BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning

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Wife#2

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BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« on: September 15, 2016, 01:18:47 PM »
Recently my husband and I have had three incidents that remind me what being a good friend is all about.

One was a dear co-worker friend and her husband found out that back-to-school got a little hard for me & H. So, she and her H (who's known me for decades) got together a cash envelope and surprised me with it.

The second was a friend of H's, who H has been very generous with. We both like the fellow and value his friendship. It's not a close thing, but valued none-the-less. He found out that we wanted a trailer hitch ball for a vehicle, but keep forgetting to get one when at the appropriate store. Within days, he was at our house, delivering said trailer hitch ball.

The last was my same coworker friend. She and her daughter were getting a new movie as soon as it was released on blue ray. I showed my excitement, saying this is one my H and I both wanted to see, and that we'd love to have our DS also watch. So, today, I have been lent the movie. As long as I bring it back on Monday, her daughter was doubtful about letting us borrow it :-)

The whole point is to recognize that these are really good friends! They saw a need and filled it to the best of their ability. This is a skill I need to develop better.  I see the need, but only try to help the friend fill it him/her self. I don't actually FILL the need when I really can.

I have work to do exploring WHY I stop short and don't reach out like that. I am not a selfish person by nature. Because I don't typically give when I can give, I feel guilty accepting what is offered. That's a friendship killer.

I will be digging into why I hesitate. I value my friends and friendships. This site and other sites are WONDERFUL and I wouldn't have made it without all of you, but real-life friendships matter, too. I will work within myself to root out the problem, the blockage to genuine giving and generosity. This I will do because it matters. My friends matter. They are WONDERFUL people who I want to let know how much they matter to me. Small gestures like that are just one small way I can show them.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 02:35:39 PM »
Such lovely examples. Yay to your friends! And Yay to you too, as friends like that don't hang around with jerks. Honestly.

Good luck in your endeavor to figure out why you find it difficult to do the same thing.
Once you have the idea of: "Ah, that might be it." go out and do it. Baby steps. And practice crafts art, as we say in Dutchland.

 :hug: and thanks for brightening up my day.

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Three Roses

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 03:18:14 PM »
Thank you for this, Wife!

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sanmagic7

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 07:21:57 PM »
good for you for wanting to explore this.  will be interested to know what you come up with, what's been blocking your natural generosity at that particular point.  and, so glad you have such good friends and that you value them enough to want to make a change for the better.  yay!

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Wife#2

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2016, 12:23:29 PM »
I have been exploring this and I think it comes down to a few IC mantras.

1) Stop viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, you're going to get hurt.
2) Not everyone likes you the way you THINK they like you. (Implying they only like me for what I can do for them).
3) You shouldn't have to 'BUY' your friends (any gift felt like buying friendship).

Then, I married a poor-all-his-life man with possible uBPD and/or uCPTSD I heard from him: 

1) You need to think about HOME first.
2) Do you have the money for that?
3) Friends will begin expecting if you keep that up.
4) If you want to buy something, buy it for ME! (As if I wasn't buying him things all the time).

The thing is, I've begun to feel like I was stealing from my family if I gave to my friends. H has made SURE I feel that way. He loves that I am generous in the house with him, first marriage kids and our DS. But, he loves to emphasize that 'charity begins at home'.

Even for our DS's school fundraisers I have to go behind his back to participate. And, when he realizes that I have, he mocks me for being so stupid with my money.

So, when I think of giving, I feel guilty like I am doing the wrong thing. When I push past that feeling and do something anyway, I feel GREAT about the joy I have brought a friend. When I don't, I still have the guilt but then I also feel like a horrible friend or worse - a mooch. Once THAT spiral gets started, it can take weeks to crawl back out.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2016, 01:45:19 PM »
Awesome job, wife#2.  :thumbup:

Trust your gut you've nailed it. For what it's worth, it does makes sense from my perspective.

