Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.
James M. Barrie:
I am looking forward to tomorrow when my Kiwanis Club will be hosting a group of good people for lunch in appreciation of their helping with some of our projects. Many have been with us as we honored the athletes at Special Olympics, they have cooked with us as we raised money to help make our area a better place, they have joined us when we helped families in need buy winter clothing for their children at Christmas, they have stood with us in freezing weather as we rang bells at Red Kettles for the Salvation Army, and they have done even more. These are not Kiwanis Club members; these are caring people who take advantage of the opportunity to help others. I am really grateful for all they do but I am just as pleased to have the opportunity for us to do it together for there is no better way to make new friends or to bond with old friends.
I was interviewed on a radio show last week and was asked about volunteerism and what it meant to me, in a specific example I said it provided us with a place to park our hearts and for me it is. But it is also a place to share the human experience I just wish those who are lonely or those who feel that their lives have lost their zest would do something with us or in their community for it is amazing how restorative sharing love can be.
If you want to make some new friends, join us, or if you can’t then follow the advice offered by one of my favorite people, Gretchen Ruben, her is what she wrote:
Ancient philosophers and scientists agree: strong social ties are the KEY to happiness. You need close, long-term relationships; you need to be able to confide in others; you need to belong; you need to get and give support. Studies show that if you have five or more friends with whom to discuss an important matter you’re far more likely to describe yourself as “very happy.” Not only does having strong relationships make it far more likely that you take joy in life, but studies show that it also lengthens life (incredibly, even more than stopping smoking), boosts immunity, and cuts the risk of depression.
“Okay, okay,” you’re thinking, “I get it -- but it’s not that easy to make new friends.” Here are some strategies to try, if you’re eager to make friends but are finding it tough:
1. Show up. Just as Woody Allen said that “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” a big part of friendship is showing up. Whenever you have the chance to see other people, take it. Go to the party. Stop by someone’s desk. Make the effort.
Also, the mere exposure effect describes the fact that repeated exposure makes you like someone better – and makes that person like you better, too. You’re much more likely to become friends with someone if you see him or her often.
2. Join a group. Being part of a natural group, where you have common interests and are brought together automatically, is the easiest way to make friends: starting a new job, taking a class, having a baby, joining a congregation, or moving to a new neighborhood are great opportunities to join a group. If those situations aren’t an option, try to find a different group to join. An added advantage to making friends through a group is that you can strengthen your friendships to several people at once -- very helpful if you don't have a lot of free time.
3. Form a group. If you can’t find an existing group to join, start a group based around something that interests you. Studies show that each common interest between people boosts the chances of a lasting relationship, and also brings about a 2% increase in life satisfaction. Movies, wine, cheese, pets, marathon-training, a language, a worthy cause…I know people in all these sorts of groups.
4. Say nice things about other people. It’s a kind way to behave; also, studies show that because of the psychological phenomenon of spontaneous trait transference, people unintentionally transfer to you the traits you ascribe to other people. So if you tell Jean that Pat is arrogant, unconsciously Jean associates that quality with you. On the other hand, if you say that Pat is hilarious, you’ll be linked to that quality.
5. Set a target. This strategy sounds very calculating, but it has really worked for me. When I enter a situation where I meet a new set of people, I set myself the goal of making three new friends. This seems artificial, but somehow, this shift makes me behave differently, it makes me more open to people, it prompts me to make the effort to say more than a perfunctory hello.
6. Make an effort to smile. Big surprise, studies show that the amount of time you smile during a conversation has a direct effect on how friendly you’re perceived to be. In fact, people who can’t smile due to facial paralysis have trouble with relationships.
7. Make friends with friends-of-friends. “Triadic closure” is the term for the fact that people tend to befriend the friends of their friends. So friends-of-friends is an excellent place to start if you’re trying to expand your circle.
Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.
(Notes pinned to the pillow of a mother who has the flu by a well meaning husband who has inherited the house and kids.)
Monday A.M. Dearest: Sleep late. Everything under control. Lunches packed. Kids off to school. Menu for dinner planned. Your lunch is on a tray in refrigerator: fruit cup, finger-sandwiches. Thermos of hot tea by bedside. See you around six.
Tuesday A.M. Honey: Sorry about the egg rack in the refrigerator. Hope you got back to sleep. Did the kids tell you about the Coke I put in the Thermoses? The school might call you on this. Dinner may be a little late. I'm doing your door-to-door canvas for liver research. Your lunch is in refrigerator. Hope you like leftover chili.
Wednesday A.M. Dear Doris: Why in the name of all that is sane would you put soap powder in the flour canister! If you have time, could you please come up with a likely spot for Chris's missing shoes? We've checked the clothes hamper, garage, back seat of the car and wood box. Did you know the school has a ruling on bedroom slippers? There's some cold pizza for you on a napkin in the oven drawer. Will be late tonight. Driving eight Girl Scouts to tour meatpacking house.
Thursday A.M. Doris: Don't panic over water in hallway. It crested last night at 9 P.M. Will finish laundry tonight. Please pencil in answers to following:
1. How do you turn on the garbage disposal?
2. How do you turn off the milkman?
3. Why would that rotten kid leave his shoes in his boots?
4. How do you remove a Confederate flag inked on the palm of a small boy's hand?
5. What do you do with leftovers when they begin to snap at you when you open the door? I don't know what you're having for lunch! Surprise me!
Friday A.M. Hey: Don't drink from pitcher by the sink. Am trying to restore pink dress shirt to original white. Take heart. Tonight, the ironing will be folded, the house cleaned and the dinner on time. I called your mother. have a great day.
A man's best friend is his dogma.
THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE
2000 BC: Here, eat this root
1000 AD: That root is heathen. Say this prayer.
1850 AD: That prayer is pure superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 AD: That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 AD: That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic
2000 AD: That antibiotic doesn't work any more. Here, eat this root.
Nothing is fool-proof to a talented fool.
She said, as the bus pulled away, I realized I had left my purse under the seat. Later I called the company and was relieved that the driver had found my bag. When I went to pick it up, several off-duty bus drivers surrounded me. One man handed me my pocketbook, two typewritten pages and a box containing the contents of my purse. "We're required to inventory lost wallets and purses," he explained.
"I think you'll find everything there." As I started to put my belongings back into the pocketbook, the man continued, "I hope you don't mind if we watch. Even though we all tried, none of us could fit everything into your purse. And we'd like to see just how you do it."
Don't worry about temptation -- as you grow older, it starts avoiding you.
A local priest and pastor stood by the side of the road holding up a sign that said, "The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it's too late!" They planned to hold up the sign to each passing car.
"Leave us alone you religious nuts!" yelled the first driver as he sped by.
From around the curve they heard a big splash.
"Do you think," said one clergy to the other, "we should just put up a sign that says 'bridge out' instead?"
Kindness trumps greed: it asks for sharing.
Kindness trumps fear: it calls forth gratefulness and love.
Kindness trumps even stupidity, for with sharing and love, one learns.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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The editor is somewhat senile.
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