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On Friendships, Favors, And Guilt


I’ll be honest. When Maddie proposed the idea of Friendship month, my reaction was along the lines of, “Meh, fine. I guess we all think a lot about friendship when we’re getting hitched.” I wasn’t particularly fascinated in it, but I thought I’d take one for the team. Well. We’re just two weeks into the conversation, and already I would like to take all that back. I’m now convinced that these conversations about friendship are some of the most important and least heard conversations we’ve had on APW. What does friendship mean? Why is it important? Why should we get off our Netflix-watching asses and go find it, even though tracking it down and keeping it is scary? When do we let friends go for not treating us right? When do we continue to love the shit out of them even when they’re (and we’re) sometimes infuriating assholes. (Anyone who wants to talk about undying loyalty in sometimes-difficult friendships, meet me in happy hour with a drink.) But today’s post hits on a core part of the conversation: how do we let people love us without anything tangible we can do to love them back? And how the hell can we get more penguins in our lives? Penguin BFFs, even.

MegOn Friendships, Favors, And Guilt | A Practical Weddingby Ashley Birdsell

The beginning of our engagement is a story I regale often, simply because people ask. “Is your fiancé really the one who proposed with penguins?” they ask. Well, yes. But also with our friends, and music, and laughter. It’s these details that make me smile and crinkle my nose in laughter when I think about that day.

Until the moment I caught sight of twenty of our nearest and dearest surrounding the penguin enclosure, I didn’t have a clue. (Seriously, I just thought we got to go backstage with the penguins out of lucky coincidence. How dense can I be?) But until that moment, I also didn’t have a clue how much I would appreciate the presence of our friends and family: not for validation, but simply a presence of overwhelming love.

My fiancé and I are fortunate enough to have a wide range of friends from many backgrounds. There are the friends we met through our many nights spent at the theatre and in rehearsal, the friends from high school and college, the families—older and younger folks both—who we are close with. I was not only impressed that he had managed to gather them, but that they had all, one hundred percent, kept it a secret from me.

More than anything, however, I was struck by what our friends would do for us. One of our closest friends drove seventeen hours the previous evening to make it to the proposal in time, battling crazy weather and night driving with little sleep. (Unbeknownst to me, my fiancé left the room to talk our friend through his drive, keeping him awake and sane. I thought he was doing laundry.) My best friend since the fourth grade had seen me two days before, hugging me goodbye and saying, “See you in a few months.” But yet there she was, two days later, a big grin on her face and camera in hand, watching our engagement.

On Friendships, Favors, And Guilt | A Practical Wedding

When I caught sight of a large group of people around the penguin enclosure, my first thought was that it was feeding time (always a good show!)… Then, I recognized two friends of ours. “How weird,” I said to my then-boyfriend, “Alex and Jennie are at the zoo today!” “Weird,” he replied. When I realized I knew everyone, of course, I understood immediately what was going on. I did not expect the sudden onset of tears, nor their reason: I was crying not just at the enormity of the moment, but the overwhelming fact that everyone was here for us, and solely for us.

At the risk of sounding like a sob story, I rarely feel indebted to my friends; I rarely feel as though people have done something purely out of the goodness of their hearts. Of course the people in my life are good, decent people who do me many, many favors. What I mean to say is that I, being the crazy person that I am, usually attempt to mitigate these favors so that they don’t inconvenience the other party. I do favors in return. I attempt to make others happy. I would much rather attend lunch at the restaurant of your choosing and drink the punch you like, because I know you like it. This isn’t lack of preference, it’s what makes me happy. Then, I feel, we are on equal, friendly footing, no matter how close you and I may be.

Up to this moment, never had I felt such a rush of unconditional love from my group of friends. The tears flowed as my mind raced, realizing that these people had gone out of their way to support us. The rest of the story is a blur, but I came out of it with a very distinct feeling—apart from excitement and love, of course—of guilt. I felt guilty that my friends had gone out of their way to do this for us, with nothing in return but many thanks. I felt guilty, like I was eating up people’s time and energies, guilty that I could not possibly return this favor, and that awkward flavor of guilty when you don’t know how to take a compliment, all rolled into one. Not to mention all the hours some of them put in, rehearsing a song in secret, getting the harmonies and guitar intro just so. (Music rehearsal is hard, y’all. This is seriously some friend-love.)

I started crafting elaborate plans in my mind. When so-and-so proposes to so-and-so, we will totally be there. Heck, I’ll plan it. And then I’ll plan their wedding. That’ll be a great way of returning the favor, right? And then I’ll babysit their kids.

