small gesture

Small Gestures That Strengthen Your Relationships with Others

Rachel Sharpe

People are at their best when they go out of their way to do the little things for others. Whether it’s mowing your neighbors lawn when doing yours or buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you at the drive thru. We often think that it’s the grandiose gestures that people go crazy for. But those small gestures we do on a daily basis can be transformative in our way of relating to others, improving our happiness, and making a difference in the world. In this article, we’re going to share some of the small gestures you can do to strengthen your relationships with others. 

Small Gestures That Strengthen Your Relationships with Others

1. Do something without being asked

We can all name a person in our lives who constantly nags us about something. It might be a spouse nagging about washing dishes, a parent about helping around the house, or a boss about showing up to work on time. If you find someone in your life is always begging and pleading with you to do something, just go ahead and do it without being asked. If there are dishes in the sink, you don’t need to be told that they need to be washed, it’s obvious they’re dirty. You can prevent other people’s stress just by taking initiative on tasks that people constantly ask you about. This is a small gesture that can really lower people’s stress levels. 

2. Buy a token of something they’ll appreciate

Some of the best gifts are unprompted and simple. It could be buying a puppy to do list for your organized, dog lover girlfriend or tickets for a hockey game at your local ice rink for your sports loving husband. Gifts is a popular love language. However, many people mistakenly think it’s about buying someone’s affection, like oops I messed up, I’m sorry here’s a gift. But that’s not how most people use that love language. Gifts as a love language is more like “hey, I was thinking of you a few weeks ago, and bought this for you and it just came in.” It’s about thinking about someone when they’re not around. It’s about being thoughtful. 

small gestures

3. Go for a walk with them

The best small gesture you can show someone is giving them your time and going for a mindful walk. The best conversations you’ll ever have with people are during walks in nature or in a park with someone you love. But you can do this with anyone you want to feel more connected to. You might go for a walk with a co-worker you’ve been having some difficulties connecting with or a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Not everything needs to be a dinner out or a costly activity together. Bonding can be as simple as the two of you immersed in good conversation in the splendor of nature. 

4. Try to make them laugh

You never know when someone is experiencing hardship in their life. Being the type of person who tries to keep the energy in the room upbeat, lighthearted, and positive can be the small gesture people need more of in their life. When you keep things positive, you’ll attract more positivity your way too. Plus, you can rest assured that you’re making a positive impact in people’s lives just by being yourself. You don’t have to bust out a comedy routine of cheesy jokes, but trying to help frame people’s thinking to be more positive can help boost people’s moods too. And if you know how to look at the world from a comedian’s lens, you’ll get people bursting with laughter.


5. Cook something special for them

A homemade meal is always appreciated by those we love. Ordering takeout all the time can make us feel groggy, bloated, and fatigued. So, when you whip up the recipe your mom made you when you were a kid or bake the dessert that your grandmother taught you before she died, you can pass on some delicious meals or treats for those you care about. Cooking their favorite dish can go a long way too. Picking a day where they’re too tired to cook but want to eat something good can be a great way to do a small gesture for someone, made with love. 

6. Hold the door for them

If you’d like to do a small gesture for someone you don’t know, holding open the door for them can be a kind thing to do. Often, people are in such a rush to get in line at the coffee shop or run into an office building that they don’t hold the door open for them for the person behind them and so it shuts in their face. Because we weren’t paying attention, we don’t realize it startled the person. Being mindful of your surroundings and offering this small gesture when out and about can be a simple thing to do that shows kindness. 

hold the door open as a kind gesture

7. Give them a massage

A small gesture you can show your spouse or significant other is giving them a massage. It’s a simple way to show affection for someone without wanting anything in return. Massaging your spouse’s feet can make them feel good and help them relax after a stressful or busy day. Touch is a love language for many people. While it might not be one for everyone, you’ll know your partner well enough to know if doing this will be received positively or not. 

8. Surprise them with flowers

Often, flowers are given at funerals which can make the smell unpleasant when someone associates it with the death of a loved one. Giving flowers at happy moments can help transform this negative experience. Surprising your partner with flowers to cheer them up for no reason at all can be a small gesture they appreciate. You don’t need to go to an expensive flower shop all the time, even picking up flowers from the grocery store while you run errands can be a nice small gesture. 

give flowers

9. DM them a funny video

A small gesture you can do is send funny, cute, or thoughtful social media videos via DM to them. It lets them know that you enjoyed something and they’ll likely enjoy it too. This is more of a modern day small gesture people do to their friends and loved ones to let them know they care. It’s about sharing things that uplift you that they’ll enjoy as well. Don’t send passive aggressive videos or educational things they’ll find condescending. Send videos with a positive attitude or message that’ll make them happy. 

