How much can you Expect from your Friend? – 21 Oct 10


I had a few more thoughts on the topic of friends and expectations. Imagine you have a shop and a friend comes in would like to have something. Would you give it to him for free because he is your friend? Or would you take money from your friend because it is your business and after all you, too, have to live from something? Do you feel it is too much expectation if he actually wants something for free?

Imagine you are this friend and you walk into the store. I think you should not give your friend the burden of deciding whether to fulfill this expectation or not. If you expect at this point, your friend may easily feel it is too much. If he would like to give it to you from his own wish, take it thankfully but do not expect him to do it. You should not put expectations on the other one that he cannot fulfill without giving up his own survival, his own life. If his shop does not run well, don’t go and expect him to give you everything for free.

Friendship is also about support. If you have a bakery and your friend is hungry and has no money to pay, you should be there for him and support him when he needs it. And in the other way, if your friend has a shop which is not going good, you can support by buying your groceries there and recommending the shop.

In general you should not have ego among friends. Don’t make your friend feel he is in any way smaller than you. Don’t break each other’s trust and never lie. Lies hurt, if they don’t hurt immediately, they will do later. Keep a connection with your friends, meet them from time to time and take time for them. Listen to them and share. Don’t only complain and load your burden off but also keep an open ear for your friend’s issues! In this way, a friendship can be full of love for a long time!

5 Replies to “How much can you Expect from your Friend? – 21 Oct 10”

  1. I am currently traveling in India and I am struggling with some practical issues. Just as it is in my own country, there are people on the street here without food or good cloths, without shelter, without an able body, etc. They expect me to have money because I am a foreigner. I do have money comparatively. My budget is 300 rupees a day. Many many people in India live on far less; both those with a job and those without. I could just as easily be them and I do not wish to see myself as any different. I have lived in a foreign country before without a penny to my name and I have begged for work and food and shelter and I do not know what I would have done without the kindness of others. When I meet people where ever I am I love to get to know them. I love to know their heart and I hope for them to know mine, but I do not expect to be seen as a person by everyone. And I understand when I am seen as a walking wallet (or a walking prostitute as I find often, being a western in India) although I do not feel things have to be this way. When I have held onto my patience, I can give without expectation of being seen as a person by those I see as people (and I do not always see people as people). But I struggle, when it is very difficult for me to gauge how much money or what a person is in desperate need of what to give and how to give. I have simply not been thinking about it so far on my trip. I’ve been handing people what they ask when it is clear to me that they are in need of something and now I find myself practically planning my budget for the rest of my time here and see that I am in danger of running out of money. I stay at the cheapest hotels I can find. I buy the cheapest food that seems safe to eat. I travel the cheapest ways possible.
    I am struggling with a sense of responsibility that comes from a seemingly rational part of myself and then the much higher expectations imposed on me (again understandably so) by some of the people in this country. I’ve been stolen from and mugged here like I might be any where else (especially if I appeared to be wealthy, like I do here, to the people I was traveling with). Through breathing, through paying attention and informal meditation I can become as clear about things as I can unconscious, but on this issue, in the past as well when I was traveling abroad elsewhere, I feel confused very often. I know I trust what is happening and that I feel clear when I am handing someone money or helping them push their cart or carry water…and maybe I only feel confused because the financial options I wish to have, for example to travel instead of work for food on my vacation in India, are something that I am not willing to let go of. And I think it would be good to let go of them. And at the same time I recognize that I do not need to give up so much that I cannot eat. That makes no sense. It would be foolishness or martyrdom and both I know to be very unhelpful; to propel me in the wrong direction. I don’t know what part of me is so cautious. And at different times it is different parts, I think, sometimes greed, sometimes sense…I do know that I am confused. Swami Ji, your story makes perfect sense to me. Lo siento, I feel it. And still I am confused.

  2. You make a good point, Swami. You shouldn’t expect something of your friend that may or may not be crossing their line of personal comfort, integrity, or honesty. It’s good to communicate with your friends and find out what their boundaries and needs are. But it’s best to be careful about what you expect from them until you know how they behave as a friend.

Leave a Reply