Everyone Is Not Your Friend...
I'm an avid YouTube watcher. I use it as a search engine. I follow certain vlogs and have the privilege of silently cheering for the friends (either in real life or in my head) while they grow through amazing life phases and such. I sometimes even get caught in the abyss of YouTube where I find myself seeing blackhead extractions, asking myself, "How the hell did I get here?"
I've recently bumped into multiple videos of women that talked about not having friends. At first, I thought this sounded impossible. Surely, they must have at least one or two, right? As I sat there listening to one woman's story or endless sacrifice and giving with minimal reward in friendships, it made sense. She mentioned that she was tired of jumping through hoops for people especially when they wouldn't do the same for her. And I think this is fair. In an ideal world, we should be able to give without the stipulation of getting, right? What's that saying-- it is better to give than to receive, right?
The more I thought about the things she expressed in her video, the more I thought about my own personal interaction with friendship. I, too, have felt giving fatigue; giving to people that have never given back or aren't interested in giving a fraction of what you give to them. Or, taking trips to show up for people that won't drive five minutes for you. It's all very frustrating, I know.
In taking some time to self-reflect, I began to realize an important relational distinction. Everyone isn't a friend, yet it is still important to be friendly. Furthermore, sometimes life is shared with people for a moment-- not because they will become a friend but sometimes, they need someone and we are capable of being that someone for the moment. But it is extremely important to make the distinction early so that time isn't wasted trying to form friendships with people that weren't suited to become long-lasting friendships in the first place.
The other challenge with unmet reciprocity in relationships is that it can make us bitter. 'Giving to get' can be a very slippery slope to entitlement and resentment. With this being said, I make a practice of not sharing too much of my life with people that don't share or care to share their life with me.
"That sounds like a contradiction, Satoya."
Why yes, it does, doesn't it?! Hear me out.
'Giving to get' aside, the reason I've made this a practice is because I'm human and limited in the amount of time that I have to share, as if every other human. We need time to sleep, eat, care for loved ones, care for ourselves, do adulty things like clean our homes, cars, and pay are bills, right? If we are sleeping about 8 hours within a 24 hour period, this means we have 16 hours left. If 8 of those 16 hours are spent at work, then we have 8 hours left. This means we have about 8 hours for self-care, community, showers, and any other things that fills our time. With all this being said, I spend time with people that have mutual desire to spend time with me because it is honours them. It is respectful and caring of my time and of theirs. It isn't from a place of malice or entitlement. I enjoy the moments that I get to spend with people that share mutual love with me. Because their is only so much time in a day, I make sure that I create space for those people since they are generously and intentionally creating space for me.
I fully affirm spending time with folks who need a listening ear and an open heart. This is something that is helpful and kind to do, however, this shouldn't be confused with cultivating your personal community. When you are spending time with people, you are sharing your life with them.
Share wisely with love and intention.