On Friendships, Favors, And Guilt | A Practical Wedding

We moved, just a few weeks ago, and all of a sudden my focus has shifted from repayment to giving these relationships the value and time they deserve. My challenge, going forward, is not one of guilt, as I realize that this is simply what friends do: they support you, particularly in the greatest and hardest moments of your life. And so I am committing myself to cultivating friendships where I am proud and happy to be the supportive one, and to be supported. I know this will come up, again and again, through future moves and wedding planning, and starting our baby family. I need to remember my friends are my friends for a reason: not just because they’re the best (although they totally are), but because they care.

Maybe this simply boils down to needing to learn to accept a favor (or a compliment). While my friendships have always been fulfilling and true, this was the first time I recognized a need within myself to let go, and accept the reason for “friendship” in the first place. It’s a lesson a long time coming and certainly a giant mountain to climb, in the future. With friends like these, though, I’m venturing a guess it won’t be so bad.

And if they want me to show up when they get engaged at the circus or giraffe exhibit or Disney World, I am so totally there.

Photos by Jenny Donoghue, Ashley’s best friend.

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  • Anon

    My fiance also did the penguin thing. So awesome!

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      Are penguin proposals a thing? If so, I find that crazy awesome and adorable.

      • Elizabeth

        I liked this article, but I when I was finished reading, I couldn’t help but think, “I REALLY need to know more about the penguins!”

      • Maddie

        Engagement penguins are the new engagement puppy.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleycbirdsell Ashley – OP

      Thanks! Aren’t penguin proposals the best?

      @Maddie – Engagement penguins, YES. I wanted to take one home. (In fact, my fiancé bought me a stuffed version of the ones at the zoo. I named her Peanut, after the one you see above, who they let me pet.)

      @Elizabeth – It was basically the best day ever. We got to go into their little cave where they breed/feed the penguins, and learn all about them, for about 20 minutes. (This was before the proposal, and my fiancé looked SO unhappy, and I kept telling him to be more happy about learning about them! Turns out he was nervous.) Then we came out of the giant rock/hut thing and all of our friends were there, and there was singing, etc. I was mostly focused on the penguins. A bunch of them sat around our feet and watched the whole thing go down, it was adorable. They wouldn’t let him kneel for fear the penguins would attack (which, in retrospect, is total bs), so he took off his sweater to reveal a t-shirt with a picture of him kneeling.

      • Elizabeth

        Thanks for the story! Too cute! :-)

  • Jan

    I just wanted to to say how much I love the photo of you showing your ring to the penguin. Priceless!!!!

  • http://partialto.tumblr.com LIZ (SINCE 1982)

    That whole thought process of mitigating favors, oh my gosh, are you me? I’ve always struggled with feeling guilty/indebted when someone else is kind. It’s paradoxically hardest when people overwhelm you with love the way your friends did.

    On Sept. 11, I had just started my sophomore year at college. Not to go into the details, because tl;dr and also they sucked, but that week two of my friends – guys I knew from my hometown but previously wouldn’t had described as particularly close to me – drove all the way up from Georgia to where I came to meet them in Newark (since cars weren’t being let into the city yet), turned around and drove all the way back, so that I could see my mom and dad at a time when all flights were grounded. When they dropped me off at my parents’ house I felt such a rush of mixed feelings, dominated by what I would almost have to call embarrassment – how dare I put these two people out of their way to such an extent? I sat there, my bag in my hand, for a good few minutes not knowing what to say to them, and finally just spit out what I was thinking: “I can never repay you for this.” And they told me not to be stupid and gave me rough boy hugs and kicked me out of the car so that they could get home and go to sleep.

    Reading about your friend who drove all night, I started crying. You absolutely are blessed to have seen your friends’ love for you demonstrated so clearly, and I’m glad to hear you’re no longer focused on keeping the scales even. You nailed it when you said: “my friends are my friends for a reason: not just because they’re the best (although they totally are), but because they care.”

  • Aly

    Ah I know exactly what you mean about friend guilt. I feel the same exact way — I’d rather my friends choose where we eat, choose what we do, because I want them to be happy which makes me happy. Not because I’m a pushover or I have no opinion. Part of the engagement process (as I’m engaged but not yet married as well) is letting yourself just accept love and say thank you, which has been extremely challenging for me. (Like when my cousin buys ALL. MY. CHINA. ALL OF IT HOLY CRAP and a thank you card seems so paltry in comparison.) This post echoes exactly what I’ve been feeling. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

    • mimi

      I totally agree about the engagement process. The wedding is in 22 days, and in the past few weeks I’ve had my shower and my bachelorette party (destination weekend to Mackinac Island, which was a 4 hour drive for most, plus a long train ride for my dear friend who came in from Chicago before the car ride). I had such a great time with all of my friends and it was amazing and overwhelming that they were all there to support and celebrate me (and my fiance of course). I’m trying to keep all of that friend love with me in these last few crazy weeks before the wedding!

