Day 3 – Relationship Challenge (Appreciation)

Today is day three of the Relationship Challenge. I hope that you had a chance to use encouragement  and kindness over the last couple of days to try and lift someone up and motivate them in a positive manner. You will find out when going through these exercises that the little things mean more than you really think in most relationships and friendships. Continue to work on the past days exercises and progress forward and continue to experience the difference they make in your own life.

There are times in life when individuals do little things to help others out and it is not really recognized or acknowledged by others. This tends to be interpreted by that individual over time that they are not making a difference or that the other person doesn’t really care about what they do. This can be in a job, friendship, relationship or about any situation that you find yourself in. For example, a manager that lifts up their employees and lets them know that they are valued, will typically get a different response from employees than one that does not take that approach. This leads into todays exercise of appreciation.

Todays challenge is to participate in at least one act of appreciation. If someone does something for you and they know that you appreciate it, it will be taken in a more positive manner and will result in them continuing to assist you or help you. When appreciation is not given, it usually doesn’t take to long before the person helping out feels that they are doing it for no apparent reason and it slowly goes by the way side. I have seen this happen in many relationships.

When people get together, they are real excited to thank the other person or let them know that they liked and appreciated what the other person did for them. It doesn’t take long for someone to maybe just not continue to recognize it or to assume that the other person just ‘knows’ that they are appreciated. This is a downward spiral trap that you want to avoid. If someone does something for you, it doesn’t take much energy to acknowledge it with some sort of appreciation. This will keep their spirits high and let them know that you are thankful for them. So make it a point today to let others know that you appreciate what they do for you and see the difference that it makes in your own eyes.

Date with a Vampire!

Early one warm summer Wednesday morning, I came walking into work. Brian, one of my co-workers started a conversation at the coffee pot. “My wife and I know this amazing woman that we think that you will hit it off with, so are you up for a blind date?”, he asked. I was not too quick to jump at the opportunity as I wanted to find out more information prior to agreeing to it. I went through some standard questions about wanting to know how old she was, what did she do for a living and did she have any kids. Not that any of this really matters in the scheme of things when you find that right person, but you have to start somewhere. I found out that she was around my age, was a dancer and didn’t have any kids. I started laughing when Brian told me that she was a dancer. “I don’t need to go out on a date with a stripper”, I joked amusingly. Brian reassured me that she was a classical dancer and not a stripper. I thought about it for a minute and decided to just go for it. How bad could a blind date really be anyway?

Friday night I headed over to her house to pick her up. I was a little nervous and excited at the same time. I got a rose on the way over there for her and slowly approached the door with it. I could feel my heart rate increase as I reached up to ring the door bell. The door opened and I stood there looking into Beth’s eyes (name is changed to protect the innocent). She was an attractive woman between 5 and 6 foot tall, had deep brown eyes and a nice smile. I thought to myself, this can’t be too bad. I introduced myself and handed her the rose and saw her eyes light up with a smile.

I walked Beth over to the passenger door and opened it for her. “Thank you!” she said as she looked into my eyes. It appeared to be a genuine look of appreciation. I closed the door for her and then started over to the drivers side. I figured I would stick with my original plan for the date after meeting her. I had selected an open area that we could go walk around and enjoy the weather. This would give us a chance to talk and get to know each other without the silence of a movie or the loud music at a dance club.

The next few hours were spent walking around. We laughed, joked and seemed to have a natural flowing conversation. We finished up and headed back to her house to drop her off. I walked Beth up to the door and thanked her for a good evening. “Would you like to come in for a cup of coffee?”, she asked. I took Beth up on her invitation as I figured it would give us more time to talk and find out more about each other.

Beth walked into the kitchen and got the coffee brewing. It appeared to be a nice home and well kept at that. “Would you like to see around?”, she asked. “Sure!”, I responded. We walked from room to room admiring her beautiful home. We continued down the hall after looking at the office. She slowly opened the door to show me her bedroom. The look on my face must have said it all, complete shock. Now I am not innocent and I do have a vivid imagination, but what I saw left me speechless. I looked into a mostly empty room that was painted white. The walls were covered with copious amounts of black and white Elvira pictures. Right in front of me was a wood coffin that looks like something that you would find in a haunted house. “I take it that you are an Elvira fan?”, I asked her as I stood there with a lack for any other words. “Yes I am!”, she softly replied. My mind started to wander and I didn’t know if this was a woman with a wild side or if she was crazy and slept in a coffin. “How do you like my coffin?”, she asked. I was speechless! Anything that I could have said at this point could have been taken the wrong way or miss construed and left me open for something that I was certainly not ready for at this time.

I politely excused myself at that time, thanking Beth for a good evening. As I was walking down the driveway, I could not stop thinking about what I had seen. How would it have been if the situation was different? Was I right to judge someone over something like that? Questions just kept entering my head and all I could do was think back to the dating experience that led to endless nights of frustration and eventually a restraining order, but that is another story.