Sunday, January 23, 2011

Give More Than You Get

I've made a personal commitment to live by this motto.

In the past, I lived by the motto, "Do unto others as they have done for me." For example, if some one didn't do "X" for me, I won't do "X" for them either. I guess in many ways this is a pragmatic way to live. But it also made me miserable because I was keeping score. And I've come to the conclusion that keeping score is exhausting, limiting and ultimately, self-defeating.

Don't get me wrong - - I have no intention of trying to make friends with those who have intentionally wronged or back-stabbed me in the past. I'm just talking about those people who haven't necessarily reciprocated my kind gestures in the past.

I bring this up because my BFF told me, "If 'giving more than you get' is your motto, you're going to discover that you got taken advantage of your entire life." My BFF said this with respect to my friend, "Tara," who I take out to lunch every year for her birthday. Tara has never remembered my birthday. This irked me for a while, but I came to the conclusion that I'm just being petty.

Tara is a single mother who is sandwiched between taking care of her college-bound daughter and a sick, invalid father. She has a lot on her plate and I doubt remembering my birthday is high on her priority list. Besides, I haven't really cared about my birthday since I turned 30 either.

My BFF said, "Tara is just using you and she'll see you nothing other than a free meal-ticket. She will do nothing for you. You watch." Of course, my BFF has never met Tara and is casting a broad judgment based upon this one issue. Fact of the matter is, Tara wouldn't care if I never paid for her lunch. I just take Tara out to lunch on her birthday because it's an excuse to get together and catch up. She never expects or have asked to be taken out.

I took Tara out to lunch for her birthday last week. She offered and even insisted on paying for her own meal, but I paid anyways. She finally sheepishly said, "You always do this for me and I don't even know your birthday. When is it?" I told her my birthday was in June but didn't say the specific day . After all, I don't take her out with the expectation that she'll take me out for mine.

On a side note, my BFF complains that she has no "girl-friends" that she can hang out with. What she really means is that she has no friends that she deems worthy to hang out with. I guess when you expect your friends to reciprocate every kind thing you do for them, you're pretty much going to limit your circle of friends.


LisaClark said...

"when you expect your friends to reciprocate every kind thing you do for them, you're pretty much going to limit your circle of friends"
So true - be yourself and don't let others limit who you are.

Julene Horowitz said...

I wanted to share a video from Suze Oreman with you. During a press interview for one of her newer books (Women & Money) she quickly broke down what women should be focusing on financially, with specific ideas for women in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. At 1:47 in length, she really packs a lot of valuable information for women of all ages to consider as they look to shape their future financially.

Here’s a link to the video:

Full disclosure: this was recorded by a company I work for that specializes in interviewing authors, but I thought it might be something your readers would be interested in.

I tried to find an email address on your page to contact you directly, but since I couldn't find one am leaving the info here for you to review. said...

While I like this idea -- treating others as they treat you -- I'd also like to mention that sometimes, people are unaware of how they treat others. If you can draw their attention to it (gently, and with compassion), it can help open their eyes.