So my brother called me a charity case.
So my brother called me a charity case. And he’s right too….
No, I am not the one who is always asking for help.
I am the one always dishing it out.
Look, I am not complaining. I love being a volunteer, I love being a good friend; a good human, but there comes a time when you look at relationships and you think, I have really – really given a lot here.
Then you look closer and you realise, wow I think that at least 98% of the time, I was the one giving…
There are moments that really stand out, like before I left Joburg, I organised a farewell for myself. I ended up standing at a booked table with my mom. We decided to go out and enjoy the evening alone. All my “close friends” were too busy to see me off. They weren’t too busy to make use of me because I had a car though…
I got married; my “close friends” were nowhere. My dreams of what my friends would do when the time came, were dashed.
I fell pregnant. Slap dash money spent by “close friends” and I was sent on my way, forgotten.
I fell pregnant again; hoping that maybe the second time round – SOMEONE – would step up and do something nice for me. But nadda – my mom and gran organised a few items that I needed.
Came my birthday, a call would have to suffice, possibly the only call I would get during the year too. The others would be made by me. I grew tired of that though.
These friends would visit Durban.
Some thought I was the local hotel.
Others – well, they made promises and in the end they were JUST TOO BUSY and couldn’t fit me into their schedule, or well “you can come out to see us” and for a few years I did that too.
Then I decided to make changes. Instead of regular hand written letters, I sent emails. Now quite frankly, emailing is really not first on my list either. I am just tired of being the first one to communicate. So I send off an occasional mail.
I don’t change my schedule of keep time “open” for anyone. I live day by day. When it comes to birthdays, I don’t plan. I go with the flow. Who is there, wants to be there. Whether they made the effort a week before or on the day, they were there. No excuses about the weather or having to be some place or another.
So today, I have a few good friends. Close friends. We rant, laugh, cry, fight, you name it, we do it. We don’t have to speak every day. But when we do speak there’s no missing links.
Some of these people I met through animal welfare, not knowing each other from a bar of soap. Not even having seen each other’s faces. Some I have met in physicality now, and I can tell you that knowing them is a pleasure.
Strangely I’ve had this conversation with my long time friend who now works in Thailand who has experienced the same thing. I also chatted to another friend just the other day waiting for our kids outside school.
I think we are in the same boat when I say we appreciate the little things – those moments that only a true friend can give. When you are the one always giving… it’s maybe time to love those people from a distance. The heart can only take so much…. and because I am sure my brother will read this… I will be charging for my services in future…
It’s a difficult realisation. I really wish I never gave my friendship heart away to the wrong people, but I am grateful for the ones who stuck around. I am grateful for the new ones, and the ones I haven’t met yet. It’s your friendship that means the world to me, and the fact that it costs nothing for both of us to be an asset to each other’s lives.
The irony of this all is that relationships take work; effort, but it is effortless to give to someone you care about.
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