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  • Happy Holidays image, colorful, shining balls of blue, white, green

“What Do You Want From Me???”

“What Do You Want From Me???”

Holiday season is upon us, and with that comes lots of gift-giving. What do you want from others? Things or thoughtfulness?

“What Do You Want From Me???”
Nah, it’s not like that. Gosh, no. It’s not confrontational or angry. It’s an honest, sincere question geared towards preparing for the traditionally all-consuming HOLIDAY SEASON.

What do your friends, family, neighbors, and community want from you, now and ever? Things, things, and more things? Or friendship, connections, dependability, fun, odd favors/help, a listening ear, shovel your snow (neighbors), use ice melt (neighbors)? Thoughtfulness-in-action...?

Of course, most of us default to buying things, largely because we don’t know what else to do. Well, how about having a conversation with those folks, and asking, “What do you want from me for the holidays, or ever?” And if someone says, “I want you to cancel our plans less often in favor of something you obviously like better than what we’ve planned,” well, then you can promise to: Work on your personal stuff so you’ll be a better person. That would be one cool gift.

The one tricky thing is the asking of people “What do you want from me?” Oh, actually, there are two tricky things: The person you ask needs to think about it and be honest with you. Oh, actually, there are three tricky things: If your person tells you what they want from you, you have to be willing, very much, to do it, or they won’t be quite as likely to tell you again in the future what they want from you. As in, "I want you to be more thoughtful around the plans we make." Kinda gotta do that. Because nothing beats down a relationship more than someone making themselves vulnerable to you and getting majorly disappointed about something reasonable...

So what else? Maybe a friend says, “I want you to tell me frequently what you appreciate about me.” Then you can: Tell your friend frequently what you appreciate about them. Maybe a spouse says, “I’d like you to spend less time on the internet, more time together.” Well, then you can stop reading this story and go spend time with your spouse.

Let’s check out some other non-material things people might want from (or with) us:

Plan a walk, catch up. Hang out.
Take in a cultural or fun experience
Make a commitment to do unfavorable chores for them: Clean the bathroom or kitchen, go food shopping for them.
Tend to others’ children or pets. Baby-sit their kids or walk a dog. Promise to cat sit when they are away.
Make a special meal and share it together. Have a potluck plan.
Be a buddy to them for a habit they are trying to add or let go of: Check in every day on how that healthy eating is going. Call up to see how it’s going quitting smoking.
Promise to drive them to a doctor’s appointment or drive home a large item purchased if they don’t drive.
Do some research for them on something they need or want to know about: Adrenal health; the use of guar gum in recipes; where to play pool in Cambridge.
Teach them a skill they want to know about: how to sprout lentils or flax seeds; how to knit.
Go shopping with them for things they hate shopping for alone or don’t trust their own decisions on. (Like tile grout – premixed or dry?)
Bring someone to a surprise venue: to their first Improv incubator Meetup. Or dancing at Dance Freedom in Harvard Square.

So many things we can do for or with the people in our lives without buying an object that might well be passed along to someone else... And we can enrich our lives by asking, agreeing, and engaging in what we all want: Connections, relationships, closeness.

Happy holidays, everyone!!!