Learn to anticipate.
How to Anticipate Others' Needs
Everyone loves the friend who always seems to know how you're feeling before you even say anything, the friend who always knows what you need. Being that friend can be hard, but also very rewarding. However, sometimes it's hard to guess what other people are thinking. This tutorial will help you anticipate other people's needs.
Know your friends and their current situations.Maybe one of your friends had just lost her dog. Maybe another one of your friends is in the process of moving. Maybe someone is just really stressed with school. If you know what each of your friends are going through, you'll have some ideas of the support they will need.
- To take it a step further, you can research how to respond to each situation. If one of your friends has just found out her parents are getting a divorce, you can look up ways to support someone whose parents are going through a divorce.
Check in on your friends.Ask them how they are doing every morning you see them and scan their facial expressions periodically. This will tell you if they are content or upset.
- Don't mistake boredom or just resting face for unhappiness. You may want to research facial expressions before trying this.
Observe body language.You can often tell if someone is unhappy or needs something by the way they act. Sometimes it's obvious. If they are tearfully trying to carry a large stack of textbooks and finish the homework they procrastinated on at the same time, they obviously could use a bit of help. Sometimes it may not be as obvious, however. Not eating much lunch could be a sign something is wrong, but you'll need to be observant to notice those kinds of details.
- Some details you could notice throughout the day. Rapid blinking, followed a few hours later by sitting staring into space, could signify that your friend is tired.
Remember your friends' complaints.If your friend complained earlier in the morning that she forgot money for lunch, then you see her later looking sick, you'll immediately know what she needs: lunch money. If your friend complains that his mom has been working long hours at the office and you later see him hanging around after school, it's obvious he needs a ride home.
Put all the clues together.Combine your knowledge of your friends' current situations, their current well-being, their body language and actions, and earlier complaints to make an educated guess what's bugging them and what you can do to help. If all else fails, you can just ask.
Make sure you're not overbearing.Your friends wil all get annoyed if you're constantly breathing down their necks, asking if they're okay and trying to offer them things they don't need. If you do it at the right times though, everyone will love having you around- and you'll love the smiles you cause.
Anticipating Stranger's Needs
Be cautious.Do not approach strangers alone. If you're going to approach a stranger, do it in a place where there are a lot of people around and preferably with a friend. You don't know what these strangers could do to you.
- If you're approaching a small child, approach them in a way that they feel safe as well.
Observe body language.If the person you are looking at is laughing or smiling, then obviously they don't need anything. A head buried in the arms, slumped shoulders, or (mostly for small children) crying all signal that the person is unhappy and in need of something.
Try to eavesdrop.If the person you are observing is having a conversation, try to listen in to get a hint about what they need. To do this, take a seat near them, maybe a table over. Appear to be doing something normal, like eating or reading a book, and listen to the person talk. Try to find out what their problem is.
Approach the person with caution.Ask them if they are okay and if you can help them with anything. You can gently bring up one of your past observations, saying something like:
- Are you okay? You look a little sick.
- I thought I heard you say you lost your wallet. Would you like some help finding it?
With the person's permission, help them with what they need.The exception to this is if they are a total creep, in which case you should politely excuse yourself from the conversation, or if they are a small child who is lost. In that case, they obviously need help and it is up to you to help them.
Don't be a creep.It's fine to be a friendly stranger lending a helping hand, but you'll appear creepy if you're staring at people, butting into their conversations, and trying to help everyone who walks by.
Be Prepared Ahead of Time
Know the sticky situations your friends often get into.Make a list so you remember. Maybe one of your friends always forgets her lunch. Maybe another one of your friends is a procrastinator. Maybe one of your friends gets anxious in crowds. Write all of this down.
Prepare for your friends' material needs.If you go to school, you'll have a backpack to put everything in. If you're preparing for your friend's needs outside of school, get a bag to put everything in. First pack the things each friend will specifically need. For example, photocopies of those important papers for your forgetful friend, a jacket for the friend that's always cold, paper for your procrastinator friend. Then pack generic things:
- A cell phone
- Pads or tampons (if you're a girl)
Come up with ways to help your friends that get into non-material situations.If one of your friends gets anxious in crowds, come up with ways to excuse him/her from group situations. If one of your friends falls asleep in class, be prepared to kick them under the table ever so often.
When one of your friends looks distressed, ask what's wrong.When they tell you, get what they need from the bag you packed or do what you have been preparing to do. Then when you get home, refill your bag.
- Sometimes it doesn't hurt to just ask what is wrong.
- If your friend is having a bad day or a bad time, there may be nothing you can do to make them feel better.
- Any little kid crying with no sign of an adult around needs help.
Video: Abraham Hicks 💜 Simplify Your Life By Learning To Anticipate!
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