The Importance Of Small Stuff In A Relationship

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – And It’s All Small Stuff makes great reading. Much of the book deals with not getting all bound up in making mountains out of molehills, or letting the small stuff get you down. It’s also about not letting the small stuff get in the way of a relationship.

But the small stuff can be important in a positive way as well. People who ignore small stuff can miss out on a lot, and that can show in a relationship. Following are a few things that one might call small stuff, simply because we ignore them, are unaware of them, or are just too busy dealing with the “important” stuff.

Listening – One thing most of us never give much thought to is listening. Sure, when someone talks to us, we listen. Quite often though, our mind is elsewhere, or we’re concentrating on what it is we’re going to say in response. Most of us don’t listen well. Listening well was very important to Ernest Hemingway, who felt that to write well, you had to know how to listen well. Learning to listen well is one of those small things that can be hard to learn to do, but it can make a good relationship even better. Hemingway had this to say about listening:


            “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. I like to listen. I have learned a        great deal from listening completely.”


When you can quote verbatim something your best friend or significant other had said a day or two earlier, and say something favorably about that quote, you’ll score a few points.

Being There – Sounds like a great title for a movie doesn’t it?  Being there means changing your immediate priorities, and instead, focusing all of your energy and attention on your sweetheart. It’s a small thing that becomes a big thing, especially when it’s not expected. Let’s say you’re doing important stuff at work, or trying to get something done by a self-imposed deadline. Why not drop everything and invite your loved one to lunch, or to a movie? It’s a spur of the moment thing, and spur of the moment things can mean a lot. Just don’t say “I needed a break.”  It’s better to say something like “I’ve been thinking about you all day, and I’ve been missing you”. By being there, you’re giving someone your full attention. People like being given attention. Being there also means being at someone’s side when they are lonely or hurting. By being there you’re telling your sweetheart that she (or he) is Number One, and you’re Number Two, and happy to be so.

Sharing A Good Day – A good day can often be a day that is filled with paying attention to the small stuff, those things you might otherwise tend to ignore, be unaware of, of feel are of lesser importance.  A day can get off to a good start by placing a small bouquet on the breakfast table, even if it only consists of a single flower. That’s something you don’t normally do, but you’re sharing that experience with your best friend. A good day can mean taking the time to take a walk, even a short one, just to walk and talk a bit with the one you love. A good day can mean having lunch in a small restaurant, where the food is inexpensive but good, and the atmosphere is cozy. The whole purpose of the lunch is to share a moment with someone. It’s not to try to impress someone.

Paying Attention – Paying attention isn’t just a repeat of what was said about listening well, but listening well is often a part of it. Paying attention involves much more. You pay attention to what someone is doing, and you comment (favorably of course) on it. You pay attention to how a person is dressed, how they look, or the scent of their perfume or cologne. You notice the color of their lipstick. You may ask your best friend why she is doing something. You’re not asking to be nosy or inquisitive, but to show that what she is doing interests you. You not only want to know what she’s doing, but how she’s doing,

Showing Appreciation For Small Things – Be appreciative, even for small things. In some countries, particularly the Scandinavian countries, you can’t say “Thank you” enough. Maybe they overdo it sometimes, where it becomes mechanical rather than sincere, but it’s nevertheless expected. You can still say thank you for small things. Just be sincere, and you’re not apt to overdo it. It doesn’t always have to be “Thank you”  – almost any words of appreciation or gratitude will do.


When someone has accomplished something that you know makes them feel pleased, proud, or happy, let them know you’re happy too, and that you feel good for them. They’ll feel even better knowing they made you happy, and they’re apt to remember that good feeling.

Small  Stuff Can Create Special Moments – There’s an abundance of small stuff out there worth doing or sharing. All you have to do is look. Winning the lottery is a special moment, but most special moments come about from doing or sharing small things, like sharing a sunset, seeing a puppy in a window, or just stopping to have a brief conversation with a passing friend. Special moments are even  more special when they are shared, and later remembered.

Showing that you care about the small stuff says a lot about you. Small should never be confused with unimportant. There are levels of importance, but the smallest thing that’s shared can sometimes be very important in a relationship. You may have just received a big promotion, but guess what? It’s the flowers you put on the breakfast table that morning that might be the thing that’s remembered the longest.

Sometimes the best gifts are small gifts. Ones that are not given for any special occasion. It’s like – “I just noticed this and it made me think of you, so I bought it.” The gift might be a diamond ring, or it might be something something useless, but goofy. It’s the thought that counts. Just make sure going “goofy” won’t backfire.

Finally, whenever you do something small, try to do it well. What does that mean? When we doing something grand, doing it well  may be expected, and the end result is there for all to see. When we do something small for someone, it’s usually much more personal, and when done well it means just that much more. It’s that extra touch. Small stuff counts.