There is a well-known writing mantra “show don’t tell” that applies equally well in life. What you show people with your actions informs them about you far more than what you tell them about yourself.
Now just to be clear I’m not advocating for less talking, anyone who has met me knows that I will pretty much narrate my entire day to anyone who’ll listen, but what I am saying is people need to SEE who you are, as well as hear it.
Most people who care about each other, friends and relatives alike, show their respect for one another by consulting each other on matters than concern them both.
It’s not always straightforward, admittedly.
When arranging to meet up most people stipulate a few available dates. Naturally, the other person won’t be able to make any of those dates, so they’ll then suggest some alternatives. You then both get out your diaries and 4 short hours later you’ll have arranged to meet 2 months on Wednesday!
That’s how most people do things. It is of course not how Grandad El Paso does things. He likes to start with an angry answer-phone message to suggest he’s not at fault.
Then he makes an offer you can’t refuse, but still might not receive.
Am I being unfair? I mean, sometimes he rings for a chat …when he’s stuck in traffic. Also, if he’s stuck on a train, or- no, it’s pretty much only when he’s stuck en-route somewhere. Nothing says “I love you” like “I had some time on my hands so I might as well”.
Still, when he does eventually turn up for a visit, every three months or so, it is of course the quality of the time we spend together that counts. When he walks through that door, looks me in the eye, waves his phone at me and says:-
I choose to believe that him doing his phone admin the second he walks through my door is just his way of letting me know he cares, because clearly he’s really inconvenienced himself to come and visit us.
Whilst I maintain that the dog is definitely Grandma’s favourite child, she does tell us and show us she cares, in a variety of ways. She voluntarily babysits (ha-ha fool!) and she brings us regular food parcels of fruit …although that could just be a comment on our eating habits?
Also she tells me I don’t open my windows often enough – which tells me that she cares enough to look over and check up on us. To maintain this beautiful ritual, and to let her know I care, I only open the ones she can’t see from her house.
So, if you want people to know who you really are, or you want them to know how much you care, don’t just tell them, SHOW them.