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      It took me a minute to realize that you were talking about buying china on a gift registry, and was trying to figure out if you had some sort of pottery business going. Like when your parents buy all your lemonade or that neighbor buys all your fundraising candy bars.

      Not sure if you or anyone else will find this as funny as I did, but there it is.

      • KEA1

        I did too! And really, either version would be a pretty incredible, kickass, major sweet thing to do for a friend. %)

  • http://www.marbleryephotography.com melissa

    unexpected takeaway from this post? ” I would much rather attend lunch at the restaurant of your choosing and drink the punch you like, because I know you like it. This isn’t lack of preference, it’s what makes me happy.” <– this line just made me understand my mother a little better, and love her a little more.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleycbirdsell Ashley – OP

      Awesome! Even though it’s something I understand about myself, it can still be hard for me to realize that others feel this way too. (So, sometimes I get mad at my fiancé when I ask him what he wants for dinner and he’s unwilling/unable to give me an answer or his preference… Guess he and I are more alike than I thought!)

  • Emmy

    I started trying to let go of my friend guilt when I sprained my ankle. I was living alone in an apartment on the second floor in a city four hours from my parents. I couldn’t really use crutches because I have fibromyalgia. I had to call a friend to take me to the urgent care clinic for x-rays because I couldn’t drive. Of course, we had to wait several hours. Then he had to take me to the grocery store because I had no food in my apartment.

    When we got back to my place, I was so overwhelmed by guilt at his kindness that I told him to just drop me at the door. No, no, I’m totally crippled but I can figure out a way to get myself, these giant crutches, and these bags of groceries up a flight of stairs myself, thankyouverymuch. He looked at me like I was a fool, which of course, I was.

    That incident—and similar kindnesses throughout my recovery—were very, very hard. For most of my life, I didn’t have close friends, and the idea of these people I had only known for two years doing so much for me was very weird. But finally, I realized that were the situations reversed, I would do the same for them. Of course I would.

    So now I try to give my friends the benefit of the doubt. I try to remember that when they offer me help or support, it’s because they want to and are giving it freely. I respect them.

  • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

    It took me years to realize that my friends wanted to be friends with me just because I was me. I was always looking for a reason, and coming up short, just assumed they didn’t miss me when I wasn’t there. Finally, by the end of my undergrad years, I realized my friends loved me for my personality and who I am, not for any service I provide.

    However, now that I’m looking for new friends locally, I still try to give people reasons to be friends with me (I like board games! I can french braid your hair!). It’s hard to remember to just be myself and get to know people.

    • http://writemeg.com Megan

      Totally feel you. Sometimes I feel like I need to “prove” why I would make a cool friend and go out of my way to perform these little tricks . . . like just being me is not enough. My offerings usually include, “I’ll take nice pictures at your events and tag only the good ones on Facebook! I’ll edit your resumes and cover letters and share the best cupcake recipes I’ve made!”

      I’m working on . . . confidence. I’m self-confident in every area but friendship. Like, somehow I still question why someone would want to be my friend rather than just thinking because I’m a thoughtful, energetic and all-around okay person.

      Gah.

      • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

        “I’m self-confident in every area but friendship. Like, somehow I still question why someone would want to be my friend. . .”

        YES. Especially when trying to break into new friend groups in a new place. I mean, they obviously have all the friends they need, why be friends with me?! So I feel like I have to go out of my way to be entertaining or helpful.

        (Really, guys, I can french braid! Isn’t this a basic friendship qualifier?!)

        • Breck

          Learning how to french braid is one of my goals for this year, so I’m pretty sure you’d make an excellent friend.

          • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

            Thanks for the validation :-)

    • Melise

      Wait. I’m pretty sure those are like my two main requirements for my friends. Any chance you live in Atlanta?

      • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

        Dammit, I’m in Nebraska. For at least three more years. If only I could french braid via Skype. . .

  • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

    Penguins and proposals and friends? Ugh, you made me cry all the tears.

  • VivaLuisa

    Oh my, this is so timely. I just got married (yay!) and our friends and family really stepped up to make it amazing, from arranging flowers to delivering fancy bourbon from Kentucky. I loved, loved, loved our wedding day, but in the days since, I am left with similar feelings of guilt to those you describe here – I shouldn’t have micromanaged! I need to buy everyone a very expensive thank you gift! I will plan their weddings!!!

    I guess I was surprised that our DIT-wedding left me feeling a little guilty – anyone else feel like this after their wedding was over?

