Love isn’t just one special day. It isn’t one heartwarming act that you’ll never forget. It isn’t a sentence that sweeps you off your feet.
Love isn’t a loud proclamation at predetermined intervals. It’s a background score that sticks in your head long after the scene changes.
Love is shared and experienced in a million actions. It’s the things we do for someone just because. It’s the most dialed number on our phones. It’s the names that come to our mind in interstices between our days. It’s the people whose eyes we keep trying to see ourselves through.
I’ve learned from people I love that it’s important to do the little things as often as you can. Even when the world doesn’t follow. Even when you doubt whether it matters. Do it because there’s something endearing about a love that gently seeps into your day and transforms it over and over again.
These are a list of things that my people have taught me to keep doing for those who matter:
1. Text to check in every once in a while.
2. Say I miss you. Let them know when you think of them, when song or a joke or a word reminds you of them.
3. Leave happy notes on their dressing table, bathroom mirror, or office board.
4. Give greeting cards, postcards and handwritten letters.
5. Get them souvenirs from your travels.
6. Make that phone call at least once every few months.
7. Send that text to catch up, even if the conversation won’t go beyond basic exchanges.
8. Wish people who matter happy birthday, or happy new year.
9. Meet people you want in your life. Even if you have nothing to say, show up and give them a hug, or maybe share an hour of meditative silence and good coffee.
10. Travel a little farther than you usually would to meet people you want to.
11. Offer to help when someone you care for is going through a tough time.
12. Just listen. Allow them to speak.
13. Get excited to meet those you love, even if you meet all the time.
14. Keep old traditions with people you’ve known forever alive. Whether it is wishing them for their birthday at the strike of midnight, or making yearly social media posts for them, do it.
15. Keep small promises.
16. Get them something for their birthday, even when it’s no longer required or expected.
17. Cook for them.
18. Ask after events that just happened in their life – a family crisis, a medical situation, their latest travel, or maybe just a weekend.
19. Say congratulations. Celebrate little victories.
20. Acknowledge what people you love do for a living. Let them know that it matters.
21. Compliment them way too often. Tell them they look beautiful every day if you feel it.
22. Talk about their talents to others as often as you can. Be their one-person-marketing-team.
23. Get them a gift for no reason. Maybe just a bar of chocolate or their favorite sandwich. Pick up something you can afford that reminded you of them when you were out shopping.
24. If they update you about negative life events, check up on them regularly for a few days or weeks.
25. Offer to get them food and medicine when they are ill.
26. Share a childhood memory with them every once in a while, and ask them about one of theirs.
27. Remember the little things that are important to them and ask them about it – that call they were going to make to their dad, their new workout regime, the book they were reading.
28. Remember things that might not have sounded important, but ask about those too – that task they were procrastinating over, the terrible WiFi at their place, that refund from a purchase return they were waiting for.
29. Remember people who matter to them, and ask how they are doing.
30. Introduce people you love to other people you love.
31. Say sorry. Apologize for things you did that hurt them, be it recent or something from a while back that you hadn’t apologized for.
32. Say “I love you” every chance you get.