Friday, May 24, 2013

I am not the Friend I thought I was.

So I was at the tail end of an argument between two friends and I heard one mutter under her breath "this is how I get treated after I have invited him to the house five times."  Granted, I was not sure whether I was supposed to overhear that comment or not, but I realized at that moment that my friend was keeping score. That perhaps her view is that friendship is more of a quid pro quo than a two way street. Of course that comment got me I keeping score?
Lately, I've been doing a lot for my friends: errands, small favors, big favors. Doing things for others when I would rather be doing something else. In some cases there was some serendipity: an unexpected tour of a beautiful home, rides in expensive cars....both things I enjoyed immensely. In some cases there was just hard work and no reward beyond that of knowing I helped a friend, someone I care about. That's when I realized, I was keeping score too. 
That in that complex and very delicate relationship that we call friend, there is a constant give and take. That there is a tipping point on either side where one party feels a bit put upon.  Unlike family where a favor can be returned in the next generation and although forgiveness is implied, it is not guaranteed. What is guaranteed with family is that you're stuck with them and generally, barring something drastic, you have a lifetime to work off the debt owed in the "favor bank". With friends the favor bank is more of a short term loan, time can run out and it's time to say "what can I do for you?" or even better "can I invite you to dinner."

Let's just make one thing clear, I am not a Marcie to your Peppermint Patty.  I will ask for something in might be tomorrow it might be in ten years. It might be a hug, it might be moving day. So I am not as true a friend as I thought I was, you gotta show the love too.