Last month's task for the happiness project was "Make Time for Friends". This one is also a hard one for me as I am not an outgoing person nor do I have a ton of friends and never have. Although I will say I do have a new online pen pal and am looking forward to getting to know her better.
Some tips Gretchen gives us are: remember birthdays, be generous, show up, don't gossip, make three new friends.
Remember birthdays - go through your address book and ask everyone when their birthday is and put it on your calendar or use happybirthday.com (which is what Gretchen uses) and then send a card to let them know you remember them.
Be generous - this does not mean to just buy something but also helping. Here are some way to be generous. Here are some ways that Gretchen tells us how to be generous
- Help people think big - you can do this by encouraging them in what they are doing and with their goals. Be a cheerleader for them. "One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."
- Contribute in your way - be yourself help your friends out with something that you are good at doing. For example Gretchen is good at organizing so she helped a friend organize a closet
- Cut people slack - people's lives are more complicated then what we see on the outside. Do not judge people harshly especially on the first time you meet them.
Show up - Woody Allen says 80% of success is showing up. If your friend has a new baby - visit, sick - visit, important event - show up.
Don't gossip - this is a good one because nothing good comes out of gossiping.
Make three new friends - Gretchen made a checklist for herself to help with first impressions to help her make three new friends. Here is the list:
- Smile more frequently
- Actively invite others to join a conversation
- Create a a positive mood
- Try to look accessible and warm
- Open a conversation
- Show a vulnerable side and laugh at yourself
- Show a readiness to be pleased
- Follow other's conversational leads
- Ask questions