I sent a friend a present recently. It wasn’t their birthday. It wasn’t Christmas. I just knew it had been a tough couple of weeks for them so i decided to surprise them with a small little something. Hand wrapped. Bow tied. “Thinking of you” in perfect cursive on the side and delivered to their doorstep.
Now I don’t want to stroke my own ego but it was the adorable kind of gift I wish I got more of (go me!). Prospective friends, take note.
But more than a month on and I still don’t know if that friend ever did read that note. Or untie that bow. Or whether they smiled at all, at that small little something.
Why? Well, because I never got a thank you. Of any sort.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy gifts for the recognition. I buy them because I genuinely love making people smile (and also I’ve kind of run out of all wardrobe space in my house to give in to my retail-therapy tendencies)
I love knowing that I’ve come to know a friend so well, that I know exactly the thing that will make their day – even if for a mere moment.
And it’s really thrown me.
I mean a simple thank you is so … well, simple. Isn’t it? In a text. On Facebook. Hell, god forbid, on the actual phone! When did that become so hard?
Sure, I hated when my mum when would drag to the wall bound telephone when I was a kid and force me to talk to some faraway relative to say thanks for some hideous birthday present I really didn’t like much – I mean why would a 12 year old girl want to wear a blouse? Voluntarily? I mean where do you even buy blouses in that size?!
But you did it. You held that phone to your ear as your mum stood beside you, listening on as you learnt the art delivering white lies convincingly; “I love it! Thanks Zia!”
To this day I still l haven’t worn that blouse. I also still haven’t thrown it away (which could explain the aforementioned wardrobe space issue). But looking back, I see that as much as I hated it at the time, I get it now.
It’s the smallest act of kindness to recognise that … well, someone thought of YOU. They took the time to put their life on hold, even for just a few minutes – in my case to visit a middle-aged woman’s clothing store – to do something to let you know you you’re important. And that is something truly worth recognising.
Don’t worry friends, I won’t stop buying gifts: god knows I love a happy friend when I see one. But I’m probably going to question how much time I should spend on you, if you’ve stopped saying “thanks”.