41 Quick Ways to Cheer Someone Up & Make Them Smile

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Have you ever seen a person in your college class, at your job, church, or community that is always cheerful and smiling?   I'm sure we all have.  However, this type of bubbly personality only represents 1% of us at best.  This is because many of us “fake it till we make it.” 

So many people in our society today are stressed out and in need of a mental break And though we are not genuinely cheerful all the time, we aren’t all sad or mad at the world either. 

A person with a cheerful disposition makes us feel better and more optimistic about our surroundings.  So, seeing someone in obvious pain, sadness, and frustration makes us uncomfortable.  Caring people will look beyond themselves to step in and see if there is anything they can do to cheer a person up and make them feel better. 

Considering that you are reading this article, I know you are one of those selfless and caring people who desire to know how to cheer someone up.

Table of Contents

What if Someone Doesn't Want Cheering Up?

When we see our best friend, family member, or co-worker struggling on their job, frustrated with their clunker of a car, or depressed about their failing marriage, they don't always want to be cheered up. 

Unless that person suffers from a major issue like severe anxiety, depression, or a personality disorder, they often just want someone to listen.  Someone to share their experiences with and not try to constantly fix them personally or their problems. 

We can all relate to this.  Often, we desire someone to vent to and get things off our chest.  This makes us feel like our feelings matter.  Unfortunately, we are not always looking for someone to cheer us up in those moments. 

Trying to cheer someone who doesn't want to be cheered up invalidates their feelings.  Furthermore, it implies they are not trying their best to rectify a situation.  Have you heard the phrase, “misery loves company?” 

Sometimes we just need a caring friend, who reminds us that we are not alone in our time of hardship, not preach to us that “things will get better.”  Though it is a good reminder.   

Signs that Someone Needs Cheering Up

Many times, people are struggling but won't admit it.  Therefore, we must recognize the signs that something is wrong and offer the person some encouragement.

Changes in their mood

  • A person seems to overact to things, expressing feelings of sadness, frustration, and anger.
  • They now get bent out of shape over the most minor things.  Things that don't usually bother them.

Their behavior changes

  • Isolating themselves from friends, family members, and co-workers.  They even cut off communication with others.
  • They aren’t as productive at school or work
  • Taking unusually or unreasonable risks without reasonable thought
  • Not taking part in activities they usually enjoy

Their way of speaking changes

  • “There's no use.”
  • “Things will never change.”
  • “I am an idiot.”
  • “I let everyone down again.”
  • “I mess everything up.”
  • “I don't feel well.”
  • “I'm a cow.”

You notice changes in their appearance.

  • Lack of proper hygiene like bathing, changing clothes, brushing teeth, or brushing hair.
  • Looking tired and sad on a regular basis

They post or comment alarming things on social media

  • Posting depressing song lyrics, or poems on their social media
  • Using sad or destructive emojis to describe their feelings
  • Use of sad hashtags
  • Speaking negativity in comments and posts that are disturbing.

Signs Someone may Need More Help than You Can Provide

The following are signs that someone may be struggling with their mental health and need to talk to a licensed professional.  

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Appearing to be hopeless and melancholy all the time
  • You notice an increase in personal insults and putting themselves down
  • They complain of feeling tired after getting a full night's rest
  • Extreme weight loss or gain
  • Increase in appetite or not having an appetite at all

41 Quick Ways to Cheer Someone Up & Make Them Smile

1.  Tell someone, “Thank You.”

Such a small phrase, but it can make someone's day.  Especially when they have been feeling unappreciated.   

2.  Give a sincere compliment

An easy way to make someone smile is to notice them and genuinely tell them something positive you see about them.  It could be a smile, hairstyle, scarf, tattoo, shoes, or purse.  You are sure to get a smile in return.

3.  Draw out their emotions

Express interest, give them a safe space and ask them to share with you what is on their hearts. 

4.  Acknowledge their feelings

Describe to the person what you see and feel personally concerning their situation. 

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Go to the gym with your friend to cheer them up and make them feel better.

Witnessing and reaffirming a person's feelings may be just what they need to begin feeling better and cheered up.

5.  Don’t minimize a person’s pain

Instead of minimizing the pain, a person is experiencing, let them know that their feelings are valid.  This goes a long way toward lifting someone's spirits.

6.  Be a good listener

When a person bursts into tears and they're filled with anxiety, the last thing they need is for us to trivialize their problems. 

7.  Offer a hug as a form of physical affection

Sometimes a hug is just what a person needs to feel comforted and bring a smile to their face.  If you and that person have a relationship where physical affection was shown in the past, this is a good form of cheering someone up.    

8.  Let them know that they are special

Affirming to a person that they are special and how much they mean to you is a great way to bring a smile to their face and bring cheer.

9.  Send a meaningful song to someone

A happy and joyful song can lift spirits.  Especially if it is a song that both of you have previously enjoyed together. 

It may also be a help to them to share a song that you know the words will speak to the issues a person is dealing with and encourage them. 

10.  Organize an ice cream date with your friend

Purchase your friend’s favorite ice cream and talk things out together.  I believe I have said enough.

11.  Take time to do an activity they enjoy

Support your friend by assisting them in activities they enjoy, whether going for a walk, playing a sport, playing video games, or fishing.  This may be the thing they need to bring them some encouragement.

12.  Retail Therapy

Take your friend shopping to cheer them up, even if you don't buy anything.  However, encourage them to be a bit spontaneous and purchase something they really like. 

The experience gives your friend a chance to take their mind off their issues.  You two may even share a laugh together.

13.  Be a source of positive reinforcement

When a person rehearses negativity in their minds for some time, it takes a persistent person to pour in positivity until it starts to build the person up and encourage them.

