"Offer to be a buddy—if you know someone who is starting a diet, an exercise regimen, a meditation practice, a round of chemotherapy, or something that they might otherwise have to do alone. Even if you don’t need to diet, you can work out with the person, listen to their food diary, and encourage them." — Assistant editor Polly Brewster
Other Helpful Services
- Share you expertise with a friend in need of a résumé, website, or business plan. Or promise lessons in something you're good at—dancing sessions, basic foreign-language phrases before a vacation, yoga, knitting, etc.
- Be a "wingperson." Even if you're married, head out on the town with a single friend; it will mean a lot to him or her. Offer to help write or edit an online dating profile.
- Offer help to elderly friends or relatives with home maintenance repairs (lightbulbs, hanging pics, etc.)
- Create a gift certificate, promising to help with planting/gardening/lawn-mowing in the spring
- Help someone go green: Sign them up for CatalogueChoice.org, a free mailing list removal service, and get them a recycling bin, $1 canvas bags, and energy-saving power strips.
- Be a personal shopper: Take charge of returning unwanted gifts and doing exchanges for that set of harried parents.