Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sending a Surprise Card

     I recently learned that the fiancĂ© of a friend of mine is studying for the Bar exam and is feeling some stress.  I thought it might be nice to send her a "good luck" card and some words of encouragement.  I got her home address from my friend and got the card off in today's mail.  Since I've never met her and she doesn't know too much about me, it will likely come as a nice surprise when she gets the card.  I love those kinds of unexpected gestures.
     I find that if you listen closely, you can find lots of these types of opportunities to surprise people.  Birthdays present easy opportunities.  It's not unusual for someone's birth date to come up in casual conversations.  I try to listen for this and then record the date in my calendar.  Then I make a point to call or e-mail the person or send them a card on their birthday.  It's typically a real surprise to them as they had no idea I knew when their birthday was.  Listening for graduations, weddings, promotions, and other significant events presents additional chances to create pleasant surprises.
     Having said all this, I have a pet peeve about cards.  I absolutely hate when I receive a card with just a signature and no note at all.  (Worse yet is a card without a signature, and I've seen plenty of those, too!).  Receiving a card without a note feels impersonal, as if someone's secretary completed the task for them as an obligation.  It actually has the opposite effect of sending a meaningful card.  I'd definitely rather get nothing than one of those cards.  When we take the time to compose a handwritten note in the card, even if it's just a sentence or two, it tells the recipient that we really are thinking of them and wanting to send our thoughts to them.  After all, isn't that the whole point in sending the card in the first place?

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