5 Simple, Saucy and Sneaky Ways to Make Grumpy People Smile

We all know a grumpy granddad, crabby co-worker or moody teenager. That special person who likes to find a problem for every solution, poops the party, or takes the fun out of the fair. It can be hard going sometimes when they’re around, even if we do love them dearly.

But while we might not always know the reason why they are the way they are, or enjoy their latest rant on social media, it doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. We can shake things up a bit if we want. In fact, isn’t it our job to turn their frown upside down from time to time?

So, if you’re having a spot of bother with a less than sunny family member, colleague or friend, take heart! Like any challenge in life, where there’s a will there’s a way. Arm yourself with these sneaky and cheeky tips and tricks from this most joyous of lists, and brighten the day of your favourite Grinch or grouch.

  1. Naughty but nice

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A cheeky gadget is bound to bring a smile to even the sternest of faces. At least for a little while. Although you do have to be careful, as in, know your audience before choosing something that teeters on the saucy side. Especially if it’s a colleague or ageing aunt. So, if you know when their birthday is, leave a surprise – or anonymous – gift under their pillow, in their shoe, or on their desk!

  1. Tickle attack!

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Sometimes a more “hands-on” approach is needed. Depending on how well you know them, a surprise tickle attack is a good cure for grumpiness on a grey day. You’d be very unlucky to find someone who isn’t ticklish, so the odds are stacked heavily in your favour of it breaking them out of their bad mood.

Tickling is part of our evolutionary heritage, is a universal way of making people smile and apparently has many health benefits – so what’s not to like? But don’t over do it, because more than likely they’ll end up grumpier than they were to start with, and you’ll be back to square one. Probably not one for the work colleague or a traffic warden either.

  1. “Toon” time

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If you know someone’s a big cartoon head, why not invite them over for an animated giggle? Like tickling, shared laughter has many health benefits: it can help relieve stress and strengthen the bonds between people. It might even be able to lower your blood pressure and stimulate your brain too!

Whether their favourite show is the Simpsons, Futurama or the latest cartoon-craze Rick and Morty, there are tons to choose from, and your grumpy grumbler will soon be in stitches. If you can’t make a night of it, tweet them a link to a funny clip online. Little nudges can sometimes work just as well as big gestures.

  1. A simple smile

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A sincere smile or a cheeky grin can lift a person’s mood in an instant, and it makes you feel better too. It’s also free and contagious. Good contagious! Because the part of your brain that controls your smiling muscles resides in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area. So if you’re smiling at someone, their smiling muscles will automatically try to imitate your grin and return the favour. In other words, even if you don’t say a word as you pass the office ogre in the corridor, smiling at them is much more likely to lead to a smile in return. If they don’t smile, they’re making a very conscious effort not to.

  1. Surprise the spoiler!

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It might sound a little counter-intuitive – because you don’t want to be seen to be rewarding someone for being in a bad mood – but randomly spoiling a grouch might make them smile, or feel more appreciated, which might then lead to a smile!

Even a simple gesture of gratitude can lift the spirits of a surly sourpuss. Leave a handwritten note on their desk thanking them for that last piece of work they did. Leave them a lovely cuppa on their bedside table. Send them an anonymous postcard of somewhere you know they’ve been and enjoyed, because you saw it and thought of them! Although be careful. If it is anonymous, they might end up thinking they’re being stalked.

If you’ve got a little money to spare, whisk the whiner away on a remote luxury spa-day or book them in for a massage and foot rub at a local spa. Not many whingers would say no to spending the day walking around in a luxurious dressing gown, having massages and chilling out in a bubbling jacuzzi.

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