Somewhere between friends and strangers are those people we call acquaintances. They might be friends of friends, or people who provide us a regular service (the postal carrier, the grocery clerk, the people at the dry cleaners), or even certain neighbors. We don’t have a strong disliking or liking for them. We know of these people. We just don’t KNOW them. Our relationship with them is “neutral.”
This week’s exercise is to choose one of your acquaintances and perform an act of kindness for them. We do this exercise as an acknowledgment of all the acquaintances we have, to recognize that they exist. In performing this act, we recognize that fundamentally our acquaintances want and deserve the same things we do, to be happy, to have good health, to be appreciated.
In celebrating one acquaintance, we celebrate all of our acquaintances. In celebrating all of our acquaintances, we celebrate everyone.
It’s important to consider your act mindfully, but it’s not necessary that you get to know your chosen person well enough to personalize your act. Choose something that acknowledges your common humanity. If you prefer, perform your act anonymously. Your acquaintance need not know you’re the one who completed the act.
Do something that resonates from a warm place inside you, perhaps doing something for your acquaintance that you would like being done for you should your roles be reversed.
I’ve known my neighborhood copy shop owner for 25 years. I use his services much less often than in earlier years. Periodically, though, when I’m near the shop, I stop into a nearby Starbucks and have them split a Vanilla Bean Frappachino into two separate cups topped with whip cream and take them to him and his assistant. A small sweet treat and a chance to say hi and thanks again for all the good service over the years. As print shops do most business printing announcements, posters etc. for larger events, happy that his shop made it through the pandemic with the help of the small business loans being offered.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and share this story, Marilyn. A perfect demonstration of thoughtful kindness! –Andy