Recently I was out running errands, with my mind in a thousand places. While I was out, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We chatted for just a moment, then each went our own way. But that short exchanged made an impact on me; I walked away with a big smile on my face and the happiest feeling in my heart.
Because: This friend.
This friend is just one of those people who make you feel great. She shows genuine interest me and my family. She smiles and looks at me with eyes that truly care. When I talk to her I have no doubt that she genuinely cares about me and what we’re talking about. And she always leaves me feeling better than she found me.
Do you have a friend like that?
Seeing this friend left me thinking about things. And I couldn’t help but wonder: How do people feel after they’ve spent time with me?
We all want to make a good impression on people, but I think without realizing it we can confuse what it is that makes a “good” impression.
And all too often we attempt to make a good impression by being impressive.
Most of us don’t do this forthrightly (we’re way too humble for that, right? :)) but subconsciously we attempt to project our best selves, don’t we? We want our hair to be in place and our home to be clean. We try to look our best and sound our best, so even in a short conversation we might slip in a few things to make ourselves sound good. If we’re having guests in our home we will kill ourselves (and sometimes the kids too) to make sure things are tidy and clean.
What does this do for people? What does it do for us?
Being presentable or having a clean home is not wrong in and of itself, it’s the motivation behind it that has me thinking…
And I’m pretty sure that much of the time, we are mostly concerned about what people think of, when they think about us.
But really: What is it we want them to think?
Do we want them to think about how impressive we look, talk, or act? Do we hope to intimidate people by how together we can be? (I hope not because people like that aren’t much fun to be around!)
OR…do we want to be the kind of person that makes people’s day better just by being around us? Someone that people are drawn to…want to spend time with…feel welcomed and loved and inspired by?
I’ll take the latter any day.
Try doing this little drill with me:
(I also had my boys do this–)
Think about a home you have loved going to more than any other for a meal or a visit. Maybe this will take you back to Grandma’s house or a childhood friend or maybe it’s someone currently in your life. Now think about WHY. Was it because their super-clean home impressed you? Was it because there wasn’t a dish in the sink or a crumb on the floor? (I’m guessing no.) Even if their home was shiny and clean, I have a feeling that had nothing to do with what you loved about being there.
I’m guessing that you felt warm and welcome there. I’m guessing someone fed you something delicious or offered you a warm cup of coffee or a listening ear or a hug when you really needed it. I’ll bet there was something pleasant in the air–music or laughter, a refreshing breeze or a warm fire. You loved that place because of how it made you feel.
Now think about the people in your life who have left you with a big smile and a happy heart. Was it because they were polished and lovely? Was it because you were so impressed as they rattled off all of their family’s recent accomplishments or accolades? (I’m guessing no.)
I’m guessing the person made you feel loved and special. They encouraged you or built you up, or just showed enough interest in you that in some way made your day better. The person likely said very little about themselves but asked you questions and made you feel like you mattered greatly.
When I bumped into my friend, she wasn’t completely put together. In fact, she was wearing sweatpants and her hair was in a messy bun. And even more: I don’t think she thought for a second about how she looked. Or what she was wearing. Or anything else about her self.
Why? Because she was focused on ME.
And when I left her I thought of her as the most beautiful person ever. I think of this friend as exuding confidence and maturity and charm.
This makes sense because it’s been proven: we tend to associate people who show interest in us with all kinds of great qualities, even if they’re mostly quiet. (Something to take note of for sure.)
So this week I am pondering what it means — not to impress people, but to leave an impression on people.
Two quotes that just hit the spot on this topic this week:
And a forever-favorite of mine…
Thanks for letting me share my little personal inspiration with you. 🙂
In comments I’d love for you to share about someone who has been this kind of friend to you, or impressed you in this way. (It was fun for me to hear my boys describe the people in their lives who are like this, and how they want to be that way too.)
**If this post encouraged you, I hope you’ll share it with friends or on social media using the share buttons (or pinning.) Thank you!
PS LIFE CREATIVE BOOK GIVEAWAY!! Thank you all so much for the most beautiful comments after last week’s post. I enjoyed reading about you, your creativity, and how you fit it into life (or hope to more one day!) I randomly chose two names to send a free book to.
The winners are: HEATHER S. and SHANNON! (I’ll be emailing both of you as well!) Congrats! For the rest of you, I do hope you’ll get your hands on LIFE CREATIVE and be blessed!