It’s funny how workaholics can turn any opportunity into more work, even one for fun. Friendship is a mutual bond between confidants. It is about caring for one another, supporting each other no matter what, and the enjoyment one gets from spending time together. Our friends don’t love us because we have the cleanest house, we cook the best meals, or we give the best gifts. Friendship is not about our material possessions or net worth, or even what we can offer the other person in the way of care. Our disease and addiction to busyness distorts our view of friendship though. Friendship gives us an excuse to indulge in our addiction. We rush, we plan, we stress, and we overwork ourselves in preparation for a friend’s visit. Did we ever stop to think that maybe our friends just want to spend time with us?
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“We busyaholics cannot even imagine the possibility of not having to do something. When a friend comes to visit, that gives us the opportunity to indulge in our disease—rushing around, getting things in order, arranging, and preparing so they will feel welcome and have a good time. We are so busy before they arrive that we are exhausted when they arrive. Or we keep ourselves so busy making them comfortable that we do not get to sit and be with them.
Somewhere in our busy little beings it is inconceivable that they can care for themselves and they just wanted to be with us.”
As is the case with so much of Anne’s book, I see myself clearly in today’s passage. Whenever my husband and I host friends or family at our place, I whip myself into a frenzy cooking and cleaning so that our house is immaculate and well-prepared for our guests. Every surface must be spotless. The food must be well-prepared and delicious. There is nary a crumb to be found anywhere, least of all on the carpet.
While I take great pride in my hostessing abilities, and every comment on how freakishly clean our house is validates my efforts, the fact is that no one expects it of me. Not only does no one expect it, but it actually drains me of energy that could be otherwise spent spending time with our guests. It’s exhausting to care so much, and it makes me never want to have people over. I feel like I have to don a false persona and play host instead of being my true self. Where does this expectation come from? Certainly not from my friends or family. They’re happy just to be with me, after all! They’d rather I spend time with them rather than waiting on them. I’m sure the same could be said for you and yours.
Is playing the perfect hostess really worth it? Think of all that energy that could be better spent actually being with the people who come to visit us. Time is our most precious of gifts. When we give the gift of our time and attention to people we care about, the petals of our friendship bloom.