You are here: Home » Blog » Happiness

25 Ways to Make Someone Happy (and Smiling!)

by Hugo

Reviewed and fact-checked

We are committed to the highest standards of accuracy and reliability in our content. Every statement made on our website is meticulously fact-checked and supported by authoritative studies.

Read more about our processes here.

Updated on

It’s never fun to see someone sad, especially if it’s someone you care about. But how can you cheer this person up? How can you make someone happy?

While there are plenty of ways to share your happiness with others, I’ve listed the 25 most fun and actionable ways to make someone happy. From standing up for someone who’s mistreated to hiding a care package for someone who’s had a shitty day: I’m sure there are two or three ways that you can use to make someone happy and smiling today.

In the end, it’s scientifically proven that making others happy leads to greater happiness for yourself as well. So what are you waiting for? Get started and make the world a happier place. 😊

The power of making others happy

We all want the world to be happier, right? I’m sure you agree when I say that happiness would solve a lot of the world’s problems.

That’s why spreading happiness is so important. By making someone else happy, you’re making the world a better and happier place.

Besides, by making others happy, you’ll indirectly reap two powerful benefits yourself:

  1. Good deeds are associated with happiness.
  2. Being around happy people makes you more likely to be happy yourself.

The first point is a relationship between doing something good for someone else and experiencing happy emotions as a direct result. This has been studied a lot already, and we’ve written about this a lot already. This article explains why the act of spreading happiness increases your own happiness as well.

The second point is indirect and assumes that your efforts in making someone else happy were successful. If you succeed in making others happy, then you’ll naturally be surrounded by happier people.

This study showed that happiness spreads within social networks and that the happiness of someone within your network is associated with your own happiness. In other words, happiness spreads, and surrounding yourself with happy people is likely to increase your own happiness.

That’s why making someone else happy doesn’t have to feel like a waste of your time. There’s something in it for you too!

With that out of the way, I’ve selected 25 ways to make someone happy.

Best 5 ways to make someone happy

I’ve selected the 5 best ways to make someone happy from the total list of 25 tips. That’s because I feel like these 5 tips are especially powerful in your pursuit to spread your happiness.

1. Stand up for someone who’s treated unfairly

There’s a lot of “unfairness” in this world. Just think of discrimination, for example, and how many people this affects. These issues can be found everywhere, which means that no matter where you go, people are suffering from inequality.

Whether you feel like you’re mistreated or not, the best way you can make someone happy is to stand by those who are mistreated.

For example, if you’re a man and notice that your female colleague is being paid less than you are, there’s a simple way to make your colleague happier.

That is to stand up for her and voice your opinion against inequality.

Or maybe you know a friend that feels discriminated against by another group of people? Stand up for your friend, even when you’re not the one being discriminated against.

Just try to place yourself in the shoes of the other person. Being mistreated sucks! And to know that your friend has got your back could mean a lot.

That’s why this is the best way to make someone else happy on this list. You have the power to stand up against any form of inequality. And therefore, you can use that power to make someone else happy.

2. Tell others how much they mean to you

For a second, think about how many positive feelings are left unsaid. Depending on how outspoken you are, there’s a lot of positive sentiment that you feel for someone but you just don’t actually express it.

If I look at myself, for example, I know for a fact that I don’t always express how much someone means to me. Instead, I write about it in my journal. My journal is filled with lots of pages that show how much I love my partner, my parents, and my friends.

But do I express this often? Not as much as I should. Why? I don’t exactly know, maybe it’s just hard to express yourself vocally in front of someone else?

I sometimes try to make it a point to just express these feelings. A simple way to do this is to write a letter. Just write your friend, partner, colleague, or parent a letter that contains exactly how you feel.

This is such a powerful way to spread happiness and increase your bond with that person.

Expressing gratitude for other people is so powerful that we’ve written lots of articles about gratitude in the past:

3. Be a good friend to someone

We all need a friend sometimes, especially when we’re experiencing a rough patch in our lives.

When you feel that your friend is in this kind of situation, it’s important to try to be a good friend. This is a great way to spread your happiness and make someone feel happier as a result.

I’m sure you’ve also had personal experiences wherein the support you get from your friends makes a huge difference when you’re going through a rough patch. Most times, our best friends always know the right thing to say (or do) at the right time, and we can’t be any more grateful that we have these people in our lives.

So when you feel like you can return the favor, go be a good friend and be supportive. It’s one of the best ways to help someone feel happier.

Want to know more about this topic? We’ve written an entire article about how to be a good friend.

4. Give someone a compliment

This one is actually a funny story.

I once went for a run on a Sunday, which is something I typically do on my weekends. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, an old man passes me on his bicycle and shouts at me:

You have a great running form! Keep it going, keep it going!!!