10. Write an appreciation card 

If you have the mailing address for your friends and relatives, writing an appreciation card to them can be a kind gesture. For example, you might write in a blank card or a thinking of you card where you write down all the things you appreciate about this person. Highlight what makes them an amazing person and what you value most about them. The goal should be to give this person a warm fuzzy feeling about them.

as a small gesture write a card

11. Host a get-together with friends

A small gesture you can do is host a get-together with friends and invite the people you get along with the most. Try not to exclude anyone from the friend group so people don’t get upset. Remember these are small gestures to be kind to people so don’t leave anyone out. You can also host a get-together with family. Invite people to your home, maybe host a BBQ, and get people to see each other, take pictures, and share laughs. The goal should be to create lasting memories with people you love. Most people don’t want to host parties but when you take initiative, people usually do come out. 

12. Text them a daily compliment

A small gesture you can do for someone you care about is to text them a daily compliment. If every morning before going to work, you text your spouse a compliment meant to make them feel good about themselves, you’ll create a more positive relationship. Throughout your time in person together, you’ll also want to vocalize compliments and praise to them when they do something kind or helpful. Being vocal with praise keeps the atmosphere light in your relationship. 

smiling while texting

13. Plan a weekend getaway with them

Whether it’s a friend or significant other, planning a weekend getaway can be a small gesture to show someone you care, want to give them a chance to unwind, and to bond with them. A weekend getaway doesn’t need to be expensive. It could be spent in the closest city near you where you plan a few activities, such as a walk along a lake or dinner at a popular restaurant or concert for your favorite singer or band. Alternatively, it could be a spa weekend. Just something you all do together to connect and relax. 

14. Create a scrapbook about them

A small gesture you can do for your sibling, parents, or someone you’re really close to is create a scrapbook about them. You could create a book of all your memories together with pictures of the both of you while you were younger. The more photos you have with this person the easier it’ll be to create a scrapbook with them so someone you’ve known for a long time would be the ideal person to do this small gesture for. Find pictures, write notes about the memories, have other people write kind messages that you include in the book, and more to give people excitement when they sort through it. 


15. Make a list of 100 reasons why you love them

Everyone has someone in their life they can write 100 reasons why they love them. Whoever your person or people are, take the time to make a video or a list of 100 reasons why you love them. To help you come up with ideas, think back to memories with them where this person helped you or took initiative to do something kind. Reflect on all the amazing things they’ve done throughout your relationship with them to reflect on why you love them.

16. Help them achieve a goal

One of the small gestures you can do for someone is help them achieve a goal. Everyone you know has one goal they’re working towards. Come up with ideas on how you can help them accomplish their goal. For example, if they’re looking for a new job, you might send them listings they’re qualified for. Or if they’re trying to lose weight, you might become their workout buddy. Or if they want to start a business, you might tell everyone you know about it. 


17. Talk about life under the stars

A small gesture you can do to make someone feel loved is to talk about life under the stars. While this can sound like a romantic thing to do, it doesn’t have to be. This can be something you do with your best friend on a camping trip or with your parents on a dark summer night. Talking about life, your purpose in the world, how to make life more meaningful or enriching can be a philosophical way to connect with someone. Doing this will help bring you closer to someone else due to the mysticism of the unknown of what’s out there. 

18. Celebrate each other’s accomplishments

A small gesture you can do for a coworker is celebrate their accomplishments. When someone on your team achieves something amazing, publicly praise them and call it out. Create a culture at your workplace where everyone’s accomplishments get praise. By doing this, you’ll ripple out more positivity and work towards eliminating toxicity from your workplace. 

small gesture of celebrating someone

19. Surprise them with treats

Another small gesture you can do for coworkers is bring treats to the office. You might bring cupcakes, donuts, or coffee from your local popular coffee shop. You might even ask your boss to expense a team pizza to celebrate a team win or just all the hard work you’ve been doing. 

20. Remember their birthday

Small gestures can be as simple as saying two words: happy birthday. You have no idea how sad people get when no one remembers or acknowledges their birthday. Not everyone likes big gestures like surprise parties or balloons at their desk. However, wishing someone a happy birthday and giving them a card or a small gift or sharing a birthday cake with them can be a kind thing to do to let them know that you value them. 

wish a happy birthday


These are some of the many small gestures you can do to strengthen your relationships with others. They’re gestures you can do to better bond with someone, connect with them, make them feel special, and let them know that they’re valued. What other kind gestures do you think we should add to this list? Let us know!

More great articles

a man holding his hands up to his head.

12 Ways to Stop Feeling Hopeless and Find Hope in Tough Times

Feeling hopeless in a situation doesn’t help you get out of a mess. It usually spirals you further into it.…

Read Story

What Are the Most Important Things in Life? The 9 Things That Really Matter

In our fast-paced world, it is easy to lose sight of what the important thing that truly matters. We often…

Read Story
a person holding a dandelion in their hand.

Do I Have PTSD?

In life, we encounter traumatic events that can have a devastating effect on our health– especially on our minds. Some…

Read Story

Stop living on

Explore our free growing library of guided meditations and start living a more examined life.

Explore Meditation Library