I started this last year but only got through the first two months....
By Gretchen Rubin
New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2009
This time I finished the book. And really enjoyed it.
There is some practical stuff in here, and a few chapters/principles that I really want to implement.
The biggest one that I want to work on now comes from Chapter 6 or June: "Make Time for Friends: Friendship."
Being in a new city and starting over means making new friends and keeping in touch with old ones. Thankfully, I've been practicing my cards and treats by mail for the past couple years, so staying in touch with old friends already has a good start. And now my friends in Nashville will benefit from this more since I moved. Now, I need to bribe some new friends with treats and cards.....
Rubin makes five points in the chapter on friendship: remember birthdays, be generous, show up, don't gossip, and make three new friends.
Remember birthdays. Facebook and the birthdays app on the iPad have helped here. I need to get in a better routine of actually planning ahead, so it's not the actual day before I jump on Facebook to write on someone's wall real quick. I want to be more intentional and better prepared to wish a friend a happy birthday. And I've grown tired of just wishing people happy birthday via Facebook. I've decided that if I can't get a card in the mail on time, I'm going to email or text or maybe even call (gasp!) my friend on their birthday.
And make three new friends. This is a good one for me right now. Rubin talks about making three new friends in whatever new situation she found herself in. The tips that she gives freak me, the introvert, out a little bit (smile more frequently, open a conversation, try to look accessible and warm) but she admits to being a bit calculating about the process and pushing herself to do something different. I think I just need to keep this mind as I start to find a new community in my new hometown.
So, yes, I would recommend this book. It's very practical and encourages you to make your own list of principles and ideas to pursue in a happiness project. I like the one month chunks of time to focus on a new idea. It's enough time to form a habit before moving on to the next one. Pick it up -- or ask to borrow my copy. I'd loan it to you.