I know it’s hard sometimes. It feels like we do a lot and have virtually no affect on the things we’d like to change.
A few years ago, I got a Facebook friend request from a guy with whom I’d gone to grad school. We’d lost touch the moment we both graduated. I accepted the friend request, thinking not much of it because we weren’t very close. Within a few minutes of accepting the request, I noticed I had a message notification.
“Hi! Thanks for accepting my friend request. I just wanted you to know that I think about you all the time.”
My heart stopped. Was this going to be one of those life-changing messages? A long-lost acquaintance confesses to secret love and the romance of my life begins…now?!
The message went on to say that the reason he thought about me all the time was not at all what I imagined from that headline.
When we were in school together, Sean was a stage manager. Pretty much daily, he would officiously march into office where I worked, with his clipboard tucked under one arm, and launch into the laundry list of things he needed from me or the office. I was by turns and amused and annoyed with his characteristically “stage manager-y” tone.
Finally, one day, I stopped him dead in his tracks and said, “Sean, Imma need you to pause before you unleash your list of demands and just have a moment of human interaction with me. Maybe tell me about those cool, new socks you’ve got on or ask me what I’m eating for lunch. It would be so much nicer and easier to work with you if every time we see each other wasn’t so transactional. Just a quick check-in is all I’m asking.”
Sean’s email nearly ten years after we graduated was to say that this advice had served him well in the professional world. Even though he wasn’t a stage manager anymore and now worked in business, he always took the time to talk to the people on his team. Sean could tell what a difference it had made in his professional relationships.
For me, it was one of those moments they always say happens, but which you don’t always get to really know about. The things we say matter. We make ripple affects with our actions. Never forget that.