When I first started blogging, it was more of a public journaling experience. I didn’t care who read it. I didn’t care who commented. As my blog grew, more and more people would tell me something specific about a post that really inspired them. Then and only then did I realize that someone actually reads this thing. One of my biggest fans of my blog is Miss Heather Lindskold of Between the Covers. I can ALWAYS count on Heather to like, comment or share one of my posts. I have never met Heather in my life but I promise, the support I receive from her, a complete stranger, (well not really because we’ve beeeen buddies on Twitter ), means the world to me. And I know it comes from a genuine place.
In the beginning, I used to take it personally when my close friends didn’t read my blog. Not in a badgering “Why haven’t you read this post” way but in a “What I did this weekend is up on my blog. It’s been up -___-” kinda way. But, I got over that really quickly. A while back, I attended a going away gathering for a friend and one of the ladies said something that completely transformed my perspective on receiving support from friends. She said “your friends are not your customers”. OOP. And it makes so much sense. So when a friend of mine asked a question on Facebook yesterday, I had the perfect (well, I thought so) response for her.
My friend asked:
“Why is it that you can receive more support from strangers than of those who you’ve known for years?”
My elaborated response:
I think it’s simply because strangers don’t know you intimately. Intimacy changes things. You get to see the good and bad in people. Then you make judgments. You choose to keep the relationship or walk away. But you don’t have any of those insights as a stranger. It’s easy because you don’t have to keep it real, only superficial.
Support is support. Get it how you can and ignore the rest. I’ve learned that your friends are not your customers and to not take things so personally. What I’m learning from the love languages book is that sometimes, these kinds of reactions are not intentional. Communication clears things. Otherwise, press on.
Example: Does a preacher’s wife have to listen to her husband’s every sermon just because he is her husband? Maybe she doesn’t want to attend. It’s her right not to. She doesn’t love her husband any less. She still supports him. She’s probably his biggest fan. But she probably also read over the notes the night before and would rather not sit through it again.
So I say do not take offense because it might not be to intentionally hurt you. We all have different love languages and learning to be there for someone who has a language different from ours is not easy. But if they are there for you most times and in other ways, you cannot complain. This is the compromise you have in all types of relationships. You will not get everything you want. Period.
I think it’s a shame to assume that just because someone is your friend, that they want to attend your every event. Maybe they don’t want to! Are they there to celebrate your birthday? Are they there to help you when you need to move something? Are they there when things are rough? Don’t expect them to be there for every single thing. They have lives and interests as well. If they are never there for anything, maybe that’s when you should evaluate the relationship.
Everything that matters to you does not have to matter to your friends. Be OK with this.
And just because you do something for someone or are there for them the way YOU would like them to be there for you does NOT mean that it will be reciprocated. It doesn’t make them a bad friend. They are not your target audience for your brand or product. Adjust and adapt accordingly.