I like a lot of things about myself. I'm honest, a decent listener, an above-average tipper, and friendly when I want to be. But, I confess - there's a type of person I want to be.
I want to be that person who is always there when you need them. Who always sends a note when you need encouragement, knows when to offer to help you out, compliments you on your worst day without even knowing how you feel, and gives a lot of themselves to other people.
The same way I had to learn to say "Thank you for having me over, Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so" as a child, I find myself as an adult needing to learn the social norms of generosity. Being a good friend and a better person. It isn't ingrained in me, and it doesn't come naturally.
I don't know if it's my only-childness, how my brain works, or some combination. When you tell me something is going badly with you, I care, I promise, but I tend to think that you will tell me about the bad stuff if you want to, and if you don't, I should change the subject to something else, like me or the weather. But adult women like to talk. We just need prodding sometimes, and some extra questions, and a little extra time. I'm working on giving all of that.
I'm also working on trying to be the initiator. Perhaps we are all a little scared of our invitations being declined, or we all just assume everyone is busy, but I think a lot of people are shy about inviting people to do things. I know I get that way; I assume if you wanted to hang out, you would ask. But if you assume the same thing about me that I assume about you, will we ever see one another? Not likely. So I am trying to keep track of who I haven't seen in a while, who I want to see, and what that person likes to do. I want to initiate because I want to be friends. I want to initiate email conversations with blog friends when time and content permit.
I forget to send follow-up texts when I know friends have had a job interview, I don't remember dates well at all, and my brain doesn't switch in to "helping out" mode when I'm visiting someone's home. I hate that! I want to be the person who is thoughtful and caring and is there when you need me. It doesn't come naturally, but it's something I want to change. I want to make the effort to be that person.
I envy people for whom empathy and generosity seem organic - they don't to me. I keep tallies in my head when people buy me things and I want to repay them - beyond birthdays or Christmas, it's hard for me to accept something "just because." I am not particularly giving, but I should be: I mean, I have so much and I am very fortunate, but other than donating things that I no longer need or want, my giving spirit is pretty non-existent. I want my heartstrings to be tugged at and to give with a happy heart, not because Sarah McLachlan songs and sad puppy eyes made me do it.
This is one of my struggles, and while there are many other, more real struggles out there, this is something I don't like about myself, something that I can change. And I should! I'm working on asking the follow-up questions of friends, thinking of what I can do to be of help to others, and even giving too big of a bill for two cookies at a charity bake sale at work (baby steps, people. Rome wasn't built in a day.). I want to be that person, and even more, I want it to come naturally. Just like thanking someone who has me in their home is now automatic, I want the rest of it to follow. After all, who doesn't want to add to the things they like about themselves list?
Linking up with Kathy and Steph!