7 Small Ways to Make Someone’s Day

You know the struggle: you get an exam back— the exam that you were super worried about— and come to find out you ACED it. You suddenly get the urge to call your mom and brag about how she raised the most brilliant child on this earth. You start thinking about who else you might want to tell: your two bffs, Dad, Grandma… everyone needs to know! Now that you're distracted, you realize you forgot to send your little sister that funny video from four nights ago that reminded you of when you used to get on each other’s nerves as little kids. And you remember you meant to make a post for your cousin’s birthday and felt awful you didn’t get around to it, so you should at least catch up with her and ask her how her new job has been going. But the thing is, now it’s at least one hour later, and that gap in between your classes you promised would be used to do a reading assignment? Gone with the wind.

Okay, you might be thinking, but why is that so bad? Relationships need to be prioritized too— and they do!— but there doesn’t ever need to be a choice between work or nurturing those relationships. I know, it’s hard to sit down and do an online quiz about proteins when you really want to vent to your best friend. And maybe that quiz isn’t actually due until tomorrow. But I promise, there is an easier way to balance relationships with school and not have to binge taking care of either priority, along with any other one you might have.

I’m aware that’s a bold statement. There are so many things to balance in life, especially as a college student and even more so as, dare I say, an ambitious one. If you’re anything like me, you probably assume it may be possible for some people to both reach their goals in school and maintain a social life, but you’re pretty sure the person saying so has a rare amount of energy and patience. But don’t feel bad! I, someone just like you, am here to give you actionable advice that proves it doesn’t have to cost a lot of precious time to maintain healthy relationships. Until you finish your to-do list, try these! And remember, anyone who truly cares about you will not mind waiting to get your full attention.

 

If you’re worried they might be down in the dumps, stressed out, or you just want to surprise them…

1. Tell them you are thinking of them today, even if you may not have the time to text them back after that. Bonus points if you take five minutes to call them and say the same thing (and yes, only if you leave a voicemail if they don’t answer!). This might sound awkward to do, especially if it’s your friend from school who you joke around with about never answering your phone, but I encourage you to swallow that pride just one time and see what it does for you. If you’re still worried, you can always tell them how silly it feels. Because after a sleepless night, just imagine hearing your best friend’s or a favorite family member’s voice expressing how much they care about you, acknowledging what you’re going through, and saying they’re thinking of you even though they can’t be there with you.

2. Send them a few dollars over Venmo, saying “Go treat yourself to a coffee before your test,” or even just “Good morning! I know you’ll have a better day today after you buy yourself some chocolate.” Of course, you could always deliver the chocolate yourself too.

3. Handwrite a quick thought down on a stickynote and put it where you know they’ll see it— this works especially well with those you live with. I’m just saying, imagine how much it would mean to your dad if you hung a note for him to see before he leaves for work saying how much you appreciated him taking you out to dinner last night!

 

If you haven’t talked to them in a while, no matter how long…

4. You probably saw/heard something that made you think of them and realize it had been a while. Instead of pushing the idea out of your mind and convincing yourself they don’t care if they hear from you, be brave and send them that thing. Whether in a text, DM of a post on Instagram, a Snapchat, or a link to a video or website. Don’t just tell them you miss them or are sorry you have lost contact but let them know that you cherish the memory you have with them. It only takes a minute.

5. If you want to see them again, propose an exact time/thing to do with them, and why you want to do it. This not only shows that you’re thinking of them, but that you’re not passively hoping you’ll get to reconnect one day. Plus, it takes all the pressure off of the two of you to catch up in a timely manner digitally. You now have a specific time and place to do so.

 

If you want to make anyone feel noticed or make a new friend…

6. Compliment them! Whether well thought out or not, pointing out how someone has grabbed your attention is sure to make their day. So no need to be scared and hesitate, or feel awkward! This can be done in so many ways: telling your grandma that her pie is honestly the best you’ve ever tasted, telling someone next to you in class you love their T-shirt, commenting on someone’s social media post that you admire whatever cause they’re supporting— the possibilities are endless!

7. If you want to go just a little further and have a small conversation, ask someone about what has grabbed your attention. Using the examples above, ask your grandma if there’s a time that works for her when you could come over and learn how to make that awesome pie. Ask the person sitting next to you where they got their T-shirt or tell them you also went to the Jonas Brothers revival concert over the summer and it fulfilled all of your childhood dreams. DM the person on social media asking them how they got involved with their organization and how you could potentially start volunteering there too.

A lot of these things may feel like a risk to take, but I encourage you to take a leap of faith and do them anyway. Worst case scenario? You don’t hear back from that old friend you reached out to, you don’t make a new friend, or maybe your sister doesn’t respond to the funny video you sent her. But that doesn’t matter. The right relationships will be easy to maintain and will not cost you your focus on what is important to you other than them. (And to my little sister, I know she appreciates it anyway even when she doesn’t answer ;) ) 

 

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