Day after day there are conversations being had about getting out of consumer debt by paying off credit cards, mortgages, and student loans (hopefully prior to the apocalypse). When it comes to our coins we will push a snowball in the dead heat of summer to get out of these financial chains. I’m wondering though why there is less conversation about the debt we get into when we deal with people who we know we can’t afford to associate with or expend energy that we can’t spare. To be clear, i’m not saying that said people are above our reach. I’m saying that dealing with them costs us more than we have which is analogous to being in debt. The saying time is money comes to mind as I type this but I would go a step further and say that time is worth so much more that one could place a dollar value on. This applies especially when we’re not only losing time but in some cases our peace and sanity while trying to maintain relationships that serve us no purpose. An example of this would be obligatory encounters with friends who you have grown up with but have also grown apart from and have absolutely nothing in common with besides the fact that you were both in Mrs. Conners 3rd grade class. We keep these relationships alive just as we do our oldest line of credit so as to boost our overall friendship score. Being able to say we’ve been friends with someone for 10 or more years is like a badge of honor that puts us in the 700 club and seemingly adds value to our portfolio. We think that closing these associations will cause a hit to our score. In instances where length of friendship is the only thing that keeps you tied to this person, you may need to reevaluate your status. Following is a short list of traits that I believe make for a good friendship worthy of keeping as an open line.
- Being friends with them makes you love yourself more because they help you recognize your how amazing you are
- They call bullsh** when they know you’re not giving 100%
- When you win, they are your loudest cheerleaders and when you lose they are also your loudest cheerleaders. *It is important to note these are only a few traits but you too should bring something to the table.
Everyone who has heard of debt knows that there are various types. Let’s get into the version of debt we take on in our intimate relationships. This one is slightly different (in some cases) because hopefully we’re not just holding on due to tenure. If you are, I CANNOT and WILL NOT judge you because i’ve been on my Guiness book “ish” in a couple of relationships. In this example, let’s say you’re in a loving relationship with your husband/wife/boo/new bae (insert whatever you are to each other here). You would think that there is no debt being accumulated because it’s all love BUT….What about when you give more in order to sustain the relationship? Example: Your husband is not great at communicating but you are. He prefers to hold it all in and let things build up. In turn, you like to talk it out so you begin to overcompensate for his lack of conversation because you want immediate results. You linger on topics longer in an effort to “get somewhere.” At some point in this exercise, you are now in debt. Not only are you putting all you have on the table, you are operating in a deficit now by trying to pull something out of him. I don’t know about you but this right here is exhausting and leaves you with less than you had when you started down the path and subsequently causes you to resent your significant other. Perhaps the fact that you love this person, the sex is good, and they make good tacos makes this seem like less of a task and more of a duty but regardless of what you call it….you’re in debt. You’ve spent more than you had so when they are ready to communicate, which takes some longer than others, you have nothing left to give. We have to take a step back and manage our behavior just as we manage our finances. A little bit of patience would’ve left you both in a better place. It’s okay to want to give your all to a relationship but the truth is instead of giving our all, we should be giving our best selves. This translates into shared responsibility, an honest assessment and communication of the situation, and recognizing that patience will get you an automatic credit line increase every time. This is not to say that you will always get your way but I can guarantee you, you’ll never be maxed out.
By posting this, I am in no way, shape, or form an expert on relationships. I have just experienced the after effects of overspending energy in both platonic and romantic relationships and know with 100% certainty that it will subtract from your quality of life. I may owe Bank of America a few dollars for a little piece of plastic they gave me, but I have no debt assigned to a person. I do have 5 children but they are all prepaid cards….(i’m joking y’all). Love yourself and the people around you enough to never operate at a deficit in who you are. Be yourself but don’t try to play the role of them too. It’s impossible! If you are in relationship debt, give yourself permission to write it off. Yes, this type of debt you can write off without penalty. With the write off comes a clean slate. Cherish and nurture the relationships that fill you up and meet you in the middle and never forget that the timing of being a friend will forever be more valuable than the time being a friend.
This above all; to thine own self be true – Shakespeare I always understood this to mean that you must be yourself , whoever that may be. You would think this would be the easiest job in the world. In times where we have to coexist with others, we make modifications to ourselves so as not to completely lose our sh*t on a daily basis. So many modifications are put in place that we can easily lose sight of ourselves. We try to balance our needs and those of others. If we get overwhelmed and something must fall, by nature it will more often than not be our own needs that tumble. I don’t have a quick fix for avoiding this other than being completely transparent about your desires for the relationship. Identify who you are and become fully aware of your inner states, not the external representative that pops up to keep you from looking cray cray. Share these inner states with your significant other so that they too are aware of your needs and can meet you in the middle. The worst thing that can happen is he/she will know what you need and won’t be able to provide it. This then instantly turns into the best thing that could’ve happened.