Sunday, November 30, 2008

Important to Somebody

When I was in high school I met a wonderful friend. Let’s call her “Maddie”. When I first met Maddie, I thought she was stuck up. I just figured that she was one of those girls who thought she was better than everyone else. Later in my high school life, I worked on a committee with Maddie and realized she wasn’t stuck up at all. In fact, she was SO totally the opposite and I couldn’t figure out how I came up with my mistaken impression.

As I think about it now, I think Maddie was just a little shy. Not shy-shy where she hyperventilated thinking about new people, but shy as in she was more comfortable waiting for others to approach her.

I get that. I am that way.

I love to meet new people, talk with others until our mouths are dry from conversation. But, I am hindered by my inability to feel comfortable approaching people. Unsure in my social graces.

So, self doubt clouds my vision and I often miss the opportunity to introduce myself to others. I am the same way when running into old acquaintances. Not really sure they will remember me, so I often walk on by wishing I had said hi.

I guess that there are many people like that. At least that is what I tell myself. Many who would like to talk to someone, would like a friend. And yet, for one reason or another, they go through the day without meeting someone new. Talking to a new friend – or old one for that matter.

But think about what one smile, one hello, could do for one’s soul.

Recently, we had a new family move into our ward. A wonderful family. Adorable parents. Adorable children.

The interesting thing about this family was the mom. I love her friendliness.

The family came to our ward a few weeks before their move to meet everyone. I was helping B adjust to nursery at that time and that is where I met the mother of this family. She introduced herself and asked my name. Not only that, but how to spell it. She talked comfortably. Openly. And instantly, I felt as though I had a long time friend.

It was almost as if I was the most important thing in the world to her. And it made me feel wonderful. Comfortable.

She did that with everyone.

Asking someone’s name. How to spell it. Using it over and over again until she got it in her head. Then, someone told me, she would go home and write down the names of everyone she met.

What if the whole world was like this new friend of mine? What if everybody were so interested in those they run into that they leave that person feeling more important. Noticed.

Imagine how far a kind word, a friendly comment can go.

And so, as I begin thinking about the end of the year and New Year’s resolutions ahead, I find myself longing to overcome my introvert side. I want to reach out to people like my friend does.
If we all left each person we met feeling just a little more important… what a wonderful world!


Sharla said...

What a great idea Kathy. I know what you mean about having a difficult time instigating conversation. But I think you ARE a very friendly and outgoing person. If you're shy, you hide it very well. Thanks for being my friend! said...

I am the same way! But this is so good. I imagine most people are that way and some have just practiced more to overcome it.
I'm going to practice.

Erin said...

I love people like that woman. Why can't I be more like her? I will try harder.

Natalie said...

I know exactly who you are talking about because she likes to make sure she spells everyones name right. She is amazing! Don't be too hard on yourself. Some people do have the gift of making friends quickly. Others take more time. You are a great friend to me. I appreciate the good example you have set for me. I am thankful to know you and often reflect on all the good you do.

Tina ♥ said...

So true. You never know what good friends you could be missing out on if you don't try! Thanks for the thoughts!

heather said...

I try really hard to be a person like your new friend. I have a list of names in my scriptures and I try to review names during sacrament and r.s. That is why I am usually found towards the back of the room, because that is where I can see who is and who isn't there.

I used to be a relatively shy person, and I was labeled as stuck up in high school because I didn't say hi to people, but it wasn't because I was stuck up it was because I had some serious problems going on at home and in some of my most important relationships and I was simply trying to get through one day at a time. The next year was a lot better for me -and I began to shake my stuck up reputation... so I learned a little something about people with that experience, and then later in high school -later as in the end of my senior year I had a class that was fairly laid back and almost all girls... including two of the varsity cheerleaders who happened to be on student council who had a million friends and were invited to all the parties -the kind that get nominated for prom queen... you know, so we were all talking one day... and that morning I had said Hi to one of them in passing, and that afternoon I found out that she loved it when people said Hi to her because it made her feel loved and then I realized Popular or not we are all after the same things in life. It changed my thinking a lot.