Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Friend or resource?

"Who would you like to get "accidentally" stuck on an island with?"

"Would you lie to someone to make them happy?"

The occasionally humorous, extremely random questions flew by on the "Social Interview" application on Facebook.

Then I saw one that made me think:
"Who would you call if you needed to be bailed out of jail?" Immediately a face flashed before my eyes. But then I thought about it, and thought, "When was the last time I spoke to this person?" And I realized, I haven't spoken to this person in MONTHS, but THAT is the person I'd want to pull through for me?! YIKES!

I do it. You do it. We all do it.
We all have people in our mental "corner". That one guy who is really good at fixing cars, the guy who can fix any computer problem, the awkward (but filthy rich) kid, the nerd from school who can help you with your Calc homework, or that crazy aunt that you keep close because of the large checks she sends you every birthday. We tend to subconsciously keep mental notes on people, ICE (In Case of Emergency). The majority of the time, I don't think this is done maliciously, but rather subconsciously.

Yes, we all have been endowed with certain gifts and talents in certain areas, BUT, I do not believe that these gifts and/or talents are something to be exploited.

It's happened to me before...
I'm sitting there, merrily going about my work, when all of the sudden the phone rings.
It's "Mary" who I haven't heard from in over a year.

When these calls come in I'm immediately skeptical, no matter how long the pleasantries go on at the beginning of the conversation, I just KNOW that it's coming.

"Andrew! How are ya hun?! It's been forever!
How's the fam? Everyone doing well?
How's school going? Still gonna be a cop?
Fun Fun...
So uhm listen! I was at my computer today, and all of the sudden it went blank, and blah blah blah blah......"

A part of me is like "REALLY?
I'd rather have you call and cut straight to the point, and not waste my time. You know what you are really calling for....."

I mean, I'm ALL for helping people out, and doing everything I can do be there for people, but sometimes you still feel a twinge of "they only called because they NEED something"

I have a friend who recently came to me with a problem like this.
For privacy reasons, we're gonna say "Jack" is really good at "fixing cars".
He came to me pretty upset one day.
He said:
"I saw a 'friend' of mine at a party the other day, and I tried talking to him, and he blew me off. Acted like I didn't exist. Well sure enough, two days later, my 'friend's' car breaks down. Guess who's on speed dial then? Yea, ME! Guess what? Magically I exist again! AND, because he is my 'friend', he thinks he's entitled to my 'friend discount'!"

Jack's story troubled me, but also made me think, and ask myself "Who do I have in my life that doesn't 'exist' until I need them? Who do I call a "friend" when it's convenient, or 'cool', but blow off when they are not needed?"

I realized that I had some work to do. I have some people in my life that I need to value for WHO THEY ARE, and not just for WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR ME.

I had to reassess a lot of my friendships with people, then pick up the phone and shoot out some texts and make some calls. The last thing I want to do is to be a "leech".

I want to challenge you to look at your life right now. Who are some of those "friends" who are really just "resources" to you?

In every relationship, we have what is called an "emotional bank account". We make "deposits" into this account through time spent with a person, through kind things we do, nice words we say, etc.
But we can make "withdrawals" through rude words, mean actions, and by "using" a person only for what they can give to you.
You never want to "overdraw" on your emotional bank account with a person. The results can be devastating to any relationship.

So, take a step back. Think about those whom you call "friends", and ask yourself "how do I treat this person?".
Maybe it's time to shoot someone a text, or phone some old friends, but for once, don't make contact with the attitude of "What can I get from you?", take on the attitude of "What can I DO FOR YOU? How can I be a blessing?" It may be as simple as just asking how the person is doing. NO ulterior motives, no other reasons.

It shows that person that you care about who THEY are, not only what they can do for you.

This made me think. I hope it does the same for you.

Thanks for reading!


mark said...

That is so true.
There are a whole set of people that if i get a call/text/IM from, it's because they need some help with something. And i'm always wishing they would just get to the point, and ask what they want to ask.

Anyways, good post, keep up the thinking through things.

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