Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year, Graces.

No, this is not going to be my wish list for other peoples' resolutions. Tempting though it is to suggest things like...

1. "I resolve to hold the door for the person behind me."
2. "I will always rsvp by the requested date."
3. "I will make an effort to reciprocate invitations and favors."
4. "I will not issue 'friendly insults'" (like 'how liberating for you that you are not watching your weight' or 'it's great that you don't care what your children wear, must save a lot of time in the morning.')
5. "I will not overshare information of a personal/medical nature with casual acquaintances."
6. "I will not use my cell phone in a way that encroaches on another's repose."

Nope. Not this year. Instead, I want to address the best way to respond to the proclaimed resolutions of others. There are many reasons why people feel the need to broadcast their intentions--which, incidentally, nearly always fail by mid-January. Some are seeking attention. Some feel that they will be more likely to honor the resolution if they tell a lot of people. Others truly believe that you are interested (these are the ones who need to embrace resolution #5 above). So, here goes.....

Resolution: "I plan to start a fitness program and lose 20 lbs this year."
Grunt Response: "WOW! Really? That's great. You really need it. It's about time."
Grace Response: "Good for you. I hear people love spinning. Have you decided on a strategy?"
Uber-Grace Response: "Good for you. It's a constant battle, isn't it? I try to keep fit with power walking. Let me know if you ever want to join me. I go most mornings before work and do about 40 minutes."

See the difference? The Grunt's abundant enthusiasm emphasizes the person's overweight and unfit state. The Grace sends positive wishes and gives the aspirant a chance to talk about his plans. The Uber-Grace offers good wishes, understanding, and then concrete support in his endeavor.

Resolution: "I am going to get engaged this year."

Grunt Response: "To Whom?"
Grace Response: "Congratulations! Who's the lucky girl/guy?"
Uber-Grace Response: "That's wonderful. I can't wait to meet him/her. Let me know if you want to double date."

In this particular case, it is entirely possible that the resolver has not yet met his/her intended. If so, emphasizing that fact is both counterproductive and discouraging.

Resolution: "I am going to quit smoking/biting my nails/ignoring parking tickets/[fill in other bad habit]" this year."

Grunt Response: "Like Tax Day, this resolution is an annual event."
Grace Response: "Good for you. Best of luck."
Uber-Grace Response: "That's great. My neighbor had good luck with hypnosis/wearing a muzzle/selling her car. Let me know how it goes!"

But it would be nice, wouldn't it, if we could make (and keep) resolutions for others. (Starting with items 1-6 above.) As my Grant of a hubby frequently says, "The world according to Grace....what a wonderful place it would be."

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