(I am away on vacation/study break during the month of July. The posts that appear during the month are from the archives.)
A few suggestions for upgrading relationships:7. Get out of your recliner and get into the game. Some people live in a mental and emotional recliner. That is, they sit back and watch life happen. They watch their marriage sink, long ago losing any real emotional connection with their spouse. They watch as their children lose any sense of an emotional connection with dad (or mom). Yet, they just passively sit in their mental recliner and watch it happen.If this is you, let me encourage you to get up. Make a move. Pay attention to your spouse or children. Show interest in what seems to interest them. Ask questions. Look for something, anything, which you can affirm and even compliment.
8. Be gracious. Living graciously is about living in such a way as to express grace in all that we do. Gracious people are quick to give credit and are slow to boast.
Gracious people never seek to humiliate or embarrass another. Upgrade your relationships by toning down the sarcasm and cutting remarks. So many people are rude, critical, and curt. When we are around such people, our thoughts and words may mirror what we hear from these people. Give your family and friends a gift today. Let them experience life in the presence of a gracious person. They may find this to be very refreshing.
9. Be thoughtful in the little things. Well, on second thought they may only be “little” to the offender. For example:
*One evening, a couple picks up pizzas for themselves and three other families who are getting together. This couple is glad to pick up the pizzas for their friends. They know that as soon as they walk in the door with these pizzas, two of these families will almost immediately reimburse them for the expense. One of the other families, however, will probably say nothing about reimbursing them. This has happened more than once. Meanwhile, a few of these couples feel taken for granted by this family.
*Several friends are going to the basketball game together. This is a big game that has been sold out for several weeks. They all planned to meet at one person’s home and then drive to the game together. That evening, five of the six friends arrived at the home where they would drive to the game together. Everyone was there but one person — the friend who had the tickets. She called to say that she would be there in five minutes. Twenty five minutes later she arrived saying that she had been “running late.” The group was late to the game. Some in this group were very frustrated with their friend. She is constantly late and doesn’t seem to respect their time. To make matters worse, she doesn’t think that her lateness is a big deal. Yet, again and again, her friends end up waiting on her.
Sometimes, relationships receive an upgrade when we realize that paying attention to the “little” things may be a big thing to someone else.
What seemingly small action or practice can a person take in relationships that might, in fact, be very, very significant to another person?