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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about relationships lately. I can’t seem to help it, as I am traveling with someone on my upcoming trip who holds a dear place in my heart.
Each and everyone of us, I believe, wants to feel special. Not necessarily special to everyone or a grand group, but to at least a handful of people who truly care as to how we are doing and would miss us terribly if we weren’t in their lives. I think how we treat those who are special to us is something we learn as a child, and I am so very thankful for my parents who modeled a behavior I try to emulate. My mother has always been thoughtful when it comes to small and big occasions and knowing when someone needs a little special something (not always gifts, but giving of her time, an ear to listen and most precious of all, her presence), and my father is always available with an extra hand. Neither expecting anything in return.
However, not everyone has such examples which is why it’s refreshing to know this is a learned behavior, and we can always change or improve how we go about showing those we care about how important they are to us.
While I will always be a proponent of independence and being able to stand on one’s own two feet, when we work with others toward the same goal, amazing results can transpire.
With that said, the misunderstanding when someone feels special to another, but the other’s actions don’t match what is said can be heart-wrenching.
As humans, when we become hurt, we become protective naturally as to prevent from being hurt in the same way again. Often many will hurt as a defense. After all, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of life, we can only really depend upon ourselves, and we must choose to trust others even when we’re not sure. Choosing to trust, knowing who to trust, can sometimes be daunting.
However, it is through this trial and error that we discover we can trust ourselves to better observe who will continually hurt us or place us second, and alternatively, who will always be there (even though there may be times of misunderstandings and unintentional inflictions of pain) no matter what happens.
As we all continue to build either the relationships we hold dear or improve upon past failed relationships, I’d thought I’d share today 46 ways to show someone how special they are in creating the most important part of the life we want to curate for ourselves. Some of the suggestions can work in a variety of different settings and relationships (work, family, friends, etc), but primarily my suggestions are for strengthening that relationship with your significant other.
Have a look, and please do share ways that you’ve found to express to someone that they are special in your life.
1. Turn to them when you’ve had a bad day.
2. Be specific in your compliments.
3. Always be their teammate, not more competition.
4. Open the door.
5. Tell them you believe in them. Applaud who they want to be and are becoming and don’t prey upon their insecurities.
6. Laugh with them.
7. Smile when you see them.
8. Remember details about them that they’ve shared in confidence.
9. Keep their confidence, have secrets between just the two of you. Establish trust.
10. Less texting to share feelings and more talking face to face which takes greater courage.
11. Point out what they do well.
12. Be their biggest cheerleader, not their critic.
13. Always have their back in group conversations, even if you don’t agree.
14. During arguments, turn toward each other. Even if it’s just to hold each other until you can make sense of your feelings. Don’t run away.
15. Brag about them to others even when they aren’t around.
16. Be willing to wait until they are ready – to talk, to share, to move forward, etc.
17. Ask them to teach you something that they are proud of accomplishing.
18. Remember their full name.
19. Show appreciation for the little and big things that they do.
20. Listen. Show you understand what they are going through by repeating some of what they’ve said back to them.
21. Set goals together.
22. Be kind.
23. Never point out flaws in public, and in private, focus on their positive qualities and build those up.
24. Just be together. Whether you are working in the yard together, reading the evening papers or simply just being, let the hours pass being in each others’ company. Much comfort can be found.
25. Let them know that they are enough. Life is full because they are in it.
26. Make their favorite meal, snack or drink.
27. Leave unexpected notes just because.
28. Offer to help before they ask.
29. Spend time together just the two of you.
30. When you tell them you love them, look into their eyes. Say it sincerely, not out of habit.
31. Place your hand on the swell of her back when escorting her to the car, into the restaurant, across the street, etc.
32. Respect their passions. Try to understand and learn more about them (you don’t have to like their passions, but try to understand why they do.)
33. Celebrate when they reach small or big milestones toward their personal or professional goals.
34. Let your actions mimic your words.
35. Give a hug just because you want to be close to them.
36. When you say you’ll do something, do it.
37. Arrive on time.
38. Never let them feel like the third wheel whether with friends, family or when meeting co-workers.
39. Experience things together without others’ involvement to build trust, establish more intimacy and gain a clearer understanding of how each other handles various situations.
40. When they’re wrong, don’t point it out. Let it go. Or simply say, “You may be right,” especially on minor things that don’t matter.
41. Let them vent without judgment.
42. Brush their hair out of their eyes or off their face.
43. Take photos together and print and frame them to give to them as a gift.
44. Tell them more than they expect to be told about work, friends, family, etc. Foster the feeling of inclusion, instead of exclusion.
45. Call just to see how their day is going.
46. Be their safe place, their rock, their #1 fan. Let them know that the relationship (and thus they) are your top priority as you create a life together, letting go of some of your old life that doesn’t foster that priority.