14.  Send a thoughtful text

Simply texting someone that you are thinking of them when they are going through a difficult time in life can be what brings a smile to their face. 

15.  Send flowers

Surprising a co-worker with flowers during a stressful time in their lives will give them a boost of morale and a feeling that they are not alone.

16.  Show empathy, not pity

Pity is when someone feels sad for someone but in a passive way.  However, empathy not only moves you to comfort someone in their time of sorrow but to let them know you understand what they are going through.

17.  Netflix and chill

Sit with a person going through a hard time and binge-watch a show you two enjoy.  It is a great escape from life's circumstances and is guaranteed to bring a smile to their face.

18.  Enjoy a brisk walk in the park

A relaxing nature environment can help even the most stressed-out people relax.  The walk can cheer up a disgruntled person and even replace their anxieties with peace. 

19.  Have an afternoon of self-care

Cheer your friend up by enjoying an afternoon with them doing self-care.  Get your nail polishes, face masks, and snacks to create a relaxing spa time together.

20.  Buy their favorite morning drink

When a co-worker has been feeling low, a thoughtful cup of coffee or loaded tea that they enjoy may go a long way to bringing cheer and putting a smile on their face.

21.  Bake something together

Reading a recipe, measuring, and mixing ingredients are fantastic ways to take a person's attention off their problems and focus on the task at hand. 

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Surprising someone with flowers during a stressful time in their lives will give them the feeling that they are not alone.

Then smelling the goods baked in the oven can bring a sense of joy and anticipation to replace frustration and anxiety. 

22.  Pray with them

There is nothing more powerful than the power of prayer.  Praying with someone can cheer them up and lift their spirits.  I've seen hundreds of people experience a change of demeanor during a brief time of prayer.

23.  Play a prank on someone

Pranks can bring a smile to someone's face.  Tie a rubber mouse to a fishing line, prank call another person in your circle, or drop a fake spider in their vicinity to get a possible smile and a laugh.

24.  Email them a funny joke

There is nothing like surprising someone with a joke that can lift their spirits.  Especially when you understand their brand of humor. 

You may want to start by listing the email as urgent as if it is crucial.  Then the joke would be in the email's contents.

25.  Go for a drive

A change of scenery can do a lot of good in helping someone clear their minds or talk about what is on their hearts.  They will certainly come back from the ride in better spirits.

26.  Tag them in funny social media posts

If you know someone is having a rough day, tag them in a funny Facebook or Instagram post to cheer them up.

27.  Give them a handwritten note or card

Handwritten sentiments may seem a bit outdated, but they are very effective and heartwarming to others who may be going through a hard time in life.

28.  Be kind to a random stranger

Paying for someone's coffee, a stranger's dinner at a restaurant, or opening a door for a lady entering an establishment may be the kind of act that cheers them up on a bad day.  You will also notice that it makes you feel good too.

29.  Help them visualize a better future

Encourage someone to realize how their past and present have built them up for the future they desire to have. 

30.  Visit an animal shelter

Taking your pet-loving friend or loved one to an animal shelter to spend some time with homeless animals will take their mind off their troubles.

31.  Encourage them to take a nap

Lack of sleep can increase irritability, anxiety, and depression.  When your friend is not acting like themselves and lacking sleep, strongly encourage them to get some rest.

32.  Take some chores off their hands

Volunteer to help a struggling person with housework, yard work, or babysitting so they can get some much-needed sleep and mental rest.

33.  Go to the gym together

Walk on a treadmill, lift weights, use the exercise bike, or sit in the sauna with your friend to make them feel better.

34.  Axe Throwing

Axe throwing is getting increasingly popular and is a great way to spend time with someone and blow off steam.

35.  Share positive affirmations

Give sincere praise to a person, going beyond their style of clothes or choice in office décor.  Share compliments with them that you have never expressed with them before.  It could be about their thoughtfulness, beauty, kindness, talent, or strength. 

36.  Smile at them

Never underestimate the power of a smile.  Smiling at a person can bring a smile to their face and brighten their day.

37.  Show gratitude

Thank someone for how they have been there for you in the past when your spirits needed lifting or when things felt hopeless.  It shows them that someone (you) values them. 

38.  Cook their favorite meal or dessert

Fix a person's favorite meal.  Fried chicken, lasagna, catfish, or even a chocolate cake can brighten a person's day. 

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Praying with someone can cheer them up and lift their spirits.

It warms the heart to know someone would work so hard at preparing a meal to lift our spirits.

39.  Take them to a painting class

As an avid painter, painting is one of the most therapeutic activities I have ever participated in.  It would be a great way to get your friend to let their guard down, be creative, and have fun. 

40.  Recommend professional help

After trying everything, you see that your friend, loved one, or co-worker is in a really dark place.  There is nothing wrong with suggesting professional help.  You may also want to alert their parents, siblings, or others closer to them than you are.  It may save their life.

41.  Have a game night

Uno, Monopoly, Checkers, Connect Four, Sorry, or Scrabble are great games to bring out the competitive side of a person and cheer them up. 

Final Thoughts on Ways to Cheer Someone Up

As you see, bringing someone cheer and making them smile doesn't have to be an expensive or extravagant act.  Often, it’s the simple things that light up someone's day and bring a smile to their face. 

May we always be mindful of others, and hold tight to the ways in which we can lift the spirits of those around us who are down.  When we sincerely sow seeds of cheer, we will reap a harvest of others looking to do the same for us.  

Remember, we all need each other.  The key to making a difference in this world may not be a scientific phenomenon or medical breakthrough, but simply a kind gesture and a loving heart toward others.

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