One way to make any random act of kindness gift even more special is to personalize it somehow. This doesn't mean put your friend's initials or name on something (even though you could), but instead just making it specific to the individual in some way. One way you can do this is by giving a friend something you know they alone would like.
Another way is to take something ordinary and make it really specific and special. I found this adorable project from Anna and Blue Paperie about personalized Hershey's kisses. She uses 8 1/2 by 11 inch sticker paper that you can put in your printer. Then she printed off cute colors to coordinate and used a circle punch to cut them out and attach them to the bottom of the kiss. She's also got a PDF of the circle sheets for purchase at her Etsy store.
I liked this idea because you can do this with a variety of colors or even a saying or two (if you're artistically or technically inclined) to make a project like this for a friend. It's a fun way to let them know you're thinking of them, and each time they open the candy they'll be thrilled that you took an extra step in order to show them that you care.
Last month I talked about wanting to read The Art of Doing, and I finally have. There's some good concepts in there, and since I like to look for tips that can be applied to friendship from just about everywhere, I read the book with this thought in mind. I found several things I wanted to share with you.
First, the book itself (written by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield) is a wonderful collection of tips on how to do things well from people in a variety of areas, from celebrities to authors to lawyers to game show champs and everything you can imagine in-between. I personally liked this wide variety of perspectives. It showed the commonalities people had in achieving their dreams and goals (drive, determination) but also the unique way they each approached their specific areas of interest.
The information here, while goal-driven, can be applied to friendships as well. This shouldn't be a surprise to you. After all, if you're going to do one thing well, it will spill over into other areas of your life also.
For instance, the authors said that "many of our participants cited patience as a critical skill. But their practice of patience took place over varying durations of time, from fractions of seconds in a competitive sport to days, months, years or even decades for other endeavors."
This made a lot of sense to me. In sports, for example, patience means waiting a second for an opening if you're a running back. That second is crucial to giving you room to run up the field. In life (and friendships) patience will be much longer: weeks for a friend to get used to a new job, months for someone to understand where you're coming from on a specific issue, years to fully forgive a misunderstanding.
Overall, I thought this was an excellent read that you could apply to many different areas of your life. You can find The Art of Doing (subtitled: How Superacheivers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well) here.
What can you admit? The term #iCanAdmit was trending on Twitter yesterday, and I found several responses that caught my eye.
#iCanAdmit that I don't have it all together. That's why I need Jesus!
#ICanAdmit that I have some insecurities.
#iCanAdmit I can't go a day without iced coffee or diet coke
#ICanAdmit When your heart is happy, smiling comes easier.
I'm not perfect & I'm not suppose to be. So with my positivity there are still negative things I do but #ICanAdmit that can you?
On friendships and relationships:
#iCanAdmit I get jealous quick.
#ICanAdmit that every time you talk I seriously daydream about random things and I don't listen to one word you say
#iCanAdmit I do miss you but the friendship obviously meant nothing to you seeing that you threw it away with no problem or hesitation .
#iCanAdmit that I want a best friend like in the movies but we all know that will never happen
You can find out what I added to the conversation and feel free to share yours as well.
There seems to be this stigma, that unless you have a ton of friends you can't be happy. But that's simply not true. It's not the number of friends in your life that will make you feel less lonely, it's having someone, at least one person, that you can share a deep connection with.
Now, don't get me wrong, a lot of friends is nice. Sure it is. With a variety of friends, you'll put less pressure on your friends to always be there for you. You'll have a variety of opinions and things to do.
I bring this up because in a recent interview Brad Pitt said he really didn't have a lot of friends. He's not complaining about it though. He's stating honestly that his social circle is very small. He says:
"I have a handful of close friends and I have my family and I haven't known life to be any happier. I'm making things. I just haven't known life to be any happier."
Welcome to Monday, and another addition of small talk news items. These are bits of news I've found over the previous week that might make for good small talk as you make your way out and about in meeting with and talking to friends.
