This week I have been inspired by a few stories I’ve read about Random Acts of Kindness and even though the stories weren’t directly speaking of romantic relationships, it had me revisit how much simple kindness is a recipe for success in romantic relationships.
One was a photo of a friend receiving a surprise to-go cup of tea on her front porch because she was feeling under the weather. Her close friend dropped it off.
The other was a story out of Naples, Italy about “suspended coffees”. I think it’s a beautiful movement.
“We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter:
‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave.
I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?”
My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.”
Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers – three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks
‘Do you have a suspended coffee ?’
It’s simple – people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who cannot afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support ? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it.”
Kindness in romantic relationships can be something we ironically overlook , especially when we are in ‘take mode’. When we are upset or stressed, kindness is one of the last things we want to express. Why? Well some people believe expressing kindness can be mistaken for weakness. That’s why I say it’s ironic because somewhere along the lines of communication, the wires have been crossed and we believe we can get kindness without giving kindness. That if we withhold kindness and consideration, somehow our partner will treat us with more kindness.
Since this doesn’t make sense, my advice is to ‘grease the kindness wheel’ in your relationship. Get it moving in more of a flow. First talk about the reasons you may be upset or stressed out and then each of you commit to showing more acts of kindness as a healthy maintenance on your relationship: Do a favor, send a loving text, drop off a surprise tea and see how things can change – even if it’s just a little bit.
Kindness is powerful. If it can make such a difference in a man who can’t afford a coffee, imagine the feel-good connection it can create between you and your partner?