Friday, December 18, 2015

Are you the lighthouse keeper?

I had a conversation recently where someone mentioned the phrase lighthouse keeper.

A lighthouse keeper is the person within the friendship circle that makes things (lunches, suppers, get-togethers, etc.) happen. 

Some people land up in this role quite accidentally. And others choose to be that person.

I'm actually a lighthouse keeper in a lot of my friendships for two reasons that immediately come to mind:
  1. I like to get things done. If we say let's get together, I'm the one who actually sends out a meeting invite and schedules it. 
  2. I have the spreadsheet, so when I do my monthly goals night wrap-up and I see I haven't seen someone for a while, I initiate contact.

Here's the thing: I don't actually mind it because I feel more "at sea" if there isn't a firm plan. I don't mind if the plan is 2 months out - I just like having it in the diaries and scheduled.

However, something happened recently that made me question my lighthouse keeper role a bit.

I scheduled a lunch with 3 friends. At the end of our time together, one said, "okay, well, Marcia, we'll wait for you to set the next one up" and I said, "what?...." and she said, "well, you know that you do these and without you, it won't happen"

Maybe that was intended as a compliment but something niggled at me. 

I've decided to set the first one up for next year and then say, "okay, your turn next".

As I said, it's not the work of doing it. I think it's because it feels like only I want to see them if I keep organising it. If someone else initiated, I'd be happy that they wanted to spend time with me, not that they felt like it was easier to just click accept. :)

I've decided some things about friendship and me, and ....I'll have to share that in my recap of the year. I see some recaps of 2015 around the internet and I'll have to get cracking on mine soon.

Anyway, are you the lighthouse keeper?
Does it bother you in any way?

If you're not the lighthouse keeper, what's keeping you from sending the first email/ text/ whatsapp? Are you afraid of being rejected? Or just don't enjoy the admin of setting things up?
PS I recently stumbled upon this site and of course, I read every single post and most of the comments... and am now subscribed. If you're into talking about friendship like I am, have a read. Nina gives great advice and I've learnt a thing or two about myself too!


  1. I'm sure that was meant as a compliment but the deep thinking part of me can see why it would bother you. I read too much into things.

    I'm in between - would ask and set things up but also loved to be asked. And if I ask once and the friend doesn't ask the next time it just might never happen. I like reciprocity. It doesn't have to be 50/50 but still ...

    1. Curious me - what is this white thing?

    2. I think it's a shell.

    3. You're right, Cassey! (I had no idea it didn't look like a shell)

    4. That's it - doesn't have to be 50/50 because as I said, I don't mind doing it but I want to feel like others also take initiative.

  2. I'm so the lighthouse keeper...and I'm so over it. Always being the one to initiate has me feeling like I'm not important enough. It makes me feel so needy always reaching out first. I try to stop it, but then I get all caring. And I know someone's extra busy or I wonder if they're ok. Sometimes, I set myself up to be the mat getting stomped on :(

    1. You nailed it - when you always have to initiate, it makes you feel like you're not important enough to them to initiate.

  3. I too am a lighthouse keeper and it bothered me so much I stopped doing it. The result no friends. Sad but I cant be the one pushing the friendships all the time.

    1. That is my fear, that if I don't continue, I will have no friends, and especially friends I actually like.

  4. Yes and no. David is definitely a lighthouse keeper!!!

  5. I am the lighthouse in nearly all of my friendships, but that said I do have friends who are also lighthouses so we set up equally but for most of the time which helps me not feel "used" by non lighthouse friends.


    1. I love that you ask and initiate too, Sam :) xxx

  6. I would have punched her in the face!haha...I think I'm the lighthouse keeper too and where I enjoy making arrangements most of the time,I really do expect people to reciprocate-besides-all relationships are two-sided,give and take...not only friendships!

  7. Julia said

    I used to be the lighthouse keeper. I am no longer the lighthouse keeper. I don't mind being the keeper on the odd occasion but not all the time. If I am the one expected to make the plans and keep things "lit" all the time, then we are probably going to fall out of friendship. Sad but true. Being the lighthouse keeper is just not good for my emotional health. I need to feel like I am being pursued too! ps...lately I'm being pursued. It is sooooooo good for my ego!
    pps...go and read my long, long, long comment in the post that you linked. That's where I first mention lighthouse keeper!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment and filling my love tank. I appreciate it!

I'd love to answer your email so please make sure your email address is enabled. In Blogger, go to Edit Profile, and under Privacy, tick the 3rd block and then Save Profile :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails