Ways to be thoughtful

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Being thoughtful starts with listening, paying attention
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Many of the ways to be thoughtful are sometimes the simplest gestures

Most of us want to be better people. We want to be more considerate, thoughtful and patient. But sometimes our intentions don't match our actions. It's not that we don't care ... it's often that we don't know the right ways to be thoughtful or which gestures convey our feelings.

I want to help, so I've gathered some tips for ways to be thoughtful and caring through some of life's wonderful, terrible and everyday occasions.

For someone moving to a new home

Moving is stressful, even if someone is moving into the home of their dreams. But there are caring ways you can make it better.

For someone moving far away

  • Help them pack (no fun, but very welcome!)
  • Give them an address book filled with everyone's contact information
  • Send a housewarming gift basket to greet them when they arrive at their new place
  • Set up a G+ hangout so they can show friends their new home
  • Send a complete mail order meal to be delivered a few days after they arrive at the new place

For someone moving in the same area

  • Help them pack (yup, that's still a good idea!)
  • Offer to babysit for their kids
  • Send pizza and sodas to their new place on move-in day
  • Help them unpack (you knew that was coming!)
  • Give them a moving gift basket (things like screwdrivers, extra tape, scissors, packing labels, markers -- and of course some cookies or other sugary treats for energy)

For a new neighbor

  • Send over lunch or dinner
  • Offer to help them unpack (one more time!)
  • Give them a welcome basket filled with tasty treats, then personalize it with local maps, some local coupons and gift cards, and a directory of recommended schools, doctors, auto repair, restaurants and other local businesses

For someone who has lost a loved one

This is one of the trickiest times for most of us. We don't know what to say, so we say nothing. We don't know what to do, so we do nothing. But there are some meaningful ways to be thoughtful even in this most difficult moment.

  • Listen. Whether you knew the person or not, your friend (or coworker or customer or neighbor) needs to be able to share their feelings. Most people try to avoid that. Be the one who stays put and listens. It will mean more than you know.
  • Send or bring food. The simple act of providing food so the mourners don't have to cook is a traditional (and still meaningful) way to say you care. Take over a platter of fruit, bake a cake or order a sympathy gift basket for delivery to the home. 
  • Cry with them. Sometimes words aren't needed -- or wanted. Sometimes the very best gift you can give anyone is to sit down and cry with them.
  • Ask. Different people have different needs, so asking someone is one of the most caring gestures you can make. They may have more than enough food, but need help picking up family at the airport. Or the use of your spare bedroom might come in handy. Or maybe they just want to get away from everything and go out for lunch. Just ask.

For someone expecting a new baby (or who just had one)

Adding a new family member is a wonderful part of life. But it can also be very stressful. But there are ways you can reach out and help.

  • Offer to take the new big brothers or big sisters out for a special day
  • Ask if there are errands you can run
  • Send over a meal or two that's oven ready
  • Take pets out for walks
  • Offer to pick up visiting guests at the airport
  • Give them a photo-ready scrapbook (or online scrapbook) for those first precious weeks

Now go forth and...

No matter what the occasion, by listening, asking questions and paying attention to what people really need you can be more thoughtful every day.

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