How to Spread Kindness





Introduction: How to Spread Kindness

About: I like to make things.

In an effort to spread a little more kindness, I created a public art project, called the compliment project, that anyone with access to a printer and tape can participate in. Within a week of starting the project it spread internationally and was featured in The New York Times, ABC News, and San Francisco Chronicle. People around the world have been sharing images of the posters via the hashtag #thecomplimentproject on Instagram and Twitter.

In this instructable, I will explain what the compliment project is, how to participate in it, and other ways to spread kindness in your community.

Because we can all use a few more hugs and smiles now (and always).

Step 1: What Is the Compliment Project?

Inspired by those posters that advertise baby sitters or piano lessons and are taped on street poles with paper slip phone numbers at the bottom that you can tear off and take with you, I created compliment posters with the same structure.

The compliments include:

Your smile is beautiful.

You are perfect as you are.

Our world is better because you are in it.

You light up the room.

The compliment is written in large text in the top 3/4 of the page and then repeated on the small paper slips below. Passerby are encourage to tear off the slips and share them with friends. The posters don't feature any emails, phone numbers or websites. The only thing they do have to identify them with the project is the hashtag #thecomplimentproject.

After designing the posters, I printed 1,000 at a local copy shop and invited my friends to join me over the course of the week posting the compliments around San Francisco.

Step 2: How to Participate and Spread Kindness in Your Own Community

The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, so I created a website where anyone can download and print the posters for their own communities. In addition to being available in English, you can also download the posters in Spanish, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Italian. I also attached all of these posters to this instructable step!

If your language is not available, please reach out to me by commenting on this instructable or sending me a PM - if you can help translate, I can create the posters in your language!

Step 3: Other Ways to Spread Kindess

There are so many ways to spread kindness in your community!

One of my favorites is volunteering. The website can help connect you to volunteer opportunities in your area based on your specific interests. I'm also a big fan of libraries, which tend to have plenty of volunteer opportunities from teaching youth how to read and write to helping people prepare resumes and cover letters. Whatever you are passionate about there is likely to be a volunteer opportunity right up your alley!

The same goes for donating to local charities! The website is another great resource.

Getting involved in local government is also a great way to make an impact. Just by attending town halls, you can get a better sense of what programs and initiatives are happening in your area, and which ones you can get more involved in. If there is an issue you are passionate about, you can also contact your representative - to find your local representative, here is a handy website.

I'd love to hear more ideas of how to spread kindness in the comment section so I can add them to this step!

Above all, small things like smiling at a stranger, being there for your friends and family, or giving an extra big tip at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop can have a huge impact. Once a ripple of kindness starts, you never know where it will end. :)



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    78 Discussions

    I wonder whether those Nazis (or whatever evil person) will be cured if they grab one of those (esp. "our world is better because you're in it"). Hmmmm

    3 replies

    Keep thinking about those Nazis. You're doing great on missing out all the other people who don't regards themselves as great or worthy. How many Nazis do you "actually" know, frankly speaking? (if you know a lot, get away from them and start surrounding yourself with positive people, buddy)

    Hehe. Good point. Actually I can't remember knowing anyone personally falling in that category. But they exist and they seem to get more and more (from what I perceive from various media). And definitely: our world is NOT better because they are in it.

    I tryed to not to reply on this... but...
    I think you are missing the point: this is not about justice or even truth... this is just about kindness.

    Hey, I just loved it but [Brazilian] Portuguese version needs a little tweak, let me help:


    Aceite um elogio! Você merece.
    Espalhe a gentileza, leve para um amigo(a) também.

    1) Você é um raio de luz num dia nublado.

    2) Você traz alegria àqueles à sua volta.

    3) O teu sorriso é lindo. (It's correct)

    4) Nosso mundo é melhor porque você está nele.

    5) Você leva alegria onde quer que vá.

    Spread the love.

    it would be funny to make ones that were funny

    I know that i would sure like it if I was walking down the street and I saw a compliment that was just for me.

    That is a really creative and amazing idea. I would love to help you with translations in hindi. Let me know of the text you want me to translate.

    I also have another idea you could use, 'Why not use Google translate for translations??' It has many languages and would be really quick .... Won't it??

    12 replies

    My dear friend, Have you used Google Translate much?

    If you have you would know that you may well end up saying "you switch on my lamp" in Swahili or "the world is good if go you in" in Azerbaijani.

    Always check with a native speaker or you may find yourself in a sticky situation!

    In all fairness if I saw a sign that said "You switch on my lamp" I would sure smile and have a better day :)

    I have a Hungarian phrasebook -- would that help? It's not entirely accurate ... occasional problems with hovercraft and eels :)

    In the same sentence?

    The mind boggles.

    Nem fogok vásárolni ezt a rekordot. Ez karcos

    Was it a good record though?

    Google Translate and other online translators only Transliterate. They don't actually translate.

    If you're not sure what transliterate means, it means to convert from one language to another word for word or letter for letter. Like converting English words into French but in the same order as the English sentence. Doesn't always make sense in other languages.

    If you forget your hat on a train and ask someone who is still on the train to throw your hat to you in French, it's transliterated into English as "Throw me off the train my hat."

    "Throw me off the train..." not a good idea to say to someone...

    I just verified with "The flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak" (a mix from a proverb). When typing it transliterates (as you can see). But when the sentence is finished, it finds the right translation (I got the above from the German proverb).

    To be fair: it's a bit better than just transliteration in the meantime. But of course far from a human translation still. Though I wouldn't be surprised to see a better machine translation in the near future than what some humans work out (deep learning has enabled things we could not believe a few years ago).