What makes you feel welcome?
Many times in my life I've felt unwelcome. (Not a happy thought, but bear with me, it gets better.) Because I'm the kind of guy who analyzes everything, I've tried to figure out why, why I felt that way, or what might have happened to put me off. But no matter how hard I try, I can't come up with an explanation.
Over time I began to suspect that it wasn't what people were doing, but what they weren't doing, that made me feel unwelcome. Maybe I was responding not to the presence of something, but to the absence. Something was missing.
Some people know how to make up for that absence. We call them "welcoming people."
Of course my next question was "Am I a welcoming person?"
Surely there are techniques we could all learn. Surely it's not hard to enhance one's "welcomingness."
Luckily I have good role models. "Come back when you can stay longer," my grandparents have said. "Come back and see us!" they say, even today, when we part company. "Whenever you're in town. There's a room for you, and a seat at the table." It works for me. I know I belong.
What works for you? What has made you feel welcome? Take a moment to write your thoughts, and we'll all learn how it's done.
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