Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year's Resolution

Relationships are odd. Friends, dates, spouses, acquaintances, all have their own language in which nuances of action or speech are open to interpretation and misinterpretation by the people we care about. Not only what you say and do, but the timing and tone all speak volumes - whether or not the message is intended. Sensitivity to this interplay is sometimes useful, but more often problematic. Too often, we don't say anything because we're afraid of saying the wrong thing. We don't offer to help someone, because we're afraid it might be misinterpreted. We don't reach out to people we've hurt because we think they probably don't want to hear from us. We don't buy the stupid gift or give the stupid compliment or even make the phone call because we just don't want to look like idiots. Or (more often in my case) I follow my impulse and then spend weeks wondering whether or not I came off as too weak, too awkward, too . . . whatever.

A few months ago, I started trying out a new approach. After a conversation with a friend this morning, I think I'm going to adopt it as my official New Year's Resolution:

I will never regret an act of kindness, even if it makes me look like an idiot.

I'll let you know how it works out.

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