Dr. Jasmine found it very easy to make friends. Start with a friendly greeting, brighten the other’s day, share a heartfelt compliment, discuss interests, get to know the person, tell a joke or two, and before she knew it, she had made a new friend.
Though making friends brought her tremendous pleasure, she wasn’t inspired to do so for entirely selfish reasons: her new friends became happy, too, boosted by the joy of knowing that there was one more person in the world that cared about their welfare.
Many of Dr. J’s friend-making techniques came directly from playing Sims Forever.
The game reduced the complexities of life to a simple formula: needs, wishes, aspirations. Yet, as a model, it served incredibly useful, both for her and for her former clients, for whom she had often prescribed a few hours of daily game-play followed by journaling their observations of Sims that might help them with areas of their own lives.
The forums were another matter entirely, often more likely to cause frustration than enjoyment. So she approached them strategically: seek out the kind-hearted members who could make good use of encouragement and who would then, in turn, share encouragement with others.
Dr. Jasmine approached life as a warrior, and, indeed, this plane often felt like the battlefield of good and evil.
It was so easy for another’s moment of sadness or frustration to turn into a thoughtless action or word, and then bad feelings would spread from person to person. However, with care and a well thought-out strategy, one could also turn aside anger, boredom, hurt, and bring a smile to another. Smiles could spread, too.
Some afternoons, Dr. J whipped up a batch or two of cookies, put on a pot of tea, and invited over enough acquaintances to fill her kitchen. By the time her guests left, they were acquaintances no longer: now they were friends.
And sometimes, by the time they left they were good friends.
Dr. Jasmine loved the tired feeling she had after all the guests left, even when one or two of them would sometimes stay and dance the night away while she cleaned up and got ready for bed.
When Dr. Jasmine learned that Diane Oh’s mother hated children, she took on Diane as a special project. Diane’s walk home from school led past Dr. J’s house, and often, Dr. Jasmine invited her in for a visit and a snack.
Diane’s parents were only too happy for their daughter to spend her afternoons and evenings with Dr. J, and as for Dr. J, she adored having her young kindred spirit over for extended and regular visits.
It was so easy for Dr. J to provide a little encouragement and support to Diane, who seemed to get so very little of that at home.
All Dr. Jasmine had to do was share her home, share her heart, and be herself with the little girl.
And while Dr. J modeled the free self-expression of joy for Diane, Diane found that she could provide a very good model of disciplined learning for Dr. J. Their evening chess matches were the highlights of the visits for Diane, who took great delight in mentoring the development of the kind doctor’s logic skills.
“You’ll be playing like a grand master in no time, Dr. J,” said Diane, “And I’ll be dancing like a silly old hippie.”