Brad Rateike: When nostalgia knocks, visit an old friend

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Brad RateikeI recently received a short text message from a college friend I had not spoken to in years. The message referenced a rather memorable road trip we had made to see a band we both liked and how he was going to see that band again and thought of me. It was short and to the point, but it was also a kind message and sent me on my own trip down memory lane, prompting me to send a similar message to another friend.

I am convinced that all of us have moments throughout our day where our emotions are jogged by a taste, a smell, a texture, a scene, a movie quote, a song lyric, etc. Often, these memories remind us of friends, family or life events. Hopefully, these memories are positive, and bring a smile to your face, even if only for a moment.

If, in even a fraction of those instances, we took a moment to make a call or send a note via any number of mediums to let someone know we were thinking about them, I believe it would do wonders for our level of happiness. I am often amazed when I hear people talking about being “lonely” when they appear to be surrounded by crowds. Notes from friends can go a long way here.

My mother once told me that people should never worry about what other people think about them because they would be surprised by how rarely people actually think about others. I got her point that I should not stress that people might be saying something negative about me, but I found the phrasing a little depressing/harsh.

Logistically speaking, you would have to develop some sort of smartphone application that could be easily accessed to even come close to capturing the number of notes you could and should send in a day. One car ride could turn into a trip down memory lane and cause me to suddenly call/text/send smoke signals to many, many people. Of course, in order to safely do that, I would have to pull the car over, communicate my sentiment, then get back on course.

You would have to build in significant time every time you left your house, which would probably add a layer of anxiety and/or stress because the communication would become a chore, no matter how happy/satisfied sending those messages made you and the recipient feel.

I have always taken a liking to the phrase, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” I have to remind myself of that often when I come across a person who cuts me off in traffic or a server who is not on their “A” game at the restaurant and does not seem to care. In those scenarios, I remind myself, no one died and made me king of anything, and that it takes just as much effort to be a jerk as it does to be a nice person.

That said, the compromise to all of this might be to take into consideration what might lie beneath the surface in someone’s life. And then concentrate more on making the time and effort to send personal messages to our friends and family when nostalgia comes to visit.

Success in that arena on anyone’s part will surely breed success elsewhere and ultimately get back around to the most severe battles at that time. What is the harm in trying?•

__________

Rateike is founder and owner of BAR Communications and served as director of cabinet communications for President Donald Trump. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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