You’re a better friend when you show up with courage, open your heart, get vulnerable, and listen to the stories for the sake of hearing them. It’s hard to be a good friend without courage; it’s hard to find new friends without courage. I have a short, rough-draft-type list of small acts of kindness that we could gift the people in our courageous presence, whether we love them or not. Presence: what a gift.
“The only gift is a portion of thyself… Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: Second Series/Gifts
I was listening to Danielle LaPorte’s new podcast, Light Work, and she was talking about how we need each other to shine.
We need the depth of devotion that forges new friendships and embraces the hearts of our oldest friends. Friendship, Danielle said, is expanding and deepening our circle of love.
I love that.
Presence is what we really need. We need time away from our phones and more quality time with the people we cherish, without being distracted by 10,000 things. People need to be seen, heard, encouraged, and cared for. We all need that.“I think 50% of friendship is just being encouraging.” @DanielleLaPorte encourage a friend
By no means is the following list complete. It’s more of a rough draft of some things I’d like to see more, from myself and others. They’re starting points meant to inspire and fill—not deplete—the Love cup of others. All can be applied to current relationships and some to those we haven’t forged yet.
See how you can initiate small acts of kindness in your world today. I bet it would make a meaningful difference.
16 Small Acts of Kindness to Inspire Better Connections
1. Pin personal notes with kind words to one another using a cork board (or write it on a chalkboard or dry erase board).
2. Offer a specific compliment: “I love how your earrings go with that shirt so well.” “The way you handled that challenge inspired me to…”
3. Go out of your way to offer encouraging words to someone who seems to be struggling.
4. Send a text to someone you care about just to tell them how much you care about them, or what made you think of them.Kind actions speak the language of the heart. tell a friend
5. Hold the door open for others.
6. Let someone go in front of you—in line, on the road.
7. Offer to help: communicate, with your tone and intent, that you’re helping because you want to help, not because you have to.
8. When they’re showering, throw their towel in the dryer for a few minutes and bring it in when you hear the water turn off.
9. Buy a bag of their favorite assortment of treats, hide them throughout the house, and announce a treasure hunt.
10. Schedule a leisurely picnic and talk about their dreams and blessings.
11. Talk about what you both love.
12. Instead of texting your congratulations or empathy, call them.There is a gift of presence. Total attention is about putting their needs first, and it goes a long way. It is devotion, reverence, a sanctuary. Click To Tweet
13. Put your phone away when you’re having a conversation.
14. Make eye contact. Be with them. Listen to the stories.
15. Ask questions like “How’s your heart?” “What are you excited about?” “So, how are you doing, really?” (Inspired by Danielle LaPorte’s podcast, Light Work: so good.)
16. Touch. Hug, a little more and a little longer. Hold hands. While making dinner, offer a touch on the shoulder or back.
Read this next: TED talks to inspire and improve your relationships or these affirmations to shine your light and make a difference.
What makes you feel seen and heard? What’s your love language?
Share your favorite ways to give and receive love, small acts of kindness you’d add to this (completely incomplete) list, and any stories of connection with me in the comments.
Spread the love, right now, and share this message with someone.
Practice what you love most.