With Will’s permission, I’m putting a few thoughts to type here regarding my friend Sharon. Sharon’s one of my oldest friends these days - I have some older friends, but having moved away to college, many of the friends from my old hometown are the lost-touch-of variety.
Sharon’s an exception. We met during high school, and we’ve been good friends ever since, our friendship surviving past the explosive nastiness of my breakup with one of her other friends.
Sharon’s a wonderful woman - thoughtful of others, considerate, and giving to a fault. Unfortunately, those are also her main weaknesses. She doesn’t stand up for herself enough, she isn’t assertive when she needs to be, and she’s been in at least two relationships I know of because she felt sorry for them, and that also made it way too hard for her to part ways when she should have. Part of it is her family background, which left her in a very small and not very self-assured place during high school, and part of it’s the things that have gone on since, and she is making progress these days, but she still has a way to go.
Sharon’s the only girl who I would take to dinner, just as friends, and each of us would both be plotting ways to manage to pay for the other’s meal. And in fact, that’s the way things continue to this day. Offer to get her something, or send her something, or do something else nice - even a birthday or christmas present - and her first reaction is to try to figure out what she can do in return.
So lately, I mention an electronic doodad that I purchased, and she mentions that she owns an older model she doesn’t quite know how to operate. I’m pretty sure I could figure it out if I could see it, and as luck would happen I’ve got some spare computer components that could make remote viewing a possibility, so I offered to send them to her. They’re spares, and old, and I wouldn’t dream of asking for money or anything on them.
First words out of Sharon’s mouth? “But what could I send you in return?”
How do you answer that? I mean, seriously. She’s been doing a lot better on the self-assertive part lately, after the end of a rather bad relationship she’ d been in it. But how do you get across to someone that you’re doing something purely out of friendship, and that no return favor or anything is needed?