3 Good Reasons You're the Hidden Anchor for your Community
Everybody has at least one friend who makes the gathering better. Some people are good at getting the party started. Some people keep the conversation humming along. Different personality types do different things depending on their environment. Beneath those differences, there are hidden anchors who keep the entire group connected. Here's three signs you're that person to your friends.
1. You listen far more than you speak, and you do it on purpose.
You're not trying to be the centre of attention. Instead, you're trying to facilitate the thoughts and feelings of others. You feel like a gathering has been successful when the secret thoughts and perspectives of those quiet types have come to the surface. Sure, if you're an extrovert, you could bust a jig and have someone splitting sides. And perhaps you season things with a loud moment or two. But you're more happy when someone who normally isn't that bold starts opening up.
Or perhaps you aren't extroverted, but you've mastered the art of great questions. You have a black belt in Conversation Judo. Everyone has questions they hope to be asked–everyone is looking for permission to express themselves. They just need a safe place. You have a way of asking those kinds of thought-provoking inquiries that inspire other people to weigh in, and encourage one another too.
You don't do it to be manipulative. You do it because you understand that someone has to serve the group like this.
It's the only way you'll be able to explore fresh territory in the conversation, and really learn to trust each other. And whether you know it or not, you've made the room ready for new memories to be formed.
2. You make small, secret sacrifices for connection on a regular basis.
You pick the coffee shop closest to their house. You schedule things around their prior commitments, and you always try to pick up the tab. You keep your phone off in the middle of conversation, and you make eye contact while the other person is speaking. You speak highly of other people to their friends when they aren't around, on purpose, to start some Anti-Gossip going around. You think of different ways you can lighten the load for those you love. You hope you've brightened their spirits every time you talk to them.
You don't start with the assumption that the relationship is there to benefit you. Instead, you treat friendships as equal parts privilege and responsibility. Whereas other people think of friendship as a 50-50 partnership–and perhaps they're right about that–you give 100% of the effort anyway. It doesn't mean you're can't take a hint or expect reciprocation.
You just know you can love someone without them ever knowing it on the outside.
You understand it's better to give than receive, and you like doing it in secret. You're not trying to win karma, and you aren't trying to move your friends into your debt. But you're the one creating the atmosphere of warmth and sincerity through everything you sacrifice, whenever you're together.
3. You're a tireless, endless source of trust.
You show up on time, or early, to the things you said you would. You invite other people to depend on you. You demonstrate your loyalty by protecting your connection, making sure your friends know they are your priority. You opened up to them before they opened up to you. You invite them to influence your thinking, your tastes, and your conclusions, long before they've earned that right through their own efforts.
You naturally elevate the standard of friendship everyone else has with each other, too. You're generous with your praise but you mean every word of it–it would be so unnatural for you to fall into flattery. You know the secret to connection is not just discussing deep topics, but a sincere exchange of trust.
You do it because you know love has to be an ongoing choice if these relationships are going to grow.
So thank-you for loving people well. You've probably noticed how you're carrying other people sometimes, but you haven't let yourself dwell on it for too long. This isn't meant to be a halfhearted pat-on-the-back. Instead, the chances are you have been discouraged by not always seeing the fruits of all your efforts.
Know that you are making your community happen, whether the rest of them know it or not. Creating the space where people can love one another is the greatest kind of legacy anyone can leave.