kindness creates connection_greeting cards

Kindness Creates Connection

In the United States, today is Send a Card to a Friend Day.  I promise, I am not getting kickbacks from the greeting card industry.  I just love when the perfect opportunity for kindness arises.  And today is all about reaching out to the people in your life.  Even a small act of kindness, like dropping a card in the mail, creates connection that can make a big impact.

Small Act–Big Impact

Loneliness and social isolation are serious problems, and the pandemic did not do anything to help.  A Harvard report published in 2021 suggested, “36% of all Americans—including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers with young children—feel “serious loneliness.”” And America isn’t the only country suffering.  According to the World Health Organization, “Social isolation and loneliness are increasingly being recognised as a priority public health problem.”

Taking time to connect with the people in your life fights loneliness: even small gestures, like a note left on a colleague’s desk.  We all need to be seen.   

Social isolation and loneliness among older people are widespread. In some countries, up to 1 in 3 older people are lonely.

World Health Organization

Making the Connection

Let’s make today’s act of kindness easy.  Because, as we all know, some days any extra task seems unsurmountable.  Here are some tips and ideas on how to create a connection in your life today.

1. Make It Physical

Although a text or DM is better than nothing, taking a few extra minutes to give something tangible will add to the impact of this act of kindness–for you and the receiver.  Tapping into the five senses can make for a more memorable experience.  A drawing of a bright, colorful rainbow will delight a 3-year-old, and a commendation on crisp, heavy professional paper will make a deep impression on an employee.  Having something to hold, save, and cherish affords the chance for this act of kindness to keep on giving.

2. Make It Fun

This act of kindness is for you too.  Consider how to connect in a way that makes you happy.  Perhaps it’s taking 15 minutes to browse for cards or stationery in your favorite local bookstore?  Love to play the guitar or piano?  Consider recording a song.  Maybe you’re crafty but lacking inspiration?  Check out this article for great do-it-yourself cards.

3. Make a Connection: at Work

  • a letter of encouragement to an intern in your office
  • a thank-you note to your mentor
  • a list of 5 things you appreciate about your partner
  • a gift card to the local coffee shop for the security guard

4. Make a Connection: at School

  • a sticky-note on your friend’s locker telling what you like best about them
  • a thank-you card for the cafeteria worker
  • an apple and a drawing for your favorite teacher
  • a homemade bookmark for the librarian

5. Make a Connection: at Home

  • a sticky note on your teenager’s bathroom mirror of 3 things that have made you proud
  • a scented love note for your sweetheart
  • a letter for your parent/grandparent/aunt/uncle expressing how they’ve helped shape your life
  • a magazine for your roommate with little notes on random pages for surprise reading

6. Make a Connection: Anywhere

In my post, The Strength of Weak Ties, I explain how the casual relationships in your life are important to your well-being as well: “These relaxed and low commitment relationships conjure feelings of familiarity and belonging that bring real happiness to our lives.” A small act of kindness will likely be even more appreciated, as it will be completely unexpected.

  • a thank-you note for the dog walker pinned to your dog’s leash
  • a note of appreciation and some toe warmers for the mail delivery person left in your mailbox
  • a family drawing for the babysitter
  • a ‘you are special’ card and balloon for the dry cleaner

Just Do It

I am guilty of it too.  I read articles like this one and think, “That’s a great idea.”  Then, I don’t do anything. But not this time.  We all need to be seen.  So, just do it.  Use kindness to make an impact today.

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