 :hug:

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sanmagic7

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2016, 08:23:38 PM »
sounds like you figured it out quite well, wife2.  kudos!

i had a friend who had a hub who was like that, only he was a wheeler and dealer, always looking for ways to get the best deal on something.  after they divorced, she bought her own condo, and those messages kept up in her head, making her second-guess her purchase (she loved the place) and think that she could've gotten it cheaper if she'd only have waited, used a different strategy, etc.  she finally put her foot down in her mind, set up a boundary, and in essence, told his critical echoes to go fly a kite, it was her money and she was doing what she pleased with it.  she's never regretted any financial decision she's made since then.

friendship, like any relationship, is give and take, on all levels.  we give to our friends because we want to, we love them, we want to see them happy, and because it feels good to do so.  whether it's emotionally or physically, we give and we take, cuz taking helps make them feel good, too.  giving without expectations is how real friends operate. 

you're intelligent, you know what you can afford and not.  and, as far as 'me, first', i've gone thru some of that and it doesn't feel good, doesn't feel true.  it feels like an expectation - he's living up to what he's preaching against!

so, find your way, wife2, as i know you will.  that happy balance.  if it's your money, it's none of his business.  do what makes you feel the best.  you're the most important.  i treasure you, and hate to see you having to go through this crap.  hangin' right beside you!

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Three Roses

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2016, 12:49:13 AM »
But, he loves to emphasize that 'charity begins at home'. . . he mocks me for being so stupid with my money.

Two quick observations - if charity begins at home, where are his contributions? And, it's YOUR money; 'nuff said. ;)

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Wife#2

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2016, 12:36:49 PM »
Three Roses - that is the crux of my challenge with him. It's scattered all over my journal. And likely to be a bigger topic now. I've done all I can at the moment on my FOO issues. I'm seeing more and more how and why I chose this man for husband. I could laugh at my own nave self if it weren't so sad now.

Now is the time that I begin pushing back against anyone, including my husband, who wants to restrict my natural self. My natural self is pretty terrific! And, when secure (like I was briefly in college), not lazy but totally engaged with those around her. I've seen flashes of her re-appearing lately. It's time to get her back out of hiding and let her shine full-time.

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sanmagic7

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2016, 10:15:41 PM »
i can relate to discovering your natural self and not only being ok with it, but glad of it.  i am more in touch with that part of me than ever, and i really love her. 

and, absolutely to finding out why we've chosen the partners we've picked!  talk about a pattern that repeats a familiar pattern.  i guess i kept thinking (in my arrogance) that i could change that pattern if i only said and did the 'right' things.  and, i've also become quite abrupt about letting anyone step on the toes of the real me anymore.  it's been both a weird and wonderful experience.  you go, girl!

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2Spirits

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2016, 02:39:51 PM »
Hi wife#2,

you replied to a post of me a few days ago. And what you wrote was both to the point, heartfelt and very empathic. So I guess you already have quite a lot of qualities that make you a good friend  :bigwink: way to go!

As for your inner critic, it sounds as if you are already dealing with him. Perhaps it could help just concentrating on the goving part and not how it might be received on the other side. If it feels good giving, feels in balance with your gut and your values, then it is perhaps not so important to know in advance how it will be received. It's your own truth on giving this gift.
Don't know if this paragraph makes sense to you, both my thoughts and my English are a bit muddled right now.  ;)

And of course: hooray for having those nice friends that show their affection in their thoughtfullness and their deeds!

A

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AncientSoul

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2016, 03:12:24 PM »
Your post hits home with me. It was nice to hear about things being done for you. Friendship is a great gift, and giving is a gift unto itself. Having friends who actually show their love for you, well, that is very special. Being such a person, a friend who is there, shows compassion and doesn't judge. That is something we can consciously learn. Some have it naturally, others need a wake up call so they understand.

I myself and experienced both the very best of giving, and also the very worst. It's all in character of the person and their own ability to recognize where a need actually exists. And true giving comes from the heart.

