After reading yesterday’s post, alert reader Marci at Overcoming Busy pointed me to The Creative Mama, who had a post about learning and keeping track of the little details reflecting our friends’ likes and dislikes.She e-mailed her friends a form (available for download HERE) and asked them to fill it in and send it back in order to have a record on hand. She pointed out that it was helpful when shopping for birthday gifts to know details like a friend’s favorite color.It reminded me of a friend of mine who scheduled volunteers for her work. She kept 3 by 5 cards in a file box, one for each person. If a volunteer would phone to explain that she was having surgery and wouldn’t be available, my friend would note that on the card. Next time she contacted that volunteer, she didn’t have to rely on memory; she could pull out the card to be sure to follow up and ask about the surgery. This became a way for her to really connect with people. Her volunteers felt known and loved.I store contact info in Outlook, and the “Notes” section on the contact form is ideal for this same purpose. It’s great for recording details that might come up in a conversation or e-mail—important events in a friend’s life that might otherwise slip my mind. The old noggin’ ain’t what it used to be, so I can’t rely on brainpower alone to pull these things up on demand.Here’s an example, if you can read it:Clicking on a friend’s name on my Outlook contacts page and scanning the Notes section jogs my mind. I can ask about a recent vacation or a child’s strep throat or other important events. And if I want, I can note her blouse size, favorite color, likes and dislikes, the gifts I give her each Christmas, and her kids’ birthdays, because the space in Notes is unlimited.My dear friend who thoughtfully handed me lemonade instead of tea dislikes nutmeg and loves to collect mugs and books. I remember that on my own, for now, but the “Notes” section is there if I need to lean on a memory aid.It’s an extra step, but if the effort helps me know and love my friends in specific ways, it’s worth it.Many thanks for Overcoming Busy and The Creative Mama for such practical ideas.