- Talking about money, and the hope to be rich one day from something like the lottery or a unique garage sale find, usually makes for some interesting small talk. This article about collectibles that could net you some serious coin may just be the ticket for that type of conversation. Ask friends what they would do if they were suddenly handed a windfall. You'll learn about their hopes, wants, and character.
- A man dead for 40 minutes was brought back to life.
- You know how much I love quotes, right? So that's why this story about quotes that have become slightly misquoted over the years was a good one.
- A 2,300 year old Mayan pyramid bulldozed? Really? We couldn't find somewhere else to build?
- Are you a fan of the Dallas Mavericks? You could help design their new uniforms.
- New flavors for Pop Tarts.
- A player from the San Francisco Giants returned $500,000 that mistakenly ended up in his contract.
- David Beckham is done with soccer. Wonder what he'll do now?
- I loved this story about a waitress that received this amazingly large tip. This is another way to show kindness to a stranger, especially (like in this situation) you're a regular. (Here are a few reasons being nice to strangers can actually help you with friendship.)
Facebook allows us to keep in touch with friends on a superficial level, but this isn't always a good thing. Social networking can ruin our friendships without us even realizing how detrimental it is at times.
Let me ask you: Has Facebook changed your friendships, either for good or bad? Check all that apply.
I've talked about this before. When you agree to sign up for something (anything), show up and do what you said you were going to do. This is being impeccable with your word (for those of you familiar with the Four Agreements) and also just something a good friend will do. Or, to put it more bluntly, something reasonable that you should do no matter who you agree to do it for (family, strangers, acquaintances, etc.)
I think we all agree to things at times when we're busy and we honestly think we want to do them but when the time comes for it to happen... we just skip it.
This behavior not only makes us look bad, it puts others in bad positions, too. You'll never know how, perhaps a year down the road, you will see or talk with someone that remembered you because you failed to show up when you said you were going to. Is that the way you want to start a friendship?
It's always interesting to me how rivals can become friends. I don't think it's unusual, especially when you have two rivals, or competitors, at the top of their game. They both share a passion for one specific thing, and even though they may be competing against each other, they have this shared interest that looms large between them.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs certainly had that kind of rivalry, but they respected each other. Eventually that respect turned toward friendship. I think theirs is a good example of how different people can add a different element of friendship to your life.
Gates says of Jobs: "He and I, in a sense, grew up together." They were close in age and "kind of naively optimistic and built big companies."
They were very aware of each other, they competed in the business world, and were rivals. And yet, they obviously respected one another. Gates said "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. I will miss Steve immensely."
I love Twitter on Fridays because that's when the #FridayReads hashtag trends. I'm always on the lookout for new books that people love, which is one reason I ask you all to share your favorite books as well.
I like to alert you to books that can improve your friendships, too. Some of your favorites here are MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche, and Toxic Friends by Susan Shapiro Barash. Did you know that you can write reviews on those books here? Let others know what you think.
But you'd be surprised at how many books that aren't "how to's" or even nonfiction works can teach you about friendship. For instance, I recently talked about The Four Agreements, and how you can apply those concepts to friendship.
And is there anything better than hearing about how real people (even when they're famous) deal with, think of, and handle friends? To that end, I've also suggested five great memoirs with strong lessons on friendship.
Many of you prefer to just read for enjoyment, and as if there's a lesson in there somewhere? Great. Most of all, though, you just want a good story. Well how about these ten novels that showcase friendship stories?
Sometimes a subject not specifically about friendship can also help you be a better friend. For example, these five books on happiness can help you be more content in life in general, and as a result you might want to figure out how to make your friendships happier or how to meet a wide variety of new people.
Don't forget to share your choices on Twitter, also.
I don't think it's so much the end of a friendship that bothers us sometimes (because we realize there was a problem of some sort) but when a friendship ends and we just didn't see it coming. We ask ourselves all kinds of questions about what happened. Why? What did I do?
We might even wonder if we'll ever find another friend like them. And while sometimes friendships do end by surprise, I also think there are times when it's more common for friendships to end than others. Here are a few of those times.