Friday, October 05, 2012

{Friendships Friday} Tit for tat?

Thanks for the fabulous comments on the school post.

So many of you emailed me about "coloured" and I love the conversation happening. Basically, coloured in South Africa is not an offensive term and simply refers to mixed race! Here is a great post about it - actually the magic is in the comments (one of the readers here even commented back then). Have a read and email/ comment about it freely!


This afternoon after work a dear friend and I met to catch up, connect, and of course, eat :)

It was glorious. Really just what my sould needed.

Sooooo good to talk uninterruped and share openly and honestly with one another.

Time is always too short but I treasure any connection time I get.

One of the things I shared with her is that I've been feeling over the last month or so that I've been putting in a lot of effort into my friendships (all levels) and not necessarily getting as much back.

Of course then I told myself that in future I wouldn't be investing so much energy in non-reciprocal friendships.

But you know what?

my lovely bag - I love this blue/ teal colour
on the guest bed
I tried to take a self-portrait of me wearing it but they were all terrible.


Something happened.

I started feeling a bit empty because that new cold person isn't me.

And on the weekend that's just passed, I decided to just embrace my giving-ness and stop looking at things as tit for tat, and just keep doing nice things anyway.

I won't ever be a doormat or keep reaching out if people don't do the same back, but yes, I will send SMS and emails (and as of tonight, I now have whats app - I am finally in the 21st century :)), and little random acts of kindness because it makes ME feel good.

My dear husband has quite extreme tit for tat tendencies.

If I say, "oh we should skype/ phone so-and-so" he'll say, "why? they don't ever phone us". Same with birthday cards, etc.

I told him that's not the way I want to live. I want to keep our friendships alive.

So where do you fall on the tit for tat spectrum?

Do you expect reciprocity (i love this word!) or would you keep doing nice things for your friends regardless?

11 comments:

  1. I WISH I could be tit-for-tat. I have tried - it's just not me and I don't like myself very much when I do it. My Mother taught me that one must always show that you are better. So yes, I will still send a text and occasionally call or email - it's just who I am. Having said that, I LOVE reciprocity (LOVE this word too!) - it fills my love tank to the brim. Lance is exactly like Dion btw...could it be a boy thing?

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  2. J and I have this conversation so often. He gets downright angry (almost, anyway) with me for being so giving..."what do they ever do for us???" he'll quip.

    [A biggie for me is carrying supper to someone who is sick. He gets so touchy. True, no one has brought us supper since the girls were tiny, but I remember how very thankful I was for those people who took the time to do that for us. I feel like I'll forever being "paying that forward". And I'm just thankful that we haven't *needed* anyone to bring us supper since then!]

    I don't want to be a doormat...nor do I ever want to think I'm "buying" a friendship (not necessarily with things, of course, but time / effort / whatever resource)...but it really makes me feel good to do things for other people, even if it is just sending an email to say hello.

    I have seen myself come to a wall, though, when I feel a relationship is too one-sided. [Not just if I find myself initiating emails, but if I'm not getting responses to those emails...] I don't necessarily see it as grounds to end a friendship, but maybe just to back up / back off a bit.

    Another fantastic question, Marcia! :) :)

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  3. No, I don't expect reciprocity. If I do something nice for someone, it's because I just want to do it. Usually, it's just as much about my feeling good about myself for having done it, than doing the deed. Does that make sense?

    Also, I find keeping score to be exhausting! My husband is a score keeper. He's often trying to guess someone's motive, or if they would do the same for him. I just can't live that way.

    I do get what Mandy is saying about not wanting to be a doormat also. Luckily, I haven't really had anyone that I can think of try to do that. But, I'm sure I have my limits.

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  4. Oh Marcia, you a such a great great friend. Well I am not always, my instinct is to be and do but life just gets into the way and I do not get around to do what I always would like to do. I am so not the scorekeeper type and I find itmrather exhausting to be friends with someone that is because I just go with the flow

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  5. My SIL and I had this conversation last week and she said something which made me have a re-think. In her words "You are more blessed than that" with regards to doing tit for tat.

    My hubby does not keep scores (he says it's too draining) but it's easy for him considering he probably only has 2 or 3 friends at a time :( I try very hard not to keep scores but sometimes just sometimes it feels good to (ha ha ha ha) also helps to make sure I'm not turned into a doormat!!!


    Reciprocity is a good thing but unfortunately that word is missing from some dictionaries :) ;) I used to expect reciprocity but I've learnt that in life you don't always get it - which is good sometimes and bad at other times depending on which side of the table you are on.

    It's easy to be friends with someone if you are on the same page but I believe part of being friends is knowing each other's characters. Like friends who are not the best at keeping in touch once they are busy or under stress and friends who even if you haven't spoken in ages when you get together or speak it feels like you have spoken every single day.

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  6. Lesley11:35 pm

    I like doing things for people, and i am quite happy for it not to be reciprocated, i actually prefer it - does that make me odd?
    My husband would be the same.
    I do find it hard when i put in a lot of effort into finding out what is happening in my friends lives and THAT is not reciprocated.
    There is A LOT of that in my life at moment. But i think (without being super spiritual about it)that God is trying to teach me not to rely on friends so heavily (because this has been a bit out of balance in my life in the past) and rely on Him. Hope that doesn't make me seem totally bonkers : )

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  7. Bwahaha my D is also tit-for-tat except when planning the wedding list - then it was "I want every single person I have ever said hello to on the list"

    I am not sure if I am? I tend to "give up" quickly though - if you dont reciprocate then I stop trying - is that tit-for-tat?

    LOL welcome to whatsapp and the wonderful world of the iPhone

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  8. i definitely USED to be more tit for tat. but now that i'm trying to be more thoughtful in my friendships, i try to do that less. of course, it is difficult to keep on giving and giving without any type of return on that investment.

    i actually thought about you yesterday :) i FINALLY asked my spinning instructor on a "date". we went swimming and spent a long time talking during kick sets. also we were in the hot tub after and we chatted a lot. as it turns out we have a lot in common and she has been trying to get pregnant for the last year. so glad i can be a resource for her. and it was scary opening up and putting myself out there, but so far it was worth it :)

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  9. I don't keep score - probably better so, since I suspect I'll be on the losing side mostly. I never used to be, but it's definitely not as easy getting to everyone with a little person in your life. I actually try not to organise things! It's still one thing if your baby gets sick and you have to cancel out on someone else's event but it gets a lot more complicated when you're the one hosting! ;-)

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  10. I love that bag. And I'm like the opposite of you in that I find myself sucking at maintaining friendships. I say stuff like, oh let's get together and never do.

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  11. Anonymous8:15 pm

    After decades of experience dealing with people I have come to the conclusion that a friend isn't worth keeping if he does not reciprocate, and you should leave these sooner rather than later. Actually, you should leave them at the first sign instead of dragging things out and leaving a festering wound. Well, that's just what I think.

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