The average American does about 25,000 thoughtful acts in their lifetime, new research suggests.
A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents found people perform about six such gestures a week, or 312 over the course of a year.
Eight in 10 also try to pay it forward when someone does something thoughtful for them.
Fifty-eight percent have reciprocated an introduction they received to a friend or a date.
And 52% have returned the favor to a classmate who helped them study in school.
People shared the most thoughtful gestures they’ve ever received from others, such as “taking care of my dog when I was in the hospital [despite their] allergies” or “a customer in front of me paying for my food in the drive-thru” and “gifts from my kids.”
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of SmashUps by American Greetings, the survey also found that saying “thank you” is considered the most underrated thoughtful act (49%).
When asked how they show thoughtfulness to others, most said they send them a birthday greeting or present (55%), listen to them (54%) or give them a compliment (54%).
In fact, eight in 10 said they always try to remember to do something nice for their loved ones on their birthday.
Yet two-thirds admitted it can sometimes be difficult to sustain thoughtfulness or gratitude throughout the year.
Three-fifths said negative emotions at times overpower positive ones, and more than half worry they don’t have enough time for more thoughtful actions.
However, two-thirds said that practicing gratitude has made them more compassionate to others.
And most (72%) plan to become a better friend in 2022. Sixty-six percent will accomplish this by giving more compliments, while 52% will use more polite language and 52% aim to set aside their phone during conversations.
“Just being mindful of the people around you can make a difference,” said a spokesperson for SmashUps by American Greetings. “This study suggests that seemingly small gestures, such as watering someone’s plants while they’re away or baking for them, can also encourage the giver to be more empathetic.”
Some respondents have also displayed thoughtfulness by covering others’ expenses, spending an average of $300 to cover their meals or bills.
When it comes to gifts, eight in 10 noted they take time finding the perfect present for a loved one, with 35% devoting an hour or more.
And 83% said when others remember their birthday, it makes them feel loved and appreciated.
“Birthdays may come once a year, but they’re also a more personal occasion, so it makes sense that most people feel appreciated when others remember their special day,” the spokesperson added. “Even the smallest gift can be incredibly meaningful if it’s clear to the recipient that you put thought into it.”