Reciprocity: Exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. Giving & receiving.
The other week, I showed up to meet a friend for coffee with absolutely nothing to give. I measure my worth by what I can offer others in my friendships. I insist on always being a well of encouragement, understanding, humor; whatever is beneficial and true in that moment for whomever I’m with. This particular day I was completely dry. I felt so helpless and like a failure, unable to be there for my friend in the midst of her hard time. But instead of disappointment, she offered me kind words and named things about me that she knew to be true. She was giving me so much and I didn’t have the energy to deflect as is my tendency. I could only receive it. It dawned on me that friendships are supposed to be just this, mutually beneficial. And my propensity to focus my friendships on mostly giving, considering myself a failure when I am receiving. And what I am missing in not receiving what my friends have to give.
Friendship 101 that I am now grasping in my 30’s: It’s so beautiful to give to your friends, but it is equally as beautiful to receive from them.