“I’ve been trying to tell people that I miss them more lately.”
I looked at my friend Paula and blinked. “That’s…depressing.”
“No it’s not! I never used to say that I missed people. Then you started saying it to me, and it made me realize how good it felt to be missed.”
Oh. That was where she was going with this.
I run the social media accounts at work, and have Google Alerts queued for “employee happiness” “employee retention” “workplace productivity” and every other mind-numbing phrase related to company culture. I can sum-up the dozens of Forbes articles I skim through on a weekly basis in one sentence: All anyone wants is to feel appreciated.
Well, isn’t that groundbreaking.
I find it slightly ironic that my LinkedIn feed is blowing up with articles on work appreciation, when we can’t figure out how to show the same appreciation in our personal lives.
Last week I wrote a public letter to my high school coach. A conversation with my coworkers led me to write it. After telling a story of running track in high school, my co-worker asked if I ever told my coach how much he had impacted my life.
I hadn’t. But my coach started training me when I was eleven. Even though I hadn’t directly said so, I’m sure he understood, right?
My parents are still together (thirty-five years, baby) and about a year ago my dad and I were deep in conversation about divorce. [Super depressing topic, yes—but bear with me.]
“I just don’t understand how people go through divorce. A regular breakup sucks enough—I can’t imagine what it’s like with a house, neighbors, and kids.”
My dad looked at me, and in the most solemn voice I’ve ever heard from him, said, “Yea. I mean, if anything ever happened to your mom, I would never be able to be with anyone else.”
To which I wanted to scream at him, “YOU SHOULD TELL HER THAT!”
I am a blunt person—that’s putting it lightly. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not blunt because I can’t control voicing my opinion. I just find it’s a more efficient way of doing things.
Here’s the thing: People aren’t mind readers. If you want something (or, if you want something to stop), you need to stand up and say so. I can’t stand passive-aggression because so much time and energy is wasted thinking about one thing, when no one is capable of hearing those thoughts.
If no one can hear my thoughts on a negative subject, why would I assume they can hear my thoughts on a positive one? If I have no problem making my voice heard on a topic that makes people uneasy, why would I hold back when the topic makes people feel good?
I moved back to DC for two reasons: one, I love the city; two, I love my friends. Ninety-five percent of the people I know in DC I met through two people—my friends Herald and Derrick.
When I moved to DC at 22, I knew no one. I had never lived in a city, let alone a metropolitan area. I had no friends, no social life—and I will forever be grateful to those two for taking me out and introducing me to a group of people I am so lucky to know.
Last week, I was talking to Herald on Gchat when he mentioned he had never moved to a new city. “I wonder how I would handle that—making friends out of nothing.”
This blew my mind. “Herald, I have never met a single person who is better at making friends than you. Every person I know in this city, I know because of you.”
Once again, it hit me he had absolutely no idea just how grateful I was for introducing me to so many people four years ago.
It feels good to be missed. It feels good to have your work appreciated. It feels good to have a group of friends who always have your back. I’m not sure why we assume it will be weird or awkward to say these things to those around us, when we love hearing them ourselves.
Thank you Herald and Derrick for introducing me to so many people, and Paulita, I miss you too. See you at happy hour!