February is known for Valentine’s Day and is often called the month for lovers, but I’ve always thought of it more of a fun day, one where you can give heart-shaped treats and just let a friend or coworker know you’re pulling for them. The best way to do that? By showing kindness.
Kindness should come naturally, of course, but with our busy schedules we often have a hard time keeping in touch with friends, let alone going out of our way for them. I used to get accused of being “cold” because I’m fairly introverted and like working alone. I’m often in my own little world, you know? To the outside world, that looks like conceit or apathy, so I’ve learned to show more parts of my personality so folks around me can understand me better. Doing nice things or letting someone know you see the small things they do for you can go a long way to establishing rapport with people.
This month is especially important that we recognize kindness because February 10-16th is “Random Acts of Kindness Week.” The group that started this week-long celebration has some ideas on kindness acts for you and also encourages you to tweet out your participation in the week using hashtag: #RAKWEEK.
Here are five kindness ideas especially geared towards friends that you can use for the entire month of February.
Send Out Kid’s Valentines to Your Friends
There’s something charming about the Valentine cards we used to give as kids. Remember how the rule was that everyone in the class had to receive one? You couldn’t leave anyone out, not even that kid that pulled your hair. (Ahem…)
I used to like decorating the shoebox we’d take our Valentine’s in and then using that same box as the one to bring them home in. Use this spirit to send off a fun note to your friends just saying how much you appreciate them. Kid’s Valentines are cheap enough to send to your entire group.
Dedicate a Message in a Favorite Kid’s Book and Give to Your Friend
Speaking of nostalgia, if your friend has a favorite book from his or her childhood, buy a copy and inscribe a message to them to them. You’ll be surprised at how this simple act will show a friend that you’ve been paying attention. If you’ve known them a long time, they’ll appreciate the fact that you remembered. If you’re a new friend, they’ll love that you gave them something that reminded them of a happy memory from their childhood.
Even if you aren’t sure what your pal’s favorite book might be, giving them a classic like Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss can make them feel special.
Valentine’s Day Baked Treats
Make or buy a Valentine’s Day themed sweet treat. You can personalize it with colors or decorations or make the ever popular heart-shaped cake. They have heart-shaped pans everywhere this time of year. I was just in the hardware store yesterday and spotted one there. But even if you’re not a cook, many bakeries and even grocery stores offer various treats that your friend is sure to love.
Offer to Dog Sit for a Friend’s Pet
It’s hard to find someone trustworthy to watch your pet, so this month let a friend know you’ll be happy to dog sit whenever they need it. If you like, make a more permanent to commitment by creating a Valentine’s Day coupon for pet sitting that your friend can use at any time. This will help remind them that you’re serious about giving them a helping hand.
Another way to present this gift of kindness is in a card around the 20th of the month. That’s when “Love Your Pet Day” is.
Buy Girl Scout Cookies From a Friend’s Daughter
Did you know “Girl Scout Cookie Day” is February 7th? If you’ve got a friend with a daughter in Girl Scouts, help with their sales by offering to purchase a few boxes. While you can always eat them yourself, a better option is to get a few boxes as a gift for a friend. This act of kindness is especially sweet when paired with a card that tells them how important they are in your life.
If your friend has done something nice for you and you’d like to repay them the kindness, a fun idea is to give the “Thanks-A-Lot” cookie which has the right sentiment stamped right on the treat.