5 Little Things You Should Stop Doing Before You Drive People Away

Often we hear about the little things you can do to make someone’s day or your day better and generally these little things add up to the happiness you can potentially create for yourself and for the people around you.

At the same time, there are also the little things that we don’t realize we’re doing that are actually making someone’s day worse off. As it accumulates, it creates frustration in others that it might one day jeopardize your relationship with them. You wouldn’t even know why they’re beginning to stay away from you.

While we can afford to NOT notice the nice little things we do for others, we cannot afford to ignore our tiny actions that are causing problems, big or small, for others. So, if you don’t realize it, it’s time to take a look at these 5 little things you may be doing to your family and friends and it’s definitely a time to:

  1. Stop wasting people’s time…or life.

Be punctual. You know very well that you won’t be late on purpose if you were to go for a job interview or to meet an important client, then why are you doing that to your family and friends? Are they so insignificant in your life that you have to make them wait around for you?

Decide. Whether it’s deciding something to eat or making a decision at work, make up your mind already! At work in particular, when others’ work are depending on your decision or completion of work from your side, it’s not fair at all that they have to wait around for you.

  1. Stop looking at your phone when people are talking to you.

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You’re not going to be at your deathbed wishing you would have spent more time with your freaking phone or Facebook! Besides, it’s rude to be staring at your phone when people are talking to you and then having to repeat what they said because you didn’t hear them at first as you were so busy checking on the news feed of those who are not even there with you! Again, back to point one, you’re wasting people’s time. If you prefer to spend time with your phone, don’t bother asking your friends out to catch up, just get them on Whatsapp or Facebook messenger. At least that way they will have your attention.

  1. Stop making last minute changes that involve others having to change their plan for you.

Plan ahead. Unless it’s a matter of life and death, don’t make last minute changes that require other people to drop everything else they could have planned to attend to your needs. Do you think whoever you are or whatever you do is so important that the world revolves around you? They have a life too, you know.

  1. Stop taking advantage of your friends’ skills.

So your friend is a lawyer and you think you could get some legal advice and the next thing you know, she’s representing you at court free of charge. Then you have a friend who does photography, you asked him for a small favour to take some professional shots of you for work purpose and next, he’s at your wedding taking pictures day till night, then editing them without being paid.

There’s a huge difference between a friend in need of a favour and a cheapskate. If you need to put your friends’ professional skills to full use, pay them! I’m sure they’ll be happy to do that with full commitment to quality as well as giving you a big fat discount in the name of friendship and your support.

  1. Stop thinking your beliefs are facts.

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Just because you believe it wholeheartedly for all your life doesn’t make it a fact. So what if the beliefs have been in existence for centuries? Long time ago, every single soul on the planet believed the earth was flat, it didn’t make it so. So, there’s a strange light in an abandoned old house at night, there must be a spirit dancing about? Puh-lease.

Don’t be scornful at skeptics just because you’re too darn lazy to seek out the facts. If there are no skeptics in this world who ask questions and refuse to believe blindly, nobody would be boarding ships today for fear of falling off the face of the earth.

Agree to disagree and respect what others believe in if you want people to respect your beliefs. That, my friend, is what we call open-mindedness.

You might think all of the above are affecting only one or two person but you couldn’t be more wrong. It can create a chain of unpleasant events for everyone else. I’ve been the victim of inconsiderate people. As a result, my family and friends are affected as well. They think I’m being inconsiderate for the very same reasons:

  • I have to change my plan due to some last minute changes made by others
  • I’m late because I got delayed by someone who was late
  • I have to be a cheapskate because I don’t make any money since I was busy working for free.
  • I spread a false belief to others without checking the facts because the person I talked to was thumping his chest and swore it was the truth and nothing but the truth!
  • I walked into a lamp post because my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing with messages from a friend who couldn’t stop texting me while she was having dinner with her family.

You get the picture now?

So, all I’m trying to say is to be considerate. It doesn’t kill any of your brain cells to just take a moment and think of others each time you want to do something.

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(This is post #3, a part of My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge)

Reviving My Letter Writing Days

A couple of days ago, I put up the following status about how I used to write to my pen pals before Facebook came along.

This was not the first time I put up my status about writing and receiving letters. I did it once before and I generated similar comments where people actually enjoy receiving written letters. Sadly, we only enjoy receiving them and not writing them. We’re so distracted with everything that’s on the web that we hardly take the time to focus on just one thing at a time, let alone writing a letter to someone.

What’s the purpose of spending 20 minutes writing a letter, then put it in the envelope and sticking a stamp on it, then another 20 minutes or more going to the post box to drop it. Not to mention, when you’re out of stamps, you need to go to the post office to purchase it. We just see it as too much hassle. On the receiving end, we have to wait for days or sometimes weeks for overseas mail to receive a response for our letters. An email or a Facebook message would have been faster.

