One of the lessons I learned a few years ago, was that it’s actually quite rare for someone to really notice you, or think about you.
Now, that may sound like a pretty depressing thought, and to some extent, it is. On the other hand, it’s also very freeing. It frees us from worrying about doing something embarrassing, for example. Aside from the most outrageous examples, most of the things we beat ourselves up about, and feel embarrassed about, go wholly unnoticed by the majority of people. They never give it a second thought.
It also frees us from unrealistic expectations. Knowing that outside of my wife, and a few other people, most people are not going to give my upcoming birthday a second thought, frees me to be able to appreciate the folks who do take the time to wish me a happy birthday, or do something nice for me. It comes as a nice little surprise more than anything else. I go into it expecting that no one needs to do anything, and get to feel grateful when someone does.
Lastly, it also makes it pretty easy to impress someone. Like I said, when I come to realize that it’s highly unlikely that most people gave me a second thought, I’m very impressed by, and appreciative of, the thoughtfulness of someone who actually does. Remember, being thoughtful and being considered a good friend is all about being slightly better than other people. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to stand out among the crowd. If the crowd is full of people who rarely give others outside their immediate circle a second thought, it doesn’t take much to stand out. A simple willingness to remember a birthday, help out with a problem PC, follow up on an idea you’ve discussed, or an inclusion in social plans can go a long way to showing yourself as a caring, thoughtful person. Of course, that assumes you’re doing it to be thoughtful, and not in an insincere attempt to get something out of it for yourself. That won’t get you far, but a small gestures of kindness, goes a long way in a world of self-centeredness.