The Impact of Kindness

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The impact that kindness can have on others and the way they perceive the world is astounding: a simple hello in passing, a smile from across the room, a compliment that wasn’t expected but sorely needed.  Kindness is universal and spans across every language, culture, and religion worldwide. Whether kindness means lending a helping hand or sharing a laugh with a friend on a bad day, it matters.

In this photo series, I took two pictures of each of my friends who volunteered to let me photograph them. The first photo was supposed to be of a neutral face or a natural smile.  While I was snapping that first picture, I complimented each person—on their hair, their shirt, their smile, whatever—and photographed their reactions. In each of the second photos, their expressions change, and a smile often lights up their faces.  After the photos, I asked everyone about their thoughts on kindness and the impact it can have. 

Abby“Kindness can help to improve people’s moods and make their day better!  It can really make someone’s day, even if the kindness shown doesn’t mean very much to the person giving it.”


“I think that just saying hi to someone or saying that you hope they have a good day can have a big impact on people and that it can really make their day better.  Everyone on campus kind of keeps to themselves, so it makes a huge difference when someone makes an effort to be kind.”


“Kindness can pull someone out of a rut.  When someone is being nice to you or just letting you talk about a problem or vent to them, it can really have a profound impact on that person’s day. I also think it’s important to try and compliment a person’s characteristics or traits rather than physical features because it shows that you really care about them.”


“I really feel like kindness can make a huge difference! Showing even the smallest amount of kindness can absolutely make someone’s day and can even potentially save someone’s life. So pretty much, in summary, kindness is everything.”


“I feel like kindness is really important because people have a facade during the day where they may look like everything is going well, but really they could be having a bad day.  Asking how someone is and actually meaning it and genuinely wanting to know the answer can totally make someone’s day.”


“Honestly, kindness can make anyone’s day a million times better and can give them confidence.  Kindness can also maybe help that person forget about their problems, even if it’s just for a little while, and give them a more positive outlook moving forward.”


“I think that it’s super easy to be kind, and that it’s really not hard to be a good person in general. I think that people should always be kind because it’s impossible to know what someone is going through, and the kindness you show them can really impact them in a good way.”


“I feel like, no matter what, you should be nice to everyone, and I think it’s really important to try and help those who are less fortunate than you.”


“Kindness can save a life.  If people feel like they don’t belong, someone showing them kindness can make their day and make them feel like they do belong.  Kindness allows people to find a home in a person, and it really opens doors in so many different ways.  I also think that kindness can be a healing tool for many people, that kindness is an important part of the healing process.”