Words get a bad rap when it comes to showing people we care. The common mantra, “Don’t tell me you love me, show me!” encapsulates the idea that actions speak louder than words. In many cases, it’s true. If actions and words don’t line up, we generally trust a person’s actions.
That’s not to say that words don’t go a long way in communicating how much we truly care about people, though. Especially, when expressing words becomes an act of caring all its own. Want to show someone you care? Try using your words in one of these 5 ways words say “I care.”
1.) Take the opportunity on a special occasion to write more than just your name in the card. The greeting card industry has done a great job in recent years of offering mailable sentiments for just about every occasion. Often, when I want to buy a card that expresses my love or sympathy or encouragement, I can find a card that says just the right thing. But to make it really special for the person I am sending it to, I try to write a little more than just my name on the inside. What do you appreciate or admire about that person? What’s something they have done that you are grateful for? Do you have a special memory that comes to mind whenever you think of her? Write it down.
2.) Don’t underestimate the power of a love note. Just this weekend on Facebook, my cousin took a picture of a note her new husband left her. It wasn’t much more than “I love you,” but he left in a place where she could find it and be surprised. Even a special text to say, “I’m thinking about you,” can help a spouse or loved one get through a tough day. Don’t forget to drop a love note in a lunch box or back pack for your child’s first day of school or in their suitcase as they head off to college.
3.) If someone’s waiting on you, update them on your progress. Are you late for a meeting? Has it been a while since you touched base with a client on a big project? Is your deadline looking unrealistic? Were you supposed to be out running a quick errand but now you are caught in traffic? Communicating with people when things aren’t going as planned, whether at home or the office, goes a long way in showing them you care about them and respect their time. This could be as simple as leaving a note for your roommate that you will be home later than usual tonight, or as complex as sending a status report to a client that you have run into some trouble. And it may involve a phone call or text more than a hand written note. But however you communicate it, don’t leave people hanging if they are expecting something different from you than you can deliver. Use your words; show them you care.
4.) Send a note with that casserole as a tangible reminder of your care to friends who are ill or shut-in or struggling. You might decide to drop off a meal or send a gift card to a friend who has fallen on hard times. Maybe you offered to babysit their children or stayed to clean their bathrooms. These tangible expressions say “I care” in important ways. But once the meal is gone and the bathroom is dirty again, your written words can remind your friend she is not alone. I’m not saying you should just write a note instead of baking a lasagna. Do both. Both matter. I still have some of the cards people sent me when I was going through chemotherapy or recovering from surgery.
5.) Write words to advocate for others. I once wrote a letter to my local government because I felt our neighborhood needed sidewalks for the children who walked up and down the street. When my insurance wouldn’t cover special testing I needed in the past, my doctor wrote a letter explaining why it was critical. Even now, with devastating war, conflict, and disease going on in Gaza, Iraq, and West Africa, our words penned to leaders and decision makers can advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves. Often, these situations require our money, time, or other aid as well. But appealing to those in power often can change minds and move resources in important ways that we can’t accomplish on our own.
Your actions do say a lot, but so do your words. Let both say, “I care” to those around you today.