40Acts2015: Act N°27: Widen Your Circle


Your group, your clique, your club, your ‘gang’, your crowd. It’s great to have a core circle of friends, but it’s probably even better to open it up to include others. Who knows? You might end up with a Tinigua-speaking, acrobat artist with a special fondness for rich tea biscuits in your friendship group…!

Start here: Deliberately seek out those you’d normally avoid today and just start with a ‘Hello’. Say ‘Hi’ to someone new at the school gates, at the train station, at the water cooler or even on Twitter.

Feeling bolder: Got a social event coming up? Most people love going to see a movie, heading out for a meal or getting together for a party, so invite someone new and make it clear you’d really like them to come.

All Out There: You might know a few people that you just can’t be bothered with: you find them annoying/boring/too hyper/too quiet (insert your own gripe here). Someone once said those people are like sandpaper: they rub us up the wrong way but eventually smooth out all of our rough edges. Bring those people into your circle somehow today.

I read the last Action and I feel a bit scratchy and uncomfortable… When we arrived here I became acquainted with an English woman who had also recently moved into the area.She lived in a fairly remote house, about 20 minutes drive away, and didn’t drive. Or speak French.  She was very demanding, and I never felt we were friends, but rather that I was being used for lifts, for shopping, for company (she lived alone) While at the beginning I was okay with this, I did get to resent it, and when her daughter came out to live here with her, I was very, very happy to drop the woman like the proverbial hot brick. Now her daughter was here, I didn’t need to see her. So I didn’t.

Last summer she died, and her daughter is now living in the house, with her two daughters – but they are growing up and away at Lycée during the week. I have no real idea how much social life the daughter now has – I know she enjoys running with a mutual acquaintance, and has a job where she works shifts. Other than that…not much.

SO the weekend after next Mr FD is away with the cycle club. I’m busy on Saturday: I’ll be in Clermont,  making Palm crosses at church, organising the new church offices, maybe catching a VO film and then singing at an African Church’s celebratory service. However I will contact the daughter who I rarely speak to and see if she would like to meet up for a drink on Sunday or Monday. I’m not sure how easy it will be to make conversation, but I’ll make the effort.

This Act is quite difficult for me – I find it really hard to chat to strangers, and particularly in a language that I don’t speak too well. However, I do know the daughter a little – and she’s English! No language barriers there. No excuses, really, are there…?!



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