Growing up I was always quiet and shy. I had a hard time making friends. I think it was because I moved around a lot since my dad was in the service. So when we finally settled in one place after he retired, I had to learn the skill of friendship around age 12. It was rough. Kids were mean. I was shy. Every day someone poked fun at me or ignored me. That went on through high school as well which didn’t help my self-esteem at all. I decided I would watch what I said to others because I didn’t want anyone to feel like I had felt growing up.

Many times we don’t even realize when we are treating someone wrong. We may not intentionally ignore someone. We may just be focused on what we are doing or thinking. We may not realize the look we have on our face that is serious or sour. But those around us do see it. What they see is an unhappy person. What they see is someone who doesn’t seem to care about them. That is why we need to be sure when we are with others, we are thinking about them and showing them we care. Here are some ways to do that:

BE AWARE

So many times we are wrapped up in our own world. We are thinking about what we have to do. We are looking ahead at tomorrow and what all is going on. We aren’t focusing at all on the moment we are in right now. We can change though. We can be in the moment. We can notice our family is in the room with us and put the phone down. We can observe someone who is standing next to us in line at the store and speak and smile at them. We can think about someone who is going through a hard time and give them a call or visit them. When we are more aware of the needs of others and take action, they will know we care.

LISTEN

We are people who tend to talk more than listen. Usually when the other person is talking we are thinking about what we are going to say next. Listening is a skill. It requires effort. Listening to others means to take the focus off of us and put it on them. When we listen to someone, we can get to know them, their needs and determine how we can help. When others are talking, let them finish. Then ask questions that help them open up so we can determine what they really need.

PRAY

I have recently learned that if I want to remember people’s names and make friends, I need to pray for them. This helps me focus more on them and their needs and helps me show a more caring attitude toward them. Praying for others is something we can do that doesn’t take long but pays out big dividends. When we pray for someone, we are showing God we care about them and want to help them.

There are people in need everywhere we go. When we are more aware of those around us, when we listen to them and when we pray for them, God is going to help us know how to best help them. We should make a list of people who we know and begin to pray for a better relationship with them trusting God to answer and show us what we need to do next.

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