The other day I was going through a pile of papers and found some Christmas cards that didn’t get mailed. They were the ones that I didn’t have the addresses in my excel file so I had to hunt them down. I emailed friends and asked for addresses, they replied, but I never went back and addressed the envelopes and mailed them.
I’m like that a lot: I’ve written many letters that were never mailed, bought many cards that were never filled out, planned on inviting people over for dinner or something and never made the call, told people I’d pray about something and never prayed. If my intentions counted, I’d be one of the best friends ever… but since its my follow-through that matters, I know I sometimes come across as unthoughtful and disinterested.
I don’t say that to put myself down, it’s an imperfection that I’ll admit to. But in the spirit of pressing on, I will not accept it as just who I am. I’m trying to be more intentional with my relationships. If you are like me, here’s some things I’ve learned to improve in this area:
1. If someone asks me to pray for something, I do it immediately. Either out loud with them (even if it’s on the phone) or silently. When I read a prayer request on facebook or email, I pray immediately and respond “Praying now.” Oftentimes I’ll remember later and pray again, but even if I don’t, I’m assured that I kept my word.
2. Sending cards – www.tinyprints.com allows you to create a custom card and they will mail it directly to the recipient for you. No more buying a card and not mailing it! I’m sure other sites like snapfish and shutterfly does this as well. I also like to send e-cards. www.dayspring.com has some nice Christian ones.
3. Helping friends – I like to help friends when they need it, whether through babysitting, bringing a meal or something along those lines. But I’ve learned that when I ask friends to let me know if they need anything, they rarely do. So I’ve started being more specific and saying things like, “I noticed in your Caring Bridge post that your son has an appointment tomorrow, can your other son come play with us?” or “I know things have been a little hectic for you lately and I plan on bringing you a dinner this week, is Tuesday or Wednesday better?” I have a friend that when she brings a meal, she always brings a second one to heat up another day… I want to be that kind of friend who goes above and beyond.
4. When I am planning a girls night out or some type of party, I purposefully invite people who I know are going to be away or unavailable so they know they were thought of too. That way if their plans change they can come. (I used to not invite people to things that I didn’t think they could come to. But then I realized it was better to let them say no and know they were thought of then to have them think they weren’t included.)
5. I’m trying to pick up the phone more. Whenever I get in the car, I think who do I need to connect with and call them. I’m also texting more, just a quick, “Hi, I hope you’re having a great day.” to let someone know I’m thinking of them.
I don’t know if any of these tips are helpful to you, but in my process of trying to improve myself, I know this is an area I need to work on. So I press on to be a better friend, daughter, sister, wife…
Do you have any ways that have helped you be more intentional in your relationships? I’d love to hear them.