National holiday encourages people to make others’ days


Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Wood

Austen Brown, Staff Reporter

Students were encouraged to make a stranger’s day for National “I Want You to be Happy Day” on Monday.

While paying a compliment or a friendly gesture to a stranger is the point of the national holiday, some students think opening up to strangers is easier said than done.

Claire Conrady, a senior communication disorders and sciences major, said talking to strangers is harder now than it was for previous generations with the invention of social media.

“I think it’s a lot easier for my parents’ generation to openly give compliments,” Conrady said. “I could definitely see where it is harder for people of our generation because we are on our phones so much and that’s our primary way of communicating.”

Conrady said taking a break from phones can provide a boost of self-esteem for those struggling to talk to strangers.

She said “scheduling time every day to take breaks from all technology” helps in strengthening face-to-face interaction.

Julia Jones, a freshman community health major, said she herself does not struggle with talking to strangers, but it is tough for some people.

“I think … people just like to use FaceTime now instead of actually meeting up,” Jones said. “But when you’re in front of somebody, you get to actually feel their happiness.”

She said technology cannot replicate the feeling gained from actual in-person social interaction.

Jones said she feels happy when her friends buy her food and compliment her appearance.

Teriq Phillips, a sophomore sports management major, said people can gain personally from polite gestures to other people.

Phillips said simple gestures like holding the door for someone or making his friends laugh are ways he improves the moods of other people.

Jones and Phillips agreed that the holiday is nice, but they were not aware that it was Monday.

Phillips said, had he known the holiday was Monday, he would have “held the door open for a few more people” than he usually does.

Jones said making flyers and posting on social media are viable ways to get the word out about the holiday to make students more aware.

Kristina Robinson, a freshman communication disorders and sciences major, and Jasmine Jackson, a freshman special education major, had never heard of the holiday, but they believe it is a valid and positive idea.

Jackson said being kind to strangers is sometimes easier than one would think.

“I just like a simple ‘Hello,’” Jackson said.

Robinson said she appreciates it when someone compliments her appearance or personality.

She said even small gestures can make a big difference in someone’s day, such as paying ahead for other customers at Starbucks or “even just a smile.”

Robinson said brightening up a stranger’s day “makes you feel good about yourself.”

“When you give a gift, it can feel better than receiving one, sometimes,” she said.

When it comes to interacting with strangers face-to-face, Robinson said, “some people have a harder time than others.”

She said people can benefit socially by ignoring what people think to further their comfortability talking to strangers.

Austen Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].