutes with someone telling them about your business and how you got to where you are in your career. If they ask you to look at their résumé, go ahead and look and tell them three things they can change, or three areas they need to work on to prepare them for the next level.
9. Give someone a big tip.
Instead of going to an expensive restaurant for lunch, go someplace cheap and give the server a huge tip instead. A $10 tip on a $10 meal will make the server's day. If you have the money, you can give a huge tip in an expensive restaurant or after you get your hair cut.
10. Like or share someone's social-media post.
Lots of people have a lot of self-esteem built around their Instagram, Twitter, or other social-media account. Go ahead and like something that you wouldn't normally like. Or make a comment on a picture that isn't fabulous but offers you the opportunity to say something nice anyway. It takes less than a second to click Like, but seeing that can make someone very happy. If you're a social-media star with a lot of followers, retweet or share someone else's post that you found interesting. It will send that person over the moon.