    (I should note that everyone was more than gracious and enthusiastic about helping with DIT duties – these feelings come from me, not our loved ones!)

    • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

      I definitely felt this way. Our friends and family put so much work into our wedding, way more than I realized we’d need going in. I couldn’t get over everything that they had done for us and felt bad that I’d never be able to fully express how grateful I was or be able to repay all of the kindness. But everyone told me that they were so happy to do it and there was no need to keep thanking them. I’ve had to learn to just accept their love and let go of the guilt. But I will sure as heck seize any opportunity I see to be of service to any of these people. I mean, I like to think I would have done the same before the wedding, but I’m extra watchful for chances now.

  • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

    My friends and I have a standard answer whenever one of us starts feeling guilty about asking too much for something freely given. “Are we still gonna be friends next week? Yes? Then we’re even.”

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      That’s a great strategy, love it.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleycbirdsell Ashley – OP

      OP here. This is perfect; I love it. Definitely going to start implementing this immediately! I often need a gut-check sentence or trigger of some type to remind myself to stop overthinking things.

      • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

        The idea is that long term friendships are a bit like marriages. You CANNOT keep score. There will be times when one of you will have more time, more money, more skills, more patience, etc. So if I have job and you can barely pay your rent of course I’ll pick up the tab for dinner; one day the shoe will be on the other foot.

        What does Meg always say? Your wedding is not an imposition. Well YOU are not an imposition either. I take care of my friends because they like me and I have the good sense to like them back.

  • 39bride

    “I felt guilty, like I was eating up people’s time and energies, guilty that I could not possibly return this favor, and that awkward flavor of guilty when you don’t know how to take a compliment, all rolled into one.”

    Oh, wow. I totally know what you mean. The biggest non-husband-related memory of my wedding day involves feeling overwhelmed by the love I felt from others–I broke down for the only time all day when I was walking down the aisle and saw the expression on the face of every single guest.

    The other memory is one that I struggle with to this day: the realization of the immense lengths my family and friends went to in preparing for the ceremony and reception, all their hard work and worrying and lack of sleep to make it happen. I had thought I’d made things simple/easy but it ended up being a huge burden to them and they shouldered it without a peep of complaint, and often with outright joy. We’re talking things like staying up most of the night despite responsibility for small children, old age, recovery from cancer/chemo(!), etc. Almost a year later, I still feel guilty that they did so much for us and we did so little for them. It was a blur and I didn’t really understand how much they had given until it was all over, we got back from the honeymoon, and I asked how things had gone.

    I think I need to re-read this and absorb the lesson, ’cause this is definitely a tough thing for me…

    • 39bride

      (One more aspect of this was that for so many, many years I was a clinically-depressed wreck and was not deeply involved in their lives. The cousin whose wedding I barely remember through the fog of depression ran the kitchen during our reception prep, and my sister whose wedding I literally hyperventilated in put up with my pre-wedding meltdown that included me sniping at her, did all the flowers, ironed all the tablecloths, and so much more. Despite our history, when it was my turn to need them to get involved in this special time, they stepped up without hesitation. I was just blown away, and still am.)

      • Kara E

        That’s LOVE.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleycbirdsell Ashley – OP

      I can only imagine how guilty I’m going to feel re: our actual wedding. (It almost makes me want to start paying back favors in advance, pre-planning. Maybe that’s why we’re going to a ton of weddings and wedding events this year.)

      It’s definitely one of the most overwhelming feelings I’ve ever had; that moment where all that love hits you! It’s a lot to take in.

      • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

        I will say from hindsight on this that while I still struggled with guilt over all of the help from the wedding, it did help that I felt like I’d done everything under my power ahead of time to make the weekend as nice as possible for our guests. Our focus from the beginning was on being the best possible hosts and spending as much time as we could with everyone, which was selfish in that we really like these people, but we also didn’t want to feel like they’d flown in and only gotten a three minute conversation with us between songs at the reception. And the effing coloring books that took for effing ever to make for my nieces and nephews were totally worth it if they made dinner more enjoyable for my brother and sister by occupying their kids. And really taking into consideration food restrictions and preferences (vegetarian, kosher, doesn’t like seafood…) felt totally worthwhile so everyone had something they could eat and would actually enjoy. It doesn’t make me feel like we’re even, but at least I feel like I did the best I could. Plus thank you notes.

  • ANOTHER MEG

    OMG yes to all of this, but I’m usually on the other side. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to accept the outpouring of love that accompanied our marriage. I’m the friend who helps you with your move, takes you out to breakfast on your birthday, sends a random note of encouragement when I know you’re stressed and don’t have time to hang out. I love doing all of those things and am generally good at receiving favors as well. But…my wedding. My bachelorette. I refused to have a bridal shower because I didn’t want to be a big inconvenience but I’m throwing two for my sister this weekend.

