My friend Jim helped me move a leather chair and ottoman this morning, from our friend Diane’s house to my house less than two miles away. It involved some time organization and then some heavy lifting. Diane and her husband Barry are in the process of moving, and in the process are getting rid of a lot of old furniture. They offered up the chair and ottoman to me for free; even in its worn, distressed state, I was enthusiastic to take it off their hands.
Jim is my only close friend with a truck, and since he works nearby, I asked if I could utilize his services in helping me transport the furniture after he got off his overnight shift. He was most accommodating, and including some visiting with Diane and Barry, we got everything accomplished in a little over an hour.
My initial plan was to treat both Jim and Diane (if she wasn’t busy packing) to lunch for their generosity this morning, but right now it’s not a good time for me financially. I know from experience that lunch with these two friends would more than likely gravitate toward triple digits (even with a few drink specials at RK Sushi — $5.95 for a tall Japanese beer and a sake — sushi isn’t cheap). I told Jim I wished I could treat him to lunch, but now wasn’t a good time; he was absolutely fine with that.
But I felt bad. After unloading the furniture I thought for a moment about taking Jim to lunch anyway, but then the thought of all the stuff I still had to do around the house today kicked in, and we said our goodbyes.
And I sort of felt bad again. I felt like I had taken advantage of a friend by utilizing his truck, his time and his energy.
Why is it I always feel that I must immediately reciprocate when someone does me a favor? Is it really graciousness, or is it more about paranoia that this person will see me as a user who takes advantage? Why is it that I have such a hard time grasping that maybe friends like to help each other out, out of the goodness of their hearts, while truly expecting nothing in return?
I consider myself a fairly secure and confident person most of the time, but feeling the need to reciprocate — and the sooner the better — every time someone does something nice for me just gnaws away at my conscience.
Chances are good that Jim and Diane don’t expect anything because they have already received things evident of the goodness in my own heart. Perhaps they believe that spending numerous enjoyable hours out on my terrace, at my dining room table and at various parties at my house warrants throwing some favors my way.
Chances are even better that they would laugh at me that the subject was worth giving second thought to, let alone blogworthy.
Perhaps I’ll write more later about the whole Reciprocation concept, as it seems to stem way, way back for me; this need to let people know how appreciative I am.
But for now, getting this out in writing has helped. Conscience freed up, I think I’ll go and pet my new chair and ottoman.