Relationship Score Keeping

Why are we keeping score?

“I checked on her 3 times while she was sick, and she hasn’t checked on me once.”

“I repeatedly text her and invite her to lunch. Would it kill her to text and ask me for a change?”

“She has time to go running around doing all that mess, but she doesn’t have time to come by here?”

Y’all, seriously. We need to stop.

My last blog post centered around “survival mode”. Most all of us are just trying to make the best of busted mental health, empty bank accounts, and stressful days. And I say “most all of us”, because I hold out hope that maybe the perfect ones who have it all together actually exist. Show me a woman who has all her family’s clothes clean and folded neatly in drawers, delicious meals prepped and prepared, all the money she needs to do whatever she wants, and teenagers with clean rooms who speak graciously without the slightest mood swing, and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

So why are we making the OTHER PERSON responsible for holding our relationship together? Is that fair? Are we loving our friends and family without condition, without the stipulation that they “perform” the way we want them to so we’re satisfied with the relationship.

Whoa. Big thoughts, right? I’ve been thinking about that and asking myself if I’m that kind of friend or family member. I’m guilty of saying things like that. It has also made me think about anybody who might take exception to my lack of performance. People do that to us, too, don’t they? They keep score…and keep flashing the score! Geez.

I’m. Terrible. At. Reaching. Out. Bloody terrible. I’m over here trying to keep my head above water, and when I have down time, I’m down for the count. But my heart is good. I love my friends and family, and I would give all of myself if anybody needed me. I’d come running! If you need a frequent call or text, I’m not your girl.

I’m. Terrible. At. Going. Places. I REALLY appreciate being invited, and if I can, I’ll come. Otherwise, I’m freaking tired, my social batteries are shot, and I can’t find it in me to “people”. If you need a buddy to run around with, I’m not your girl.

I’m. Terrible. At. Pity. Empathy? Yes. Crying in a beer with you? Maybe. But I’m carrying the weight of so much of my own – and my family’s – emotional state, I can’t bear much more. Plus, I’m a super-charged fixer, let’s rally, no fear, goal digger, and I am not about pity parties. So if you need a constant shoulder to cry on, I’m not your girl.

Y’all, that’s how our friends feel, too!

One of my most precious friends is a mom of a blended household who scrapes by, works tirelessly to meet the needs of her children, and has her own issues and insecurities to overcome. She ain’t trying to text me all day long, go out for drinks on a whim, and listen to my litany of troubles. But she’s a real friend, she loves me, and I love her. Period. Our expectations are reasonable, and neither of us keep score. That’s good stuff.

When it’s all hashed out, you can disagree with me. That’s cool. You can argue that relationships are a two-way street, blah blah, whatever. I don’t disagree with that, for real. I’m willing to bet, though, that we’re all terrible at something. You’re terrible. I’m terrible. She’s terrible. I’m just saying that maybe the value of our relationships shouldn’t be determined by a scorekeeper, since we all fall short in some kind of way.

Let’s let our friends/sister/brother/daughter/son/mother-in-law be. Let’s don’t penalize people for going through hard times, financial troubles, illness, marriage problems, kid drama, or just plain not feeling it. Let’s don’t take each other on a guilt trip either by reminding them how much YOU give and how much THEY fail. Remember survival mode? That’s where most of us are.

I can only hope my friends and family know my heart and allow the person I am to be enough. I hope my friends know they are enough. And I hope that establishing that “enoughness” between us is ENOUGH to keep the relationship alive.

Published by Amanda Herring, Writer

Practical wisdom, joys and pains, motivation and tough love, from the perspective of a Mississippi mom, traveler, business owner, goal crusher, substance seeker, and full-time dreamer

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