Memory is a Funny Thing

Over the past few days, I’ve found myself faced with a number of reminders of just how big an impact small gestures can have. It’s a small (perhaps even kind of cheesy) lesson, but bears repeating.

First: My mother-in-law is reading an early copy of MWF Seeking BFF, the book. (Available for pre-order now! {Had to get that in there.}) The book is a memoir—specifically of my year of 52 girl-dates, but more broadly of my life experience with friendship—and thus it references any number of my memories of meeting new friends. It touches on all the important players in my life, too, often revealing their own moments of BFF discovery. When my mom-in-law called to talk about the half of the book she has read, she seemed genuinely surprised at all the seemingly small memories I was able to recall. Especially a story she shared with me once, about the day, at three(ish) years old, when Matt met his lifelong BFF.

“Of course I remember!” I said. “I was listening.”

To her, it seemed such an inconsequential tale. Something funny but not significant. But it stuck with me, a small scene in my husband’s life that seemed to represent his own experience with best friendship.

Second: In preparation for some fun stuff coming up on this blog (ooooh, foreshadowing!), a friend sent me a note yesterday in which she referenced an email I wrote when we first met. While I was reading her message, I had to stop and really think about what email she could be talking about. I hadn’t thought about it again since that day I hit send. She described this email. which had to me seemed a natural response to a family emergency she was going through, as one of “the most encouraging emails I’ve ever read.”

Again, I literally hadn’t thought about that note in over a year. But clearly it stuck with her and hopefully helped her through a tough time, which was the point, after all.

There are so many moments in my life when I have every intention of writing a supportive email, buying a small token of gratitude or shooting off a quick ‘thinking of you’ phone call, and then I drop the ball. To-do lists, appointments, and schedules come up and I get distracted. Or Drop Dead Diva comes on and I get even more distracted. There’s no excuse. I have nice, friendly ideas but often seriously lack in follow-through. Yesterday’s reminder that these small gestures don’t go unnoticed, that it’s these tiny things that make an impact and slowly build up to a true friendship, was just the nudge I needed to amp up my execution.

It’s the little things, you know. This probably isn’t news to you, but one can always use a reminder.

So the lessons of the past few days? 1) When you reveal a bit of yourself, people are paying attention. What’s an insignificant tale to you might have great meaning to a new friend. 2) Small kindnesses aren’t for nothing. They are the things people remember.

Have you discovered these same lessons in your own life? Care to share your story?

I told you it might be a bit of a sappy lesson day! But what’s a bit of sentimentality between friends?

9 Comments

Filed under The Search

9 responses to “Memory is a Funny Thing

  1. This post reminded me of the book, Same Kind of Different Like Me, an account of the friendship between two unlikely people, Denver
    Moore and Ron Hall. Check it out. I think you would like this book.

  2. Karen A.

    I can recall my mother saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I think what she meant was if you have an impulse to take an action to help someone, do it. I agree, it is often things that you don’t intend to be significant, that were just the right word or action at just the right moment and did make a significant difference.

  3. Liz

    Someone else who loves Drop Dead Diva – hooray!
    I know my hubby won’t admit it – but he secretly likes it too, although he finds some of it annoying. But it’s such a delightful little escape, especially when you watch it ONDemand & forward through the commercials🙂

  4. I am a compulsive keeper of letters, notes, and paper kindnesses — even funny Post-It notes from co-workers. It probably wouldn’t occur to these people that, years later, I still revisit these things and associate fond memories with the random scribbles.

  5. Ana

    What a great (if sappy) reminder to not let these opportunities slip by us.
    This is actually kind of inspiring, thanks!

  6. Yeah I’ve been surprised that some friends remembered sweet things I said to them a while ago and small stuff like that. It definitely encourages me to keep those small acts of kindness up! It’s often more appreciated than we realize.

  7. First best of luck with your book. Will it be releasing globally?

    I totally agree. There are times when I mean to reach out but something else comes in the way and then it’s too late. Then there are other times, that I do it without thinking and the person comes back to with a really amazing story.

    Friends will listen to anything, so go ahead anytime🙂

    • Thank you! My book is available, as far as I know, in US, England, Canada… but no translations yet, as far as I know. Hope you can find it where you are!

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