Today it is Sunday. I live on the family farm which I bought years ago. And I am the keeper of my families history, and the only one left that cares about that history.

From what I was told, my grandmother never missed a Sunday of church. She would walk the mile down the hill  to the little church, where she was not allowed to become a member. She was not of the "Proper background" of heritage in the community. Yet she went to church every Sunday. Part of what she had to do in being able to come to America was she had to memorize the bible before she could leave her old country. Despite that, she was not allowed to join the church here, and from what I was told, the other church members didn't say much to her in the church. The minister on the other hand talked to my grandmother at length and always tried to stump her with quotes from the bible. The minister never could.

Giving was in my grandmothers blood, and she had run a boarding house and restaurant in Seattle for years before coming to this farm because of my grandfather's health. My grandmother made Sunday Dinner here on the farm and anyone  and everyone was welcome at the table. There was one old couple who lived a few miles further away. They had no children, no other relatives, and in public they wouldn't speak to my grandmother. Every Sunday they showed up at this house for Sunday Dinner. My grandmother fed them, then would put together a basket of food for them to take and last them the rest of the week. This went on for years and they never gave my grandmother a thing for her kindness, and my grandmother never asked anyone for anything in return. She just made Sunday Dinner and all were welcome.

Years went by, my grandfather died young from his illness, and my grandmother raised the kids and helped others that showed up from her old country. Shirt tail relatives who lived on the farm to get their feet under them and get established.

During World War Two, one of those kids who was born here on the farm years before, and who my grandmother helped raise. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Italy. FDR presented him the Medal. Right after that happened, a "vote" was taken in the church, and they said my grandmother could now become a member of the church. My grandmother had a few choice words about that from what I was told, but the Sunday Dinners continued on the farm until she died.

Friendship is a gift, and giving is a gift. There is no purpose other than helping someone. And friendship is a true gift. My father once told me to "never turn down a gift". There is no right or wrong. A gift is a gift.

Your post made me happy today. Despite the hurdles, give what you can, try not to feel guilty, and all you can do is your best. If friends respond with kindness, then all the better. Consider yourself lucky, smile and keep doing what you do.

I have friends that don't reciprocate. That is life. Cherish the ones that cherish you, realize that what matters to you may not be in other peoples wheelhouses. But what does it matter? If you enjoy it and they don't, its not your problem, it is theirs.

Being nice and thoughtful is the true gift.

AncientSoul

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Wife#2

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Re: BEING a good friend - a skill I am learning
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 03:16:43 PM »
Ancient Soul,

Thank you so much for sharing your story of your grandmother! THAT is the kind of woman I could see modeling myself after.

My stepmother's mother was that kind of woman also. She could have a harsh tongue for those who weren't honest in their dealings. She could also have the most kind, healing way about her. Just being in her presence was to know you'd met a good human being, a sincerely good person.

I have several wonderful memories of being around her and learning from her, as if I were sitting at her feet - something that she wouldn't allow and would consider a waste of time when your hands could be busy accomplishing SOME task!

Her gifts were her welcoming spirit, her generous giving of her hard-learned wisdom and her cooking!

She was the first to *show* me and to expect me to act as a part of the family whole, providing what I could contribute towards the working of the whole home. It never felt like chores at her house. I was glad, honored, that I could contribute my labor. I would finish a task and ask what I could do next, please. My mother would have fainted at hearing that.

I'm so glad you brought this memory up. I see now that my step-grandmother had the gift of creating family. She shared that understanding with me.

I can choose to use that knowledge to build family in my own home. She did this despite having a difficult husband and children who didn't listen to her. So can I. It is about being authentic with oneself and about being open to other people! Treating all people with dignity and respect, whether they earned it or not - because it's about ME being right before MY God. If they treat me with respect and dignity back, then I welcome them into my home and heart. If they don't, I continue to treat them as I'd expect, but I can place the boundary between them and my home and heart and welcome them as friends.