Recently I have had cause to notice a particularly wonderful class of people. They seem to go through life positively sparkling. They are the people everyone wants to be friends with. The ones that gather a crowd around them at parties, simply by being there. The ones who brighten your day just by saying Hi on the way past. They are like sunbeams on a cloudy day, and it’s fundamentally built in to their personalities.
I have tried to work out exactly what makes someone a member of the sparkly class. It’s not easy to define, but I have come up with a short list of essential qualities. I think it’s something we can all learn from – we can’t all be innately sparkly, but we can certainly imitate some of these wonderful qualities in our own lives.
1. Paying attention. Sparkly people take a genuine interest in everyone they meet. When they ask you how you are, they really want to know. They make (and hold) eye contact, they are undistracted by events around them, and they really listen. These are the people you find yourself telling your life story to, without ever intending to. It’s too easy to spend the time someone else is talking thinking about other things, or working out what we are going to say next. It’s a natural side effect of a hectic life. But taking the time to show real interest in someone else makes them feel special, important, and valued. And who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?
2. Remembering. Not only do they listen, but sparkly people remember what you tell them, and will ask you later what happened, or how it worked out, or how things have progressed since you last spoke. It’s intriguing, because sparkly people are almost invariably ludicrously, chaotically busy. They have more things (and people) in their life than even two people could realistically cope with. But they still remember you. Making you feel valued again.
3. Being busy. They are almost invariably ludicrously busy. I’m not sure how this contributes to them sparkling – it may simply be a side effect of being so lovely to be around, and collecting people like other people collect stamps or star wars figurines. Or it might mean that they don’t have time to dwell on the bad stuff.
4. Positive thinking. It’s not that they are never down. Bad stuff happens to everyone now and then. But sparkly people are rarely so down that they can’t muster a smile, and they are really good at seeing the upside of bad situations. It’s infectious. Tell a sparkly person that you didn’t get the job you had your heart set on, and they will tell you how wonderfully amazing you are, and within moments have you persuaded that a better opportunity will naturally present itself to someone as fabulous as you. And you’ll go on believing it, even after they have gone.
5. Not judging. Sparkly people are invariably non-judgemental. They are interested in everything, and predisposed to believe that everyone has a worthwhile point of view, even if it differs from their own. They will not judge you or belittle you for your choices. On the contrary, they will support and validate you in everything that you do.
Sparkly people come from all walks of life. I know a sparkly fireman, a school principal, a crossing guard, a Suzuki violin and ballet teacher, and a couple of professors, among many others. So here is my challenge to you – first, identify the sparkly people in your life. Then learn from them – put some sparkle into your own life.