I’ve invented a game to cheer people up because it’s cold outside and Christmas is over. It’s called, you guessed it: ‘Text me some happy thoughts!’
You will need:
- Five friends (improvise according to popularity)
- A mobile phone (not necessarily your own but preferably not stolen)
Now then, the rules are very simple. Ask five people to text you some happy thoughts. You don’t really need to explain why. And you might want to assure them that they can reply with anything, however trivial or profound. Put some thought into your choice of five people. I went for the un-judgemental, and most likely to comply interestingly type, if I wanted to pay them a compliment. Bear in mind, this isn’t exactly a standard text to receive, they’ll probably think you’re standing atop a rooftop somewhere, about to jump… (If you are, please don’t. Read on.)
If ever I could start a viral trend, this would be it. You are making someone stop whatever they are doing, and getting them to think about something nice. No harm in that. They could be having a rubbish day and it might just cheer them up. You also end up knowing some things that make your friends happy, which can only be a good thing. And if they were particularly materialistic in their responses, you now know what to get them for their birthdays too.
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that the results of this little social experiment almost made my day, and they undoubtedly would have, had I not had a particularly good pulled-pork sandwich earlier. So what did my chosen five come up with?
One friend had just finished a (open quote) “fabulous” (close quote) arrangement for a “fabulous” song, and was in (still is in I hope) a generally “fabulous” mood. That’s pretty cool.
Another friend recalled the time her boyfriend tickled her so much that she launched a glass of water at his face. She added “puppies” for good measure. Good shout.
The self-proclaimed pessimist of the bunch sure took his time about it, but replied thoughtfully in the end, so I’m glad he did. He told me that he feels privileged to be white, middle class, living in the best conditions of all time. He said he is happy that most of his family are alive, and that he has “surprisingly high quality friends”. On a slightly different note, he is also looking forward to the new series of ‘The Unbelievable Truth’ on Radio 4. Each to their own.
The fourth answer had the same charming balance of triviality and profoundness. A visit to the Harry Potter studios earlier that day had left him all fan-boyish and nostalgic. He said something awfully sentimental about the privilege of having a best friend… And then something awfully narcissistic about turning out as “an excellent human being with an excellent taste in just about everything”. The concluding thoughts were of his bright future and love of university. I can confirm all to be true.
And then I received the following:
“Matching underwear, matching luggage, Burberry trench coats, Friday afternoons, Saturday mornings, watching my dad do DIY, watching people run for the bus, watching other people while they watch something they love, reality television, the internet, internet shopping, regular shopping, taking the cellophane off a new DVD, finding a really f***ing amazing gift for someone really f***ing amazing, people who buy f***ing amazing gifts, swearing in a welsh accent, people who really watch you when you talk, people who keep hugging when you try and pull away, listening to people who are really damn smart, talking to people who have a lot of general knowledge, laughing with people who really don’t know how funny they are, trying to control your laughter when you’re not supposed to be laughing, people who aren’t afraid, those friends who you can’t look at in those situations because you will piss yourself, fake laughing so much that you end up really laughing, making that invisible and unspoken bond with people at work because none of you want to be there, getting your first ever payslip, getting home after a long shift, taxi drivers who only charge you “how much you usually pay” and believe you when you lie about it, having a sister, being a sister, dancing with my sister, accidentally talking with my sister in the kitchen until 2am on a school night, people who say “yes” when teachers ask: “do you talk to your mother like that?” and “would you put your feet on the chair at home?”, people who get up and walk out when teachers say “stop talking or leave”, my friends, my family, making lists…writing down all the things that make me happy…being featured in blog posts…you.”
Oh I smiled.
What can I take from this little experiment/game?
One happy thought: I have five great friends. Actually, and I don’t mean to boast here, I have loads of great not-playing-the-game friends too.
Life’s good. Play the game. #textmesomehappythoughts
You can find further persuasion to get involved in this lovely post here: http://amarkedimprovement.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/text-me-some-happy-thoughts-why/