I notice tiny, subtle details that normally go unnoticed; the pensive pause after a particular sentence, the sudden glance down, the unusually sparkling eyes, the fiddling with a pencil, the quiet insecurity that comes off to others as arrogance. Somehow, I see dozens of minute details and assemble them into a coherent portrait of a person and their needs.
It can be a problem though. Take tonight, for instance. A small group of friends and I went out to eat and as we talked and laughed, I couldn't help but watch them. One in particular, I noticed, was quiet. Pensive. We'd laugh and he'd just smile. The others didn't notice, but he chewed slowly and his eyes were fleetingly sad. We talked on of school and old, lost loves, but deep within me, I felt the small weight of his unnamed despondency. Minutes later he was back to his usual self and the night progressed excellently - it was great fun and we all had a wonderful time.
I later made the mistake of asking him about it...and that's where my problem comes in. I notice something's not right, or uneasy, and I say something. My friends don't need me making sure they're emotionally okay. People want friends, not mothers. How do you find that balance between being a good friend and caring too much? How do you care and yet not be too-attentive? Mothering? Fussy?