Social Graces: Make the Effort: Send the Birthday Card, Bake the Banana Bread and Visit

My friend L. just moved from Boston to Albany and gave birth to twins.  It’s been almost four months since they were born, and I pictured myself cooking for L. and helping with the babies the first month of their life.  With older kids in school, a toddler, work and everything else, I kept putting off the visit.  I finally realized there would be no perfect time to visit, but I found a nearly perfect time.  My husband was home for the week, L.’s husband was away.   I spent two nights getting to know her gorgeous twins and enjoying her bubbly 4 year-old daughter.  Sure, I helped: I unloaded the dishwasher.  I made pizza one night.  I held babies.  But most of all, I kept L. company and we caught up on our friendship.

The last night of the visit, we stayed up late talking and she told me how happy she was that I made the effort to come visit.  I told her I’d forgotten how much a new mom needs help, even though I should know. 

One of our new neighbors has a rebout with cancer.  I don’t know her and planning the logistics of cooking a meal for their family seems intrusive.  But who doesn’t like muffins?  I could drop off some muffins.

L. & I also talked about the social graces we’ve had fall by the wayside lately.  I have been terrible about calling or sending cards for nieces and nephews, but ironically being diligent about posting a Happy Birthday message on Facebook for people I worked with 10+ years ago and didn’t really know that well. 

Work friends from 10 years ago may warrant a Facebook Happy Birthday posting.  Good friends and family deserve a call or a card.   A mom having her third or fourth baby doesn’t need a baby shower, but she does deserve a visit to admire the baby or a pretty, thoughtful (how about letterpress?) card to welcome the new addition.  Attending a wake is hard to do, but standing in line to offer condolences in person is something I never regret taking the time to do.

Genuine, thoughtful and kind social graces matter.  

ImageAre there any thoughtful ways you reach out?

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