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Some people are just a joy to be around

Finish this sentence: I want to be one of those people who …

Can do math in their head.

Can eat as much as they want and not gain weight.

Can speed read.

Can grow wonderful tomatoes.

Can learn to love exercise.

Can wear high heels all day.

Can brighten a person’s day just by chatting with them a moment or two.

I think that last one is most important. Right now think of three people you enjoy running into because you always walk away feeling happy.

I caught part of the conversation that Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan were having on TV a few days ago. They had a mutual acquaintance they said made them happy anytime they were around him. That made me think of those people in my life who do the same for me, and I bet it’s true for anybody they are around.

Have you thought of your three people? Don’t count your family or close friends. Think of acquaintances.

After some pondering (love that word), I decided the thing these people have in common is joyfulness. It’s obvious they love being alive and are appreciative of their blessings. They see the good in people, and a smile comes so easily to them that it’s impossible not to smile back.

I’ll give you one of my examples: Karen Humphreys. She is a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Kansas. The first time I met her was in Juvenile Court. No, I wasn’t in custody of the state, but my CASA kid was. That was when judges rotated in and out of JV court. She was different from any judge I’d seen there before. I was sure she would rotate out before I was back with another CASA case and was sad about that. I didn’t expect to see her again. But when I ran into her in a restaurant a few weeks after our day in court, she remembered me, and we chatted for a few minutes. I walked away several notches higher on the happy scale. Walking back to work, I thought, “Wow, how did she do that?”

We all have family members and friends we love to be around for lots of reasons. Maybe they’re funny or insightful. Maybe they are caring and helpful. Maybe they’re a bubble left of plumb, which makes them fascinating. And yes, sometimes it’s because they boost our spirits. And those are the ones you call or make a point to see when you’re needing a lift. Don’t you love it when you run into an “old friend you’ve always thought a lot of”? Sue Bair was my teacher and mentor at WSU, now a friend, and she makes me start grinning from 100 yards away.

But it’s also those serendipitous moments when you accidentally come across a person you don’t know well but who makes you happy. And it seems you make them happy just by showing up at the same place at the same time.

Maybe the thing to do is study those joyful people who make us feel good. I think I’ll start by once again counting my many, many blessings, smile, and go from there.

Reach Bonnie Bing at