But I refuse to let these so-called excuses stop me from doing what I love. This time around, it’s different for me. I don’t want to talk about it anymore when I can make an effort to do something about this “lost hobby.” A friend commented that people actually created a community of pen pals where they write letters and send each other postcards and small gifts.

She then recommended that I join Penpalling and Letters in which she’s also a member. I requested to join immediately but the wait was really killing me, so I joined a couple of other similar groups. One of them approved my request and I quickly introduced myself. However, to my disappointment, they weren’t that friendly and most of them wouldn’t want to write to people who stay thousands of kilometers away due to higher postal charges.

When my request was finally approved by an admin in Penpalling & Letters, I wasted no time to put up a picture and introduction. I just can’t wait to start writing letters again and meeting new friends with different cultural background. Within 2 days, people were already commenting on my picture and getting to know me. This group seems to be more active and even though I haven’t started writing to anyone yet, I enjoy making conversations with them via the group itself.

It truly brings back a lot of memories from those days when I used to make new friends all over the world just to learn about them. I think there’s a limitation for some of us to really travel and I personally always end up in Cape Town, South Africa whenever I do get the opportunity to get out of the country. This is simply because I have a good reason to be there since I have some awesome friends there and I would love to visit them and spend as much time as possible with them. Other than that, I’m not really into travelling. Besides, flying scares me too.

So, the only way I could truly “travel” without rising my blood pressure and stress level sitting on a plane is to meet new friends via social media or as I prefer, go back to the conventional way of writing letters to them.

Now, I’m waiting with excitement to receive my first letter or postcard.

postmanSource: Zazzle.com

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(This is post #2, a part of My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge)

My Writing Challenge

I’ve been toying with the idea of being a full time writer ever since I was 16 years old. “Toying” is a wrong word to use. I was, in fact, pretty serious about it that I started writing stories back then in high school and throughout university life. I could just sit in front of my PC and type for hours, letting my imagination flow without worrying much about the outcome. I didn’t just write stories; I also spent a huge amount of time writing my journals.

But after I graduated from my bachelor degree, I lost the self-discipline and determination to write even though ideas and stories keep coming to me. It will just come and go because I never did make any extra effort to record them. There were just too many distractions from starting new jobs and my social life also got in the way.

Not long after, blogging became a thing so I started my own blog and started writing occasionally. It’s different though because ever since I started blogging, I constantly worry about my readers. What would they think? Would they agree or disagree with my thoughts? What if they think my content is silly? What if my grammar and spelling sucks since I’m not a native English speaker?

My dream to become a full time writer was drifting away from me. Occasionally I would go to Google and look for inspirations. I would spend hours reading tips and guides on writing but it was just a time filler. I haven’t been taking it seriously until a local author who happened to be a friend to two of my friends got connected to me via Facebook. Her name is Gina Yap. I told her about my self-discipline in writing, mental block and how I get worried about my English. More than that, I told her that I cannot do what she’s doing; going out in public to talk about her books and promoting them.

So, the first reminder on how my book was coming along came on November 2013 from Gina as she began sharing her personal experience. I told her I had a goal to publish a book in 2014. She told me to write 500 words a day and it’ll be done in no time. “Well, I don’t write with the word count in mind. I write with my passion or excitement at heart. Some days, I write just a sentence and some days, I lose count of words.” Gina shared, “It’s a personal devotion to it, at least a few hundred words a day, regardless of how crappy the content is, just keep the engine going, you know.”

Of course, after the chat, I was inspired but being inspired and actually doing it was two different things. Yeah, I’m laughing in my head right now as I’m writing this. I didn’t start writing seriously. I just continued with my blogging occasionally. Then came June 2014, Gina again sent me a private message in Facebook to nudge me. Guilty! I didn’t have any progress to share with her. This was the time I actually asked her about promoting her books.

As it turned out, Gina and I are quite alike in terms of not wanting to be in the centre of attention. She shared with me that she rejected many invites to book fairs and forums to talk about her books because she hated crowds and public speaking. She thought her publisher would do the talking and she would just sign some books. But she soon realised that an author need to connect with the fans and soon she learned to embrace it. After a while, it just becomes something natural to her and it’s no sweat anymore.

“Gina, if you’re reading this, I want to thank you because you’re the one person who got me seriously thinking about being a published writer and also not giving up on writing.”

Last night as I was browsing the Internet, I stumbled upon Jeff Goins’ website. He’s a writer. I just got attracted to visit his website and browse through it completely. I downloaded his free e-book called The Writer’s Manifesto and after I finished reading it, I could relate instantly. He just talked about the very same problem I’ve been suffering for years!

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It just hit me hard that I decided I shall no longer give myself excuses to not write. So, to do this, I took up his writing challenge called My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge. I’m the 1132th person to take up this challenge where I’m required to write at least 500 words everyday for 31 days. This is the very same advice Gina gave me since last year and now it’s time to take it seriously. I don’t need to find time to write, I need to create time for it. The question lingers in my mind, “If not now, then when?”

(This is post #1, a part of My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge)