Imagine this - One day you get a letter from a friend that reads in part 'I regret to inform you that your friendship account is overdrawn'. What would you make of it? I was thinking last night, that relationships are like bank accounts that we can make deposits into and withdrawals from. Deposits are things like the time spent on or with a person, the genuine interest actively shown in them regardless of whether we see them regularly or not and things like that. Withdrawals are what we get from it - their time, their concern and their willing help when we need it. It behoves us all to examine the balance of all our relationship accounts!
Don't get me wrong, I've never been the type who gives only to get something in return and I've sometimes suspected that being that way out has even led some to bracket me in the Fluffy Little Idiot category, or as a soft touch etc. Perhaps this is nearer to being true than I would like, but even so, one person who commented on my 'seemingly unending patience and mercy' found out that both did have a very definite end! They weren't the only one either. I've - hum - omitted to include certain people on new e-mail address notifications etc as the relationship was all about them and, in some cases, I've been treated really rather rudely by people who should know better. Certain individuals I no longer take any initiative to communicate with, but who I had put forth a lot of effort for in the past, as they fail to demonstrate any real interest in me and even to display simple good manners! One, who I bent over backwards to help (as did others who also got nothing in return) actually accused me of being selfish on the one and only occasion that I insisted on things being done to suit me instead of always her way. Given the multiple inconveniences she'd put me to, this pushed the balance irretrievably into the red. Credit limit reached!
Of course, I don't think anyone should keep a literal account, but it's good to ask ourselves from time to time, 'Am I getting much more from this relationship than I'm giving? Am I indeed giving anything at all? Do I contact this person only when I want help/advice/encouragement/congratulations etc? Or do I maintain a full, fair and balanced exchange with them? When I say I love this person, or sign my message 'with love', does that mean that I actively love them and that they could be left in no doubt of that fact, or is it only 'responsive' love? i.e. a feeling generated when they do something nice for me, but I really wouldn't trouble myself to break wind for their convenience! I'm really touched when they show a kindly interest in me, but would I do the same for them? DO I?' Or maybe we even need to ask 'How much do I get back from this person? Is it a real friendship? Could I honestly rely on them in a time of need?'
Sometimes I feel a bit like sending the following message: We regret to inform you that your friendship account is critically overdrawn. This account is now liable to immediate termination with no further warning unless substantial prompt deposits are made.