What is love? Love is checking in.
A group of friends and I were chatting about something random, and then one of us asked the other, “How are you?” What we didn’t expect was for her to get emotional and say, “Thank you for asking me that, no one really asks me that.” Eeeep. I was taken aback and embarrassed. I assumed that this incredibly wise, loving, and stable friend was asked this all the time because she is friends with many people. But in reality, nobody was asking her.
In fact, Americans casually say, “How are you?” like they are saying, “Hello!” but asking someone, “How are you?” also means accepting the responsibility of listening to their answer. I noticed this a lot when I lived abroad, I would casually say, “How are you?” and Londoners would stop, look at me, and then tell me in detail about their lives. I learned reeeal quick to stop asking that unless I planned to give them the due respect & time they deserved. But now, I don’t ask people this enough.
I’m trying to get better, and practically, that looks like putting names down in my phone calendar with the subject ‘Checking in on Jane Doe.’ This could be a friend, relative or even your spouse! I know that hubs and I forget to check in on each other because we see each other 24/7 lolz. As you go about your day, I encourage you to ask someone how they are doing and mean it.