DAY 31: A NEW START. . .

By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

At times when I read through the e-mails I have received from readers or listen to the conversations of the people around me, I cannot help but wonder if a new disease has not crept in amongst us without us even realizing it. It is a disease you cannot detect by doing blood tests, but it eats away at a person’s soul with the aim to destroy your confidence. An epidemic – known as loneliness.

Recently I overheard a conversation in which a lady told how she sometimes becomes so lonely, that she speaks to the kitchen walls just to feel that someone is with her in her home. Is that how you are feeling today?

But how does one make new friends?

In 1920, the psychologist George W. Crane taught an evening class in social psychology at the Northwest University of Chicago. Amongst the class members sat a girl, named Lois. After Lois accepted a job in Chicago, she left her friends and family behind in the small rural town, Wisconsin and moved to Chicago. During her loneliness at night, she often wrote letters to her friends at home.

After one of the evening classes, she told Crane about her feelings of isolation. This conversation gave Crane an idea for a new project, which he later named the “Compliments Club”. This assignment ran over a period of thirty days.

In order to pass the project successfully, each student had to daily give three honest compliments to three different people. And at the end of the thirty days, each student had to write an essay about their experience, including: How did your compliments influence the people around you? And how did the project change your perspective on life?

Initially most of the students were negative or cautious about the project, as they feared rejection. However they all were prepared to participate.

When George Crane read through the essays he got back from the students at the end of the project, there was a smile on his face. All the students said they could see and feel how their honest compliments had a positive effect on the people around them. Most of the students acknowledged that the project had completely changed their perspective on life and people around them.

This project also changed Lois’s life. She not only become a jovial person, but through implementing the principles from the “Compliments Club”, she made more and better friends in Chicago than what she left behind in Wisconsin.

Do you feel lonely today? May I encourage you with God’s Words in Hebrews 13:5: “I will never leave, nor forsake you.”

Start looking for opportunities to reach out to the people around you and give honest compliments. You might be amazed at how this will change your life! God bless.

Father God, thank you that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Please help me to be a good friend to others and please send the right friends to cross my path. I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

** BOOK LAUNCH OF WYSHEID, OORDENKINGS UIT SPREUKE by Benescke Janse van Rensburg: Saturday, 25 February 2012, Bellville. For more information, contact Karin at 021 949 7419 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

** Benescke Janse van Rensburg is a motivational speaker, freelance journalist and author of the books, Ontdek God in die stories van mense and also Wysheid, oordenkings uit Spreuke.