“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I’ve heard this quote many times throughout my life, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to grasp its meaning. As someone who often leaves social situations with anxieties about how I looked, what I said, or whether or not I was awkward, it’s a great reminder of what’s important.
We’ve all learned a lot about the value of face-to-face communication over the last few years. Whether it’s a meeting with coworkers, a family dinner, or a casual visit with a friend, giving 100% of our attention to interactions with each other has never mattered more.
The people I admire most in social situations show genuine interest in what others are saying. When I speak to someone attentive, who asks questions and pushes for details, it makes me feel like they care about me and my life. Even if it’s just a five-minute conversation, these interactions mean a lot after a few years of Zoom and emails.
These days, when I’m talking to someone, I’m trying to be a more focused listener. That means not just waiting to talk but listening attentively and engagingly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new friend or someone I’ve known for years; actively listening (without being on my phone or doing a different task) is a small act of kindness I can perform every day. I want other people to walk away from an interaction feeling positive because I know how much it means to me when that happens.