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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friendship & Your Emotional Bank

Yesterday, a friend PM'd me to say that she was going to miss an activity because she just couldn't afford the trip right now.  We all have real life interfere with our pleasure once in a while, so I answered back that I'd buy her dinner if she wanted to travel with a mutual friend.  She PM'd back that she didn't want to take advantage of this friend, that she might get tired of "carrying" her.  Do you ever get that feeling?

I know that there are times I think another person is doing too much for me.  I am so accustomed to doing things for myself that I have a hard time accepting help.  I've been a single parent most of my adult life, my father died when I was about 12 yrs old, things happen--and you just get used to taking care of yourself.  But, if I don't mind helping out a friend, why do I think I'm imposing on them when they help me out?  It's a conundrum.  My sister-in-law told me once that the Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive--and then she told me that if I refused to accept her help, I was stealing her blessing.  Now, she wasn't helping me to get a blessing, but she wanted me to understand that I couldn't always be the one giving--I had to step back and accept a gift myself once in a while. 

We each have an emotional bank, whether we've ever acknowledged it or not.  As long as people are making a deposit (read about the 5 languages of love), we move right along.  Sometimes, a huge withdrawal (a disappointment--a time when the other person needs your patience and forgiveness).  If there haven't been enough deposits, it's hard to cover that withdrawal.  We can, however, choose to give them credit--which we often do.  In a good relationship, that person regains their emotional health and begins making deposits again--things come out even.

My friend's message really made me think.  It's not a big deal to pay for a friend's dinner or to offer them a ride.  After all, I think friends take things in turns.  If I can't afford it that week, she pays for me.  When I want to go out, and my friend can't afford it, I pay for them.  Isn't that what friendship is all about?  There's a give and take to friendship--and as long as each person perceives that they get what they need and gives what they can afford (be it emotions or other), the friendship prospers.

I am blessed to have some incredible friends.  My friends are as generous with their time, energy, and possessions as anyone could wish.  I say to this particular friend: You're a rock, a true friend--and if you ever need to be carried, I'm there!

Here's a pic of some of my favorite friends...most of us met on an internet dating site and decided to get together once a month for dinner and dominoes.  It's been 5 years now and the group is going strong!

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