• Shruti

What do you owe your friends?




Do you ever run into friends demanding more of you than you can give?


I've always found it interesting how life events challenge or strengthen friendships. Some friends step up. Others can't handle it and disappear. But what does stepping up really mean? For some of my friends, it's meant that they double down on what they were already doing - or whatever they have already decided a good friend would do. For others, the ones that have truly taken the time to understand my new reality, it has meant adapting to my new reality with me.


Ultimately, no matter whether they adapted or not, a friendship inherently has some push and pull involved. What does someone do for you? What do you do in return? But more importantly, why do you do it? Because for some people... it's about reciprocity. They do it because you did it - and, conversely, they expect that you do it because they did. To me, that's not really a friendship, it's like a contracted business agreement. I will be your friend as long as you return all favors. I do things for my friends because I love them, not because I expect an equal reimbursement.


The fact is, many of my friendships aren't equal that way. We need different things and have capacity for different things. Nor are they always timely. Sometimes, it's not about doing something immediately, it's about doing what they need when they need it.


To me, a big part of self-care is realizing that you can't always be who and what people you need you to be at any given time and letting that be ok. People who demand more from you than you're able to give aren't being good friends. Different people need different things at different times and it can be hard to work that into a friendship dynamic sometimes.


Living with lupus means I don't always have the capacity to do everything exactly when I or someone else might want it. It means that sometimes I have the capacity for days and sometimes I don't for months. I don't think of it as a debt any of us owe each other. I assume that my friends have the same fluctuations for their own reasons. Friends understand that and love you where you are.


If a friendship isn't working for you, it's ok to say so. It's also ok to step away and take the time you need to process whatever you're going through without taking on that added emotional burden until you're able to handle it.


Do you ever run into friends demanding more of you than you can give?

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