Be A Friend This Winter
I recently saw a really amazing Christmas advert for a German company and honestly it moved me to tears so much I knew I just had to act. I want to raise awareness for the message it told because it is honestly such an important one and something I’ve always felt strongly about!
The advert tells the story of an elderly man who’s children cancel seeing him at Christmas due to their busy lives. They then receive invitations to his funeral. Of course, all of his children come rushing to his home to find him sat at the dinner table, with it all laid up for a meal. He simply says “how else was I supposed to get you all to visit”. It’s so sad because no one should ever feel lonely, particularly in Winter when the cold and holiday season makes being alone all the more hard. I immediately googled how to help the elderly this winter and so many responses came up; from The Salvation Army to Age UK. But one that I wanted to highlight in particular is Be A Friend.
Be A Friend is simply a campaign spreading the importance of being friendly and helpful to the people around you. There’s loads of helpful tips on there on how you can incorporate simple everyday actions to Be A Friend to someone; even so much as talking to someone as you wait for a bus or a train. I did this the other week when travelling home from Cardiff for the weekend and I met the most lovely lady at Bristol Railway Station. It turns out she was off on her first holiday since her husband had died and she was so nervous and excited. She was off on a cruise around the Caribbean! It was so lovely to speak to her, and after teaching her how to use her new camera for the trip she thanked me for taking the time to speak to her. The reality is I hadn’t taken any time at all. Whether I spoke to her or not I still had to sit on that platform, so I was so glad I decided to take out my headphones and start a conversation. The little actions you do can mean a lot.
That’s something I think about often; what little actions can I do to make someone smile. It’s so easy to start a conversation, I just use the terribly British ‘go-to’ and talk about the weather! Something like “Gosh isn’t it cold today” or “Gosh, I miss the summer” could be all it takes to start a conversation and Be A Friend this winter.
If it’s in your local area, look to see if they need any assistance, but don’t be patronising. Slip it into conversation or if they’re boarding a bus or train offer to help them on with their bags. It’s the little things that make a difference.
I’ve signed a pledge to Be A Friend and To lend a helping hand a friendly face whenever I can. I think it’s so important for everyone to make a pledge, it’s free and easy and takes no time at all. It’s about joining together to let people know that there are people out there that care. I’m going to make sure that whenever I’m out and about I’m not looking at my phone or listening to music, I’ll make sure that I’m engaging with life and making sure that there aren’t people out there that could use a friendly face.
There are so many more ways you can Be A Friend this winter, here’s a few tips to get you started:
- Make sure the path outside your house is hazard free to avoid people tripping up and injuring themselves. This means trying to keep it clear of ice as well!
- Offer to help carry someone’s bags to their car/bus etc. I do this at my job in a supermarket, just that little extra effort will really mean a lot to someone.
- Start a conversation with people, simple as!
- Always offer a friendly smile and “hello”
- If you know of someone near you that may have trouble with mobility, offer to do their shopping for them, or to accompany them
So those are just a few tips to get you started, and they are so easy to do! Of course, you don’t have to stop there! Why not host a tea party or coffee morning in your local area or invite people over for Christmas day if otherwise they’d be alone!
Being a friend is so easy to do, and it seems people are forgetting the smallest things. It would be really amazing to see more people going out of their way to help others on a daily basis. So please take the Be A Friend pledge today and help make someone’s winter that little bit warmer!