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Do you have a friend who always leaves you feeling uplifted? Who seems to know the best things to say to cheer you up? Or makes you feel like truly care about things going on in your life? I hope the answer to any of those is yes, because those friends are awesome and it is nice to have people like that in your life. Those friends know how to encourage others. And if you are like me, you have wanted to make other people feel as encouraged as your friend does for you.
So how can you better encourage others?
It is a simple concept really, and I will share several easy action items that you can put in place this week to start making strides.
The most basic foundation of building relationships is listening to the other person. So often I find myself in conversations, not listening to the other person, but formulating what I am going to say next. I have a friend that is SO GOOD at listening. And she will remember small details, like if I have a big meeting coming up at work, or when my daughter’s doctor’s appointments are. She might write those things down in her planner, but she will reach out and ask me about how they went. It is super touching because I then know that she was really listening to me and cared about what I had to say. The simple act of listening to someone can be so encouraging.
Write a “No Reason” note
My mom, as most of our moms do, was huge on thank you notes. We wrote thank you notes for everything. Even when I was in the hospital a month ago, my mom was writing down every flower arrangement and cookie delivery that came in so I could write thank you notes for them. But thank you notes are an exchange. They are nice to get in the mail, but they don’t always give you that super warm feeling. A ‘No Reason’ note is one that wasn’t written to because the other person gave you something. It is written purely to do something nice for someone else. And they are awesome to receive. You can write a short note, a joke or a 3-page letter. Your friends will feel super encouraged just getting a ‘no reason’ note from you.
Pro Tip: Keep a box of blank note cards in your desk so you always have some at the ready when find an opportunity to encourage someone with a “No Reason” note. Here are some cute cards with positive notes on the front!
Sometimes, one of the most encouraging things you can do for someone is pray for them. They don’t even have to know about it! When my family went through a rough spot a couple years ago, there were several people who reached out (some who I hadn’t spoken to in years) and let me know they were praying for us. I was honestly floored by their support and the idea that they would be thinking about my family and asking God to encourage us. Add your friends to your prayer list and make it an active part of your day to lift them up to God.
Take Interest in Their Hobbies
I imagine all of your friends have several varied interests, even one or two interests that you may not understand (like how some of you enjoy cats). But if those hobbies mean a lot to your friend, take a genuine interest in it. Ask questions (“So how many types of tabby cat are there?”). Participate in their activities (“Lunch at the Cat Cafe?”). And keep up with them about it (“Oh, you got another cat?”). If their hobby/interest means a lot to them, it will stand out when you show support.
When you are talking to one of your friends this week, listen and take note of something that they have coming up. It can be a meeting that is making them nervous, an event they are excited about, or just the stress of a busy week. Then write them a note or call them to catch up about the event, or check in on how their week is going. Just be sure to mention something specific from your conversation!
Before I wrap this up, I wanted to share an interesting tidbit that I found while researching for this post.
I did a search, via our good friend Google, to find articles on encouragement to inspire me for this topic. And through pages and pages of entries that came up, the results were overwhelmingly from Christian websites or blogs. I don’t believe that encouraging others is a Christian only act, but it did make me think about what our world would be like if we, as Christians, would be as encouraging as the results on Google made us seem to be.
So often I find myself wanting to get out of conversations as quickly as possible, especially when they involve people that I don’t always agree with. But that is the exact opposite of what God would want me to do. So, if you are a Christian, lean in more this week, especially with people who may not have the same mindset as you. Let’s change the world, one encouraging ‘no reason’ note at a time.
In what ways to others encourage you? Do you have any cute ideas to encourage others? Let me know in the comments below!