Here are 5 ways to make someone feel special

In a new relationship or one seasoned by time, for a female or male friend or relative, young or old, same sex or other, the desire to feel appreciated is universal, and the means of showing that you care are available to everyone. Is there someone you would like to please, someone whom you would love to have think of you warmly? Choose one of the following. Heck, choose ALL of the following. I promise you the deed will be worth the doing:

  1. Give small “just-for-you” presents. Whether it’s a candy bar you know the other likes or a paperback book you found at a garage sale, it really is all about the adage that it’s the thought that counts.
  2. Make it a point to slightly touch him or her often. Nothing intimate; just an enthusiastic hug of pleasure when you greet or part; a casual touch on the shoulder as you pass; a friendly squeeze of the arm as you walk side-by-side. Many studies have shown the power of touch to boost people’s mood and sense of connection; one paper found that even the most fleeting touch of the fingers when a librarian returned a reader’s card made the customer remember the library visit as a more pleasant experience (thought without ever realizing why).
  3. Share a warm memory of the other person with him or her. I was thinking the other day about the time I saw you… Knowing that you are noticed, remembered, or thought of, is wonderfully flattering to anyone.
  4. Make something. Whatever your talent, employ it to create something that will make someone feel special and appreciated. If you can cook, invite the friend for a home-cooked dinner or tea with your own baked treat. Such gestures are long-remembered: A man in my life long ago made me a meal that had almonds in everything—the salad, the main dish, and the dessert, all because I casually mentioned when we first met that I liked them. Needless to say, the fact that he took such a casual comment to heart impressed me even more than the meal. Similarly, a folded paper crane made by a young relative just learning origami has had pride of place on my desk for more than a year and always makes me smile.
  5. Plan an event. A friend once picked me up at work for an arranged lunch date and brought a blanket and packed basket for a picnic with everything—including (chocolate-covered) ants, an experience in themselves! What might have been a rushed workday meal in a crowded food court became a memorable event. This was almost 50 years ago. How many lunches have I eaten with friends in the intervening years I couldn’t guess but this one stands out and so does the person who arranged it.

Many times over our lives, hopefully, we have been made to feel special through such gestures as these. We should all hope that we have spread as much warmth around through our own thoughtful acts, and will continue to do so, as well.

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© Copyright 2015 Isadora Alman, M.F.T., All rights Reserved.
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Isadora Alman, M.F.T., is a California licensed marriage and relationship therapist, a Board-certified sexologist, author and lecturer. Her syndicated sex and relationship column "Ask Isadora" ran in alternative weekly papers worldwide for 25+ years. Web surfers can find her columns on her online free interactive Sexuality Forum (link is external). She is the author of two collections of Q & A's from columns: Let's Talk Sex and Ask Isadora, as well as Sex Information, May I Help You?, a peek behind the scenes of a sex help phone line which still flourishes in San Francisco today. Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex is a collection of helpful hints and titillating tidbits culled from column readers and Forum web site users. Her novel Bluebirds of Impossible Paradises: A Sexual Odyssey of the 70's is out in paperback on She has also contributed chapters to several books including Herotica (Down There Press), Dick For A Day (Villard NY), The Moment Of Truth (Seal Press) and Single Woman Of A Certain Age (Inner Ocean Publishing, Inc.) Isadora has been a talk show host and frequent TV and radio talk show guest, and a lecturer and workshop leader on a variety of communications topics. She conducts her private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.