I come from a very close and warm family. The friends we (the family) have are close to us also. So I'm used to being surrounded by people who are more than just related to me or acquainted to me. The people I'm used to are those who would do almost anything for me. Not that we always get along, but... they are just warm and there.
This has really come home to me every time I am away from my family and friends. You know, you move and then you are suddenly surrounded by people who aren't yours. It makes a difference.
My family (and friends) are like this: if they accept you, you are now part of this group of people who belong to us. If you are hungry, we'll feed you. If you need money, we'll get it for you. If we are having a gathering, we are going to make sure you feel included and comfortable. It's just the way we are.
Last year, when I had moved to Texas, I wasn't around my family. And, yeah, the folks were friendly enough, but... they didn't really seem to be as close and inclusive as my people are. Matter of fact, I got the feeling that they thought my family was weird.
Here's the thing though: the reason we are the way we are is because of my mom. SHE was warm and inviting. She treated people the way she believed you were supposed to. I remember being young when my older siblings started getting engaged and married. I wasn't always so welcoming to the newcomers. My mom would catch me being a little stand-offish and she'd pull me aside and explain why my behavior bothered her. "This girl (usually one of my about-to-be sisters-in-law) is here around all of us strangers," Mom would say. "How would you like to be a stranger somewhere and made to feel left out?"
I didn't get it then, but, boy did I get it when I was around a bunch of new people last year. Boy, did I understand it then!
So, please, remember to be nice to people. Don't ever let someone feel left out.
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