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In my life I find myself practicing a certain sort of attitude that is subtle but impactful in its own way. While I do tend to look at life with positivity and a sense of adventure, I would be lying if I said I was always chipper—or even always optimistic. However, there’s an approach I take to my interactions with others that I pride myself on, and though it does not receive much recognition, I believe it’s an important part of my personality. People overlook the importance of being amiable. We tend to concern ourselves with being bigger and better—more courageous, more intelligent, more popular, more exciting. The stress and confusion of applying for colleges has confirmed this in my eyes irrevocably. At this point in time, my friends (and I, as a matter of fact) are uncomfortably focused on their grades, their test scores, their high school transcripts and their academic strengths. It feels unfair that the admissions officers who read their applications might not see what I see—their empathy, sensitivity, thoughtfulness and warmth. I wish that loyalty could be measured by a grade; I wish that kindness could be reported on a transcript. I wish that more value was placed on making others feel comfortable and content.Friendliness is one of the most underrated traits in human beings. True greatness can be found in everyday interactions that end with a little smile, or a warm feeling, no matter how slight. That’s why I turn being a good friend into a way of life—inclusion, appreciation and affection are three pillars in the temple of friendship. I give frequent, genuine compliments and authentic, attentive support. I notice new hairstyles, pick out thoughtful gifts and give valuable advice. I care about the people around me, even if we’re not incredibly close. I offer help to anyone who needs me, even if they didn’t ask. These things seem so small, but they make a big difference. There is power in being the one your friends come to for support; there is fulfillment in taking care of those around you, even if all you can do is sit beside them while they cry. My objective in life at this moment is not to be the protagonist or the hero. It is not to be more interesting, funny, attractive or successful. Those qualities are beautiful, but they don’t sustain me. My objective is to create lasting, meaningful relationships with the people and places around me; to do everything I can in service of acceptance, joy and love. I will embrace softheartedness without shying from the vulnerability it brings. I will make sure the people around me feel appreciated and included. I will be kinder than I have to be, listen attentively even if the story isn’t exciting, practice peacefulness even when I’m upset, without seeking recognition—and I want others to do the same. I don’t need to be noticed; I don’t need to be told that I’m special or exciting or talented. I get the same thrill from being told that I’m fun to talk to, that I give good presents, that I take the awkwardness out of uncomfortable situations. I know that, like many others, I have a great destiny, and I will someday achieve it–but along the way, I will make friends.
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