SIX IDEAS FOR MORE MEANINGFUL DAILY INTERACTION

We went to a barbecue a few weeks ago, hosted by a friend Jason met climbing and his wife. They were gracious, our kids cooperated, the company was good, and the food delicious. I especially enjoyed the lavender lemonade that was served. I mentioned how good it was to the host, and learned she made it with lavender from her own garden, which seemed to make it all the more heavenly.

Later, as we were loading our kids into the car to leave, she came out of her house and gave me a card with her lemonade recipe written on it.

I was touched. One of my favorite gifts I've ever received is a binder full of my grandma's recipes- all handwritten. She's never been one for secret recipes; I can still remember her expressing her disdain for someone who said they were taking their recipes to the grave. She said, "When you have something so good, you share it with others." Even so, I've never been one to pry when it comes to recipes.

The fact that a woman I'd just met went out of her way to share something with me meant a lot and has made me think of ways I can incorporate more meaningful gestures into my interactions with others.

Here's a few small ways  I came up with in my effort to be more thoughtful. None require much time, nor are they particularly novel, but thinking of them gave me the reminder I need to put such acts into practice more often.



WRITE A NOTE

This likely makes every list of ways to be kind, and for good reason. Being the recipient of handwritten notes has made my day more than once. Writing a few short lines to let someone know you're thinking about them doesn't take long. I like to keep a few blank cards and stamps in my car and in my purse in case I find myself with time to pass.

TAKE NOTE 

Listen to what people are saying, observe what they like, and what's going on in their life. If you know they have something big coming up, or a busy week, drop by with dinner. If you're running errands and see a snack or a magazine they like, pick it up for them. There's nothing like realizing someone is paying attention to you. Unless it's in a creepy way, then maybe not.

FILL A PLATE

If you bake something, fill up a plate to take to a neighbor, co-worker, teacher, or friend. You can double your recipe, but a cookie or two, or a few slices of warm bread still does the trick.

SEND A TEXT OR EMAIL

I know, there's nothing like a handwritten note, but an, "I'm thinking of you," text or email won't go unappreciated.


COMMENT INSTEAD OF LIKING

It's easy to like, or even love, a post when you're quickly checking your news feed. Writing a heartfelt comment takes a little more effort and requires you to stop your scrolling and engage a bit. This is a good thing. Likewise, responding to comments with more than an acknowledging "like" occasionally lends a little more human interaction to our friendships.


SIMPLY ENGAGE

The above ideas are for people you know, but what about those you don't? Write a note in a library book before returning it, talk to someone in line behind you, smile when walking past someone- anything to make that human connection that is sometimes missing.

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