10 Ways You Can Give The Gift Of Your Time

10 Ways You Can Give The Gift Of Your Time

Are you empathetic, or just sympathetic?

This Christmas, the best gift you could have given your loved ones was your time.

So many of us are busy running around, doing this and that, and we forget the whole reason for the season.

I believe that while God wants us to remember and value the birth of His Son, He also wants us to treasure our loved ones, especially during this holiday.

During this holiday break, choose to be empathetic and not merely sympathetic towards your loved ones.

Being merely sympathetic means you listen, but you don't really try to relate or understand what your loved one is going through.

Let's not take our loved ones for granted, and let's give back to them by being empathetic, which means to listen and to care.

Here are 10 ways you can be empathetic instead of being sympathetic:

1. Your intentions of listening to that person are pure and are not misguided/inspired by selfish-gains.

2. Carve out the time and space to intentionally listen to the person.

3. In that space of time, you must be completely immersed in communication with that person and be willing to be emotionally invested.

4. Put yourself in that person's shoes. You must find something in you to connect with your loved one, even if you cannot fully relate to their circumstances.

5. Listen to their whole story fully before you interrupt them or make any enquiries or comments. Remember to be sensitive when you do make comments. Think carefully about your responses instead of just blurting out your feelings about their situation.

6. Don't be the "at least" person, meaning you make statements that make their situation seem better than it is. For example, if your friend were to tell you they were failing all their classes, making a statement like, "At least you've never failed a class before," may make that person feel worse and give the impression that you don't really care about what they are going through.

7. Make sure you listen to them more than you talk. This does not mean you keep silent; however, you make sure that you don't turn the conversation into a time for you to talk about yourself. Remember, it's not all about you, it's about them.

8. Don't be quick to pass judgements on what that person is sharing with you. You are not here to be a judge. You are here to be a listener.

9. Be honest, even if the truth hurts. Don't be afraid to be real because your words may be constructive and helpful to that person's growth. However, you don't have to feel like you need to give that person answers or even solutions. Most times, your loved one just wants you to listen, and that is enough.

10. Show them and remind them that you love them and always will. No matter what happens, you are always going to be there for them and care for them.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.


These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.


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