Often it’s not big, grand gestures that show the people around us we care about them. It’s the small gestures that can really help strengthen our bonds — like putting our phones away when having dinner with someone, or asking a colleague a deeper question than “How are you?” to show that we sincerely want to know about their well-being.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us the small gestures that help them show others that they care. Which of these ideas will you try?
Celebrate other peoples’ wins
“The most significant small but powerful gesture that has become a habit is taking a mindful moment to celebrate others in any part of their lives. Just by acknowledging and celebrating for just a few moments with others, you are not just showing up for others, but for yourself too. You’re shifting your focus from what is lacking to what is possible.”
—Alejandra Rojas, finance professional and coach, Washington, D.C.
Give your undivided attention
“To show I care, I pay attention when other people talk. I ask two questions: ‘What are you currently excited about?’ and ‘What are you currently grappling with?’ I listen intently, and I focus on them. I don’t just wait for my turn to speak, and I don’t glance around the room while they’re talking.”
—Courtney Daniels, filmmaker, Sherman Oaks, CA
Call to check in
“I will reach out and follow up with my friends when I’m concerned about how they’re feeling, either with an email or text. I also let them know I’m there for them. I can’t understand every situation someone is facing, but I can offer support. And I offer to call them too, so they know a part of me is with them.”
—Kristin Meekhof, author, therapist and life coach, Royal Oak, MI
Send someone a story or article
“My favorite ritual is reading the Sunday New York Times, and I enjoy finding stories and book reviews that remind me of someone I care about. I’ll snap a photo of the article or grab the URL and text it to the person with a quick ‘thought of you’ message. It always brings a smile.”
—Donna Peters, former consulting partner and executive coach, Atlanta, GA
Cook for a friend
“I like to make food for others as an act of caring. This gives us time to share some time with each other and strengthen our friendship.”
—Cathy Connally, co-author Flavour with Benefits: France
Offer a sincere compliment
“We often get so caught up with ourselves that we fail to recognize the person sitting across from us. When meeting someone new, I take time to notice the minor visual details. By recognizing something like a haircut, a unique piece of jewelry, or expressions of someone’s personality, you can make them smile and set the stage to learn more. When it comes to my deeper connections, I tend to provide compliments about why I value them as friends, co-workers, or business partners.”
—James Petrossi, president of PTNL, Austin, TX
Carry “pass me along” cards
“To show others I care, I carry ‘pass me along’ cards with me. I send around inspirational quotes, motivational mantras, a funny picture, or an emoji. It warms the heart and reminds people that somebody cares. I set out purposely every day to do some sort of gesture for family, friends, and professional colleagues. Our intentional gestures hold the power to help encourage, build up, and not to give up!”
—Tharesa Lee, MA, CHC, CF, entrepreneur, consultant and facilitator, New Bern, N.C.
Send a handwritten note
“People underestimate the thoughtfulness of sending an actual card or handwritten letter to express your gratitude for the value a person has brought to your life. Do this with no expectation, and the reward will be self-evident.”
—Jolene Monaco, professional organizer, Dallas, TX
Share a podcast or a book you loved
“When I finish a book, come across an online event, or listen to an inspiring podcast episode, I immediately think to myself: ‘Who would enjoy this and get value from it?’ If it is work-related, I will share the link in Whatsapp or email with a brief note saying ‘I thought you would appreciate this’. I love sending something from a place of pure contribution, knowing it will brighten their day. This simple gesture is always appreciated as it shows the other person that I have a genuine interest in them; I listen to what matters to them and take the time to share it with them.”
—Lori Milner, coach and speaker, South Africa
Ask thoughtful questions
“Regardless if I am with a business colleague, an acquaintance, or the people I love most, it’s a top priority to show them I am present and supportive. I do this by actively listening and asking questions about their life and experiences. Remain curious about the people in your life. Really get to know who they are, what’s important to them, and who they are striving to become. Ask them what’s been going well for them, and what they are struggling with. Inquire about their work, or creative projects they may be working on. Ask them what’s on their bucket list and how they are working to make it happen. Ask them how you can support them, their needs, or any of their endeavors.Holding non-judgmental space for someone to share what’s been happening in their world, and having them do the same in return, is a true gift.”
—Kimberly Smith, life coach, Houston, TX
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