Photo: kids hanging out on a Cuban street. Some things are the same across the world!
It's amazing how much you can learn from watching your friends, whether it's the things they get right or the things they get... well, less right. So I thought I'd share a few lessons which I've learnt by watching other people:
- The things you feel self-conscious about are unlikely noticed by anyone else. Friends notice whether you look happy today or in need of cheering up - not whether you've got a spot or are having a bad hair day.
- Bringing presents (even tiny ones) when you go to stay with someone is a great way to make your hosts feel special. This is a great lesson and one I have to put into practise myself when I visit people!
- There is really no relationship between happiness and money, once you get above the basic question of "do I have enough food & shelter to survive?"
- It's better to say 'no' than to say 'yes' just because you feel obliged - you won't do a very good job if you're feeling pressured into doing something as a favour.
- It's okay to ask visitors to bring sleeping bags so long as (a) they're driving, and (b) it's only for a couple of nights (we would probably offer anyway). On the other hand, a comfy bed with bedding & towels does mean there's one less thing to worry about, and make things more relaxing for your guests.
- You look better if you wear clothes of the right size: trying to squeeze into something a size smaller will make you look overweight even if you're a stick insect. And no-one is reading those labels anyway!
- With a really solid friendship, you can drift apart for months or years and then pick up where you left off. The intervening time can probably be summed up in about three sentences.