Tuesday, July 16, 2013
A few years ago, I learned that a friend and her husband had separated. She and I were more than acquaintances but less than confidantes--friends but not close friends. Without seeming to delve into her personal business, I wanted to let her know that I'd heard the news and was sorry to hear it. I wanted to be there for her, but I wasn't "that sort" of friend.
I made her a batch of Oreo Truffles. I feared it might be awkward, but I showed up at her house unannounced anyway. I told her I'd heard her news and wanted to do something, but since I didn't know what to do I brought her chocolate. She hugged me and thanked me. We are now "that sort" of friends. I don't know that the Oreo Truffles are solely responsible, but I'm pretty sure they helped.
I was reminded of this story today when I read The Holy Casserole at Baddest Mother Ever. "Feeding each other is what we do when no other comfort seems possible." Her comfort feeding stories made me chuckle knowingly but also reminded me of the importance of reaching out. A small gesture can be incredibly meaningful, whether in a time of crisis or in the everyday.
At a party a few weeks ago, I shared memories of moving to New England from the Midwest with a woman who had done the same. Moving from a city condo to a house in the suburbs, I had anticipated welcoming neighbors bearing plates of brownies. Didn't happen. Maybe it's just my neighborhood, but my husband and I found New Englanders nice but not friendly. Everyone we met was very pleasant, but no one made the extra effort.
I enjoyed talking to my fellow Midwesterner, and I hoped we would get the chance to do so again. Knowing that we shared mutual friends, I found her on a friend's Facebook list and sent her a friend request. Think of it as digital brownies. Yesterday, she invited me to join her for coffee or a cocktail sometime soon. When I take the first step to reach out to someone, I'm often surprised when the gesture is returned. Perhaps I should take more first steps.
The house next door has a new owner. When they move in, we'll be taking over a plate of home baked welcome. While we're at it, I think we'll take some to the recently widowed woman who lives across the street. We've been neighbors for six years, but that doesn't mean it's too late to take the first step.
It's never too late to do something nice for someone, and that small gesture might be the beginning of a friendship. That would be the best return on investment I could get.
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I have linked this post at Just Write.