Do we say enough?

Should we have to guess?

Recently I received news of a former colleague having passed away. I must be very clear and say that I didn’t know him except to say ‘hello’ or exchange a nod of recognition. We first met more than twenty five years ago as young police officers and only a few times after that. He made an impression upon me as a quiet and decent kind of man, someone with whom I would have enjoyed working. I never actually worked alongside him but those who did tell me that they were lucky to do so. He died at the age of 52 while enjoying the great outdoors, one of his life’s passions. His family’s personal tragedy needs no explanation.

Following his passing I’ve observed nothing but praise being heaped upon this quiet and clearly popular man. Many people have described his strengths and endearing qualities, and all have shared their sorrow at his sudden and unexpected death. From what I can glean from the tributes, I wish I had known him. And I have started thinking – did he know how many people thought so highly of him? Not just him, of course, but do any of us know how many people hold us in high regard? Do we express our admiration, respect and liking for others as freely as we might? I think that I for one probably do not – although the opposite would be the case where my relationship with immediate family is concerned.

Recently I was re-reading some old online correspondence and I came across a brief 2011 conversation I had held with one of my oldest friends on the subject of my father’s failing health. Within that brief exchange of online posts my old friend had described me in a way which not only surprised, but genuinely shocked me. I was quietly astonished that he thought of me in the way that he clearly did – and I wondered why, and I wonder if this is something peculiar to me?

Ever since I undertook some training in Neuro-Linguistic programming in 2000 I have tried to make a habit of providing clear and honest feedback, especially when the feedback is positive. I can`t lay claim to having any special skills in this area, but I hope that the occasional puzzled and sometimes startled expressions on people`s faces indicates that the message has been meaningful and useful. There is, however, a big `however`. There have been many people in my life whom I have called friends, and but a few whom I have called lovers. Those I love know it; I make a point of reinforcing that message – in particular with my wife and children. But do I say enough to my friends?

I doubt it. I doubt that many of us do. My experience has been that we barely touch one another`s lives as we complete our personal journeys. That could be different, and there are a multitude of gifts to be given.To find a lifelong male friend describing me as ‘a lovely person’ was a shock (a very pleasant one) and a wake-up call. I haven’t habitually told my friends how I feel – and when I have it has often been at the point of saying a farewell or at a point of crisis. I’m thinking now that such messages belong in the everyday, in the humdrum patterns of our daily lives, when they probably have more meaning and effect. I need to tell my friends how much I like them.

I shall begin doing so, and because I am intrinsically, privately, very shy (how many of my friends would laugh out loud at that thought, I wonder?), I shall offer my gifts first using the web….Why? Because this may be new for them as well as for me. Because I fear rejection and ridicule. But the sacrifice and the perceived risk is worth the potential result. I know I haven’t yet said enough to my friends about my feelings. I’d dearly like to know how they feel about me – and therefore about the person I tell the world I am. Perhaps their gifts will be very eye-opening and very useful. Look out!

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5 Comments on “Do we say enough?”

  1. Damn! I just wrote a sh!tload of stuff saying exactly what I thought of you, clicked the Post Comment button, nothing happened. Can’t be bothered writing all that again…

    • elsimmo Says:

      *Clears throat* Curse you sir!
      Well in the spirit of the post, let me say I have a huge respect for what you are doing in your life. Since we were out of touch for so long this may seem inappropriate but I was very pleased to find out, many years ago, that you had found your lovely lady, Amy. Your free spirit and laid back approach to life is refreshing and you deserve all the happiness you can find. I’m thoroughly enjoying our transatlantic friendship revival and hopefully we can reunite some time soon and share some laughs! I might even allow you to allow me to sing with you!

    • If you’re going to sing to me, it’s gotta be “Since You Been Gone” by Rainbow, the song we used to sing standing in our towels in the changing room of the Glasspool Building!

  2. Dunno about you being a “lovely person”, but you’re a good bloke.

  3. elsimmo Says:

    Let me help you with that; I AM a lovely person – there, it’s official!

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