Friendships are a two way street. They involve a “give and take”.
I believe we all understand these statements and we respect this need to have the exchange between Friends, but we may not be entirely clear on what it means. The definition of “give and take” may require some thought.
General criteria, guidelines, boundaries and limitations do not exist in our social understanding of “give and take”. These are normally defined by individuals themselves. This means that if I try to impose my definition on others, I will end up a very unhappy camper.
Friends are unique individuals, each with their own needs and desires, each with their own way of showing their affection. As an individual, I am a Friend and so are you. We both express our appreciation to others in very unique ways.
How do you express affection to your Friends?
How close or distant are you as a Friend?
Do you “give” differently from one Friend to another?
There is no right or wrong answer. What you will answer will summarize the type of Friend you are. It will also explain what you may expect from others. If you are a person who gives unconditionally as a Friend, you may expect others to do the same to you, at least to some degree. When they don’t, you feel disappointed.
So… What traits do you consider important and appropriate in your Friends?
Are you sometimes upset by your Friends’ behaviors? Why or what circumstance causes this conflict? Take the time to think about this and write in your Journal to understand your definition of “give and take”.
Accepting each person’s individuality in Friendship goes a very long way in keeping a healthy relationship with your Friends. I cannot and should not transpose my ways onto others, expecting them to act in the same manner. In addition, life, with its ups and downs, will undoubtedly cause changes in a person’s behavior as well. A very close and present Friend may take some distance and need some time out during difficult periods for example. As such, the “give and take” inherently present in Friendships will be a very variable element.
So who’s counting?
A Friend may be a wonderful Friend from a distance, calling for support only when she hears of a family emergency. Another Friend may feel the need to bring you chicken soup each time you get the flu. You may or may not return the favor in the exact same way… I have my own unique way of showing affection, very different from yours. Nobody should be counting.
The respect of each Friend’s individuality leads to a path of Happiness.