I’ve discussed this question with a few colleagues and friends with conflicting opinions.
Some said the act of kindness starts with the offer. Often people described when they were the ones initiating the kindness it started with the thought in their head. Others said it was the offer because when they’d been on the receiving end, regardless of whether they accepted it or not, they still felt more positive than before the offer.
Others said the act of kindness starts with the acceptance of the offer. For my challenge, this is the criteria I used. If I offered something, like buying a receptionist a cup of tea as he was fixed to his post, and he refused, it didn’t count.
This is one thing I learned about myself during the project – I set a high bar for myself for what counted and what didn’t. Giving out 1 free umbrella/brolly in the rain didn’t count, giving out 5 did.
Maybe like beauty, kindness is in the eye of the beholder. Or maybe it doesn’t matter, just be kinder more often than not and everyone feels better.