I was absolutely flabbergasted. I mean, do I even know this guy?

A split second later, I decide that I don’t, and I thank him for his words of encouragement. He actually slows down a bit, allows me to catch up with him, and gives me tips on my breathing:

Quickly inhale through the nose, and slowly exhale through your mouth. Keep it up, you’re looking good!

After 10 seconds, he takes a turn and shouts goodbye. I complete the rest of my run with a gigantic smile on my face.

Why did this guy strike up a conversation with me? Why did he spend his energy and time complimenting me? What was in it for him?

I still don’t know, but I do know that the world needs more people like this! If you want to make someone else happy, be like this old guy on a bicycle. Give someone a compliment, whether you know that person or not! It

5. Spend time helping someone out

By helping someone out for free, you’re spreading your happiness to others while also closing the gap between those who are in need and those who are well off already. This goes back to the first tip of this article, to stand up for those who are treated unfairly.

What can you do to implement this idea and make someone else happier?

  • Help out a colleague with a project of theirs.
  • Do some grocery shopping for an elder.
  • Give some of your food to a food bank.
  • Provide your support for a good cause at a rally.
  • Find opportunities to give compliments.
  • Give someone a lift.
  • Offer a listening ear to your friend or colleague.
  • Give away some of your stuff to a thrift shop.
  • Lots more…

This idea applies to everything. Even though your help is not requested and you don’t stand to profit from giving away your time, you’ll be making the world a better place.

It’s important to not ask anything in return when you help someone out. Instead, just ask the other person to do the same for someone else in the future sometime.

This way, the positive energy of your act of kindness will not end when the kindness is returned. It will live on as your act of kindness spreads from person to person.

20 extra ways to make someone happy and smiling

Here are 20 extra tips that didn’t make the top 5. But don’t be fooled, these are all great ways to make someone happy. I’m sure there’s one in here that you can use today if you want to!

6. Give someone a care package

This is something silly that I sometimes try to do for my partner. I know exactly what kind of snacks she likes whenever she’s had a difficult day. So I sometimes go to the supermarket to buy a little extra of that snack and hide it in packages around the house. I make sure to hide it in places where she won’t find it.

That way, whenever she feels like shit after a long day, I can summon a care package for her and make her happy. Success guaranteed!

7. Give someone a hug

Physical touch releases a neurotransmitter and hormone called oxytocin, which can reduce fear, increase trust between people, and have an antidepressant-like effect. In other words, give someone a hug and it’s bound to have a positive impact!

8. Allow someone to cross a busy street when you’re in the car.

(But not when it creates a dangerous situation!)

9. Never forget to say “Thank you”.

10. Bring someone a cup of coffee or tea without them asking for it.

11. Hold the door open for someone who doesn’t expect it.

Even if that person is still at the other end of the hallway!

12. Tell someone a funny joke you heard or read recently.

13. Cook someone their favorite meal.

14. Call a friend to just say “Hi” and catch up.

This can be combined really nicely when you are stuck in traffic. Turn lemons into lemonade and make good use of a bad situation!

15. Call your (grand)parents.

You thank your life to these people, so don’t forget to give your time to them in return.

16. Offer to do groceries for someone else.

Everybody hates doing groceries, right? But if you’re planning to go to the store anyway, why not offer to get some stuff for someone else while you’re at it as well?

Instant happiness!

17. Share a funny video you saw on YouTube recently.

18. Leave a positive comment on someone else’s social media post, blog, or article.

19. Be happy yourself.

Remember that study we discussed at the start of this post?

By being happy, you’re indirectly making those around you happy as well.

20. When someone makes a mistake, just laugh about it.

21. Tip your server.

22. Hide secret notes for someone else.

This could be for the person(s) you live with, or for total strangers in the local park. Something like “Hey stranger, you are amazing!!”

23. Give someone a birthday present, even if the birthday has already been weeks ago.

24. Bake cookies for your colleagues, friends, or family.

25. Forgive someone who’s hurt you

Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. By forgiving someone, you’re indirectly saying that this person doesn’t have to feel bad about you anymore. As it turns out, forgiving also helps you heal and become happier.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

Cheat Sheet Download Thumbnail Clean

This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Be Happier and More Productive

Thrive under stress and crush your goals with these 10 unique tips for your mental health.

Wrapping up

There you go. If you made it all the way to the end of this post, you now know a few ways to make someone else happy. I’m sure that there’s at least one tip in this post that you can use today to spread your happiness.

Did I miss your favorite method of making someone else happy? Do you want to share a personal story about how you successfully lifted someone’s spirit? I’d love to read it in the comments below!

Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

Leave a Comment