August 6, 2019
Wanna love your friends better? Stop having expectations of them.
I’m not alone in this. You do something nice for another person, review their work, give them advice or pick out something thoughtful as a gift. In return, you receive nothing and, although you were not anticipating any sort of reciprocation, you still feel a bit disappointed by the absence of it.
Back in college I took a class that focused on tactics our ancestors used to keep the human race going. One of these subjects was that of altruism. In its basest form, altruism means sacrificing something for someone else knowing that the gain is coming either to you or to your future progeny.
As a survival strategy, altruism does make sense. The whole “the pack survives” mentality is tried and true. In the context of biology, humans as a whole are really great at being thoughtful towards one another.
Only when we take this and begin to apply it to the situations of today do we encounter obstacles that require a bit of creativity.
We should not feel bad that our thoughts can wander into the headspace where we feel bitterness towards those we’ve helped. The feeling will surely come but to let it pass over you and get swept back into wherever it is that it came from is where the real power lies.
The secret to being as capable a friend as you can be comes down to a few simple alterations on your own approach to friendships.
Ditch your desires for the roles you want your loved ones to fill. Shear away the bitterness and see them for what they are to you. In my case, the people in my life can be described as such:
Alive at the same time as me, wiser than me in many ways (of which I am able to exploit because, hello, friendship), inspiring and motivating in terms of getting my ass into gear.
This list alone is enough to ditch the baggage I sometimes attach to them. Of course, do not let this evolve into a situation where these people can walk all over you. Best to hold yourself high so that they respect you and give you a similar form of friendship. I can certainly tout this as the best method for gaining friends that are worthwhile and keeping them.
Make many, by the way. It is said to increase longevity and overall lifetime happiness. Finding good ones is easier than you think.
Anyways, I tried writing this daily entry many times and struggled. Still managed. Truthfully, I think this entry is poor but there are parts of it I do like. I’m finding my voice more as each day passes.
This is quite exciting.