I’ve been a fan of author and speaker Shauna Niequist since a friend recommended her book Cold Tangerines as a book club read a couple of years ago. I admire her passion for creating and cultivating community, the way she strives for transparency, and her ability to address seemingly everyday topics in insightful, heartfelt ways. She just feels real, you know? Like she wants the version of herself that the world sees to actually be, well, herself. It sounds simple, but isn’t nearly prevalent enough.
I saw a piece by Shauna posted on Donald Miller’s Storyline Blog the other day, and was immediately drawn in based on just the headline: “Why It Doesn’t Matter How You Feel About Your Friends.” The main takeaway: Don’t assume your friends and loved ones know how you feel about them. TELL THEM you love them. SHOW THEM you love them.
“It’s so easy for me to feel warm, loving thoughts about friends or family members…and then go on about my day, never reaching out, sending a text, or setting a date to connect. I think about them all the time, pray for them, and watch the details of their lives spool out over Facebook—first day of school photos, last moments of summer photos. I feel connected and warm, full of affection for these lovely people. But how on earth would they know that?”
The idea seems like common sense, but it really is easy to just live your life and forget to remind the people you care about the most that you admire them, love them, miss them, whatever. Despite the many modes of communication we have at our fingertips — text, email, social media, phone calls, carrier pigeon, and more — it’s easy to get wrapped up in life without using them to reach out to our favorite folks.
And it’s more than just telling them you love them — it’s showing it, too. Granted, we all have our different personalities and “love languages” and the like, which means we communicate our emotions and affection differently, but, when you think about it, a key component of “being a good friend” involves letting people know you’re their friend. It’s that simple. That can manifest itself in helping a pal with a move, taking initiative to invite a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with out for coffee, rearranging your busy schedule to make time for a friend going through a rough spot, or just sending a “Hey — I think you’re pretty great” text on an average Monday afternoon.
All this to say, I hope the special people in my life know how much I appreciate their love and friendship. I hope they feel treasured by me, and that I do a good job of reminding them of just how much I love them. Thanks, Shauna, for reminding me to take the time not just to love my friends and family, but to SHOW them how much I love them.