I've been thinking about this a lot lately, how lucky and blessed I am to be able to meet such wonderful people. I have a deep mistrust of people and friendships. A lot of bad things have happened to me, and I've met a lot of bad people. But over the past few years, I've met a lot of wonderful people and I've begun to appreciate the friends in my life.
People often mistake me for either being more friendly than I am, or less friendly than I intend to be. When I am in "more friendly" mode, it's because I'm working hard to push outside of my comfort zone. A natural introvert, I find even smiling at a stranger to be absolutely exhausting. So, when I'm not pushing myself, people misinterpret my lack of smile (which I guess looks like a scowl) to me being unfriendly. The truth is, I'm neither. I'm just not very comfortable around people. It takes a lot of work to be friends with me, so I'm trying really hard to appreciate the wonderful people who've made the effort.
So for my friend post, I want to share a list of things that people have done for me that have made a huge difference in my life. I hope, when you read this list, you'll realize that when you do these things for others, even if you think they're small, they can mean the world to someone else.
- Notice Characteristics. This is actually a hard one for me. At first, when people would say things mentioning a specific thing about me (like, Danica is a writer), I was really uncomfortable. But I've begun to realize when people are doing this, it's a good thing, and they actually like that about me. I find it very affirming and healing, even though at first it bothered me.
- Acknowledge. This one might sound kind of weird. I started going to a new church about a year ago, and I am overwhelmed at how the new people I've met have gone out of their way to acknowledge me and say hi. I nearly wept the first time I took communion from our pastor, and he said, "Danica, this is the body of Christ broken for you." Use people's names and care about them personally.
- Hug. I admit, hugs are tricky for some people. I've spent the better part of my life being in the non-hug group. I'm always afraid of being the first hugger because I don't want to hug someone who doesn't like to be hugged. But now that I've got so many hugger friends, I have to admit that a lot of my hug barriers have gone down, and I feel really blessed by my friends who hug.
- Check in on a personal level. "How are you" is great, but what has meant the most to me are the people who ask about something specific they know is important in my life, like "How are those chickens?"
- Do stuff for no particular reason, without expecting anything in return. In the past, I've known a lot of people who had the attitude of "I did this for you, so now you have to..." And there's a part of me that does like to return favors. I hate to owe anyone anything. But there's also something really beautiful about someone doing something for you just because. "I care about you, so I want to do this..." is a really powerful message to give to a person. It doesn't have to be anything huge- it could be as small as helping with a project, or buying a cup of coffee.
Here's the cool thing about the above list. Not only did people doing those things in my life bring me a lot of healing on a personal level, but knowing how they've made a difference in my life have pushed me to reach out and do those things for others. And I hope, that one day, I can be the kind of friend to someone else that my friends have been to me.
What little things have people done for you that have made a huge difference in your life?