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Do friendships have to be transactional?

Friendships, arguably one of the best things in life, are essential for cohabiting on earth, and in general, they can bring so much joy. We all seek it, and in some way, we all have it. Some may have more friends than others, but friendships, like anything, can be forever or seasonal. I wanted to write about the idea of friendships being transactional. I always think about the saying someone told me: 'Don't worry; it's a two-way street.' People often refer to this statement regarding maintaining a friendship. When we are friends with people, there is this unspoken transaction - for example, in the early stages of a friendship, someone buys a gift for someone, and from then onwards, the other party gives a gift back. Someone buys you a coffee, so you buy them a coffee back. I guess some can call that courtesy. But when I say 'transactional,' I am talking about the relational aspect of a friend.

Most of the friends we keep in our lives are people who add to our lives as much as we do to theirs. Some may call it transactional, but I have this thought: what if we can be a friend to someone who really doesn't do much for us? That person might be going through a tough time, and they may not be able to be as much of a friend as you are to them. I think that proves the notion that we don't always have to have transactional friendships; we can be friends with someone just because they need a friend.

There are ways that this can get messy. In a best friend or close friend case, this isn't really applicable because they have the right to hold the title of a best friend - the concept of 'transactional' is irrelevant because the goodness and support that you give each other are immeasurable. But I think it is a good thing to sometimes have friends who need you more than you need them. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, to help them get through their day. From my experience, I've realized that to a lot of people, I serve a function - a function of a friend. It used to make me sad, and I used to question my value and worth and wondered if people cared. I then decided that I can either let people's lack of actions consume me, or I can decide to let go and be a friend. This can be a hard thing to do, especially if you are the type of person that, when you get close to people, you want to be best friends with everyone. The reality is, in life, best friendships can be counted on your hands - I'm talking about pure genuine friendships. I think that's why we use the word 'best' in front of the word 'friend.' There's a difference, you see. If you can do something to make someone happy, why not? I say if you are not receiving harm or a negative impact from someone, be a friend to all. Have an open line of communication - they don't have to be your best friend, they don't have to give you something for you to be their friend - but simply an act of kindness, a service of love. So, do friendships have to be transactional? Not at all. Be a friend to someone, to all.

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