Forty-four sixty-seven. Forty-four sixty-seven. Forty-four sixty-seven. That was my mantra as I frantically searched my purse, praying I would discover the additional $4.67 I needed to pay for my groceries, but knew I did not have. Customers in line behind me sighed and rolled their eyes. Despite this, I was about to experience a beautiful act of charity from someone I didn’t know.
“Mommy, can we get these?” my kids asked, holding up candy bars. The cashier glared at me like I was an idiot. Tears stung my eyes and I knew I had to admit I could not afford my groceries. I swallowed my emotions and said, “Okay, let’s put that box of cereal back, and that box of graham crackers and I should be okay, then.” I handed the cashier my two twenty dollar bills—all I had for the next several days.
Out of the blue, a woman in line stepped forward and handed me a ten-dollar bill. “Get what you need and keep the change.” Humiliated, but extremely grateful, I thanked her two or three times and walked out with my children. That simple act of kindness was the nicest thing anyone had done for me in a long time and it gave me a little boost in my otherwise very stressed-out life.
These days, stories like mine are not that uncommon. Many people take the opportunity to “pay it forward,” whether it’s leaving a humongous tip for a waiter or a neighbor mowing and trimming the yard for a sick neighbor or any of the many other random acts of kindness people do for someone else. It is thoughtfulness like this that restores people’s faith in humanity and makes the world a better place to live. As a single person, focusing on the needs of others is a great way to shift the focus from yourself to finding those opportunities to show someone generosity.
I think this same concept could easily apply to singles and dating, especially online dating. You do not have to be out on a date to show someone kindness or thoughtfulness, you can easily do this as you get to know that person through the initial exchanges of emails. I recently received this suggestion from a CatholicMatch member:
You pay 60 dollars to send messages etc., you find someone who interests you, send them a message and they don’t even bother to look at your profile… how can they have a clue what they think before taking a look? …All the searching one does is completely in vain. Can you maybe write an article encouraging people to open profiles, even if as a minimum, out of courtesy for the person taking an interest in them?
It is true, it really is difficult to gauge whether or not someone is suitable for you by just a glance at a photo in an email. This member offers a great suggestion and one that could payoff in more ways than one. For example, if you take the time to actually click into someone’s profile, spend a few moments to read it and see what that member is all about, you might find something that warrants a compliment. In leaving a compliment in your response to his or her query, you have the perfect segway to begin a conversation. At the very least, you would make someone feel good about himself, even if after reading the profile you decide you are not interested in dating that person.
Another great reason to take the time to click into and read the profile of someone you have received correspondence from is because she may not be someone you are interested in dating, but you might see from her profile that someone you know would be very interested in her. You could be responsible for introducing someone you care about to their future spouse.
Of course, the most important reason to take the time to read the profile of someone who has contacted you is to see if they are suitable for you. So, if you are faced with the temptation to decline someone based on the photo you see in her initial correspondence, why not take a few more seconds to click on her profile and see what she is all about? You never know what awaits you… possibly the love of your life.
Please send your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.