    I never realized how much harder it would be to receive the complete and unconditional love my friends and family have shown us. It’s weird- my husband is also that friend (one of the many things I love about him), but he had no problem with this. Is this partially a lady thing? I can’t help but wonder if we’re raised to be givers and not takers.

    Any thoughts?

    • VivaLuisa

      Totally! I feel that it’s the same with compliments – I’ve noticed that women (myself included!) often cannot receive a compliment without giving one in return (“that’s a cute skirt!” “Thanks! I love your necklace.”) Maybe this is a midwestern thing, but I don’t think so. Anyways, the truth is that most people do not give a compliment in order to receive one in return, but rather to say something that is true and also nice. And yet, I think many of us find it difficult to just say “thank you!” without responding in kind- your theory about ladies being raised to be ‘givers and not takers’ makes a lot of sense.

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    One of my longstanding friends and I have often ended up buying tickets to things together, meals together, etc. While we generally try to pay each other back, we also don’t sweat the details and the pennies. “Eh, you’ll buy me lunch next time.” It’s a nice, relaxed give and take, where we figure that the tally of favors is *of course* going to work out in the end, so why bother keeping track of the details. Watching kids, giving rides, making dinners…We know we are both running a tab, but we’ve long since lost track of what might be on those tabs, or if anyone’s is longer.

  • http://twitter.com/ashleycbirdsell Ashley – OP

    Thanks, everyone, for such positive feedback! Glad to hear I’m not the only one. Per Another Meg, above, I definitely wonder if this feeling is one that we ladies shoulder more than the men. My fiancé definitely is grateful for our friends and everything they do for us, but it doesn’t phase him. I’d imagine it’s because he (being an awesome, awesome person) would do the exact same thing for someone else, and not think twice.

    I guess this is one of those situations in which asking yourself “How would I feel? Of COURSE I would do this for my friends!” works and reminds us that we give (and should accept) because we care.

  • KTMARIE

    I just came back from a weekend at home where my mom and MOH threw an absolutely beautiful bridal shower for me. I had friends and family come in from out of town and received some of the most thoughtful and amazing presents I could have ever asked for! I am feeling a bit of the same now – not necessarily guilt, but how do I say thank you enough?!

    I would love to see an APW post on ‘the best ways to say thank you’ or how to best express appreciation. I’m sure that is different for everyone, dependent on both the person saying thank you and the person getting thanked, but I feel an open thread coming on!

  • Anon

    See, this piece, and this quote in particular is why I so vehemently disagreed with yesterday’s advice: “[I] realize that this is simply what friends do: they support you, particularly in the greatest and hardest moments of your life.”

    I do this for my closest friends, 100%. And my closest friends do this for me. And throughout planning my wedding (which was hard, y’all) and on my wedding day I wanted to be surrounded by people with whom I share this type of relationship. Not with friends that I have to tiptoe around because of whatever reason.

    • APracticalLaura

      YES! I agree 100%. I love that line!

  • shank

    This is so true! I remember always feeling that sense of guilt that I had to always repay an act of kindness, and one time my mom said to me: “Shannon, it’s okay you should just let someone do something nice for you and accept it without feeling like you have to give something back” and that really just stuck with me. (The back story is I left my handbag in a public bathroom and the woman who found it mailed it back to me and paid to have it mailed, and would not give me her address or any information to pay her back, and I felt so bad I couldn’t do something to repay her).

    Friendships (as well as random acts of kindness) shouldn’t be based on keeping tabs you should do things and accept things from people without the “return the favor” guilt.

  • Tamar

    About two years ago, my fiance (then boyfriend) and I moved up to Seattle from New Mexico. We knew ~two people in the city, and we only knew them because they are the awesome kind of people that host total strangers through Couchsurfers. We got into town in September (when the same two people actually let us crash at their house a second time since we couldn’t meet with our landlords the night we got there).

    In November, I ended up in the emergency room after an entire day of thinking I was dying and honestly half wanting to die. After moving from hospital to hospital, test to test, I finally ended up receiving emergency surgery to undo ovarian torsion (also, SERIOUSLY, this happens, apparently). It was terrifying to begin with, but coupled with the fact that we were so far away from family, it was just awful.

    The experience really showed me the good in the people around me, though, from the kick-a** team of all-female surgeons/ gyns/ nurses to my amazing partner to those same friends who were the only people we knew in town.

    I got out of the hospital the next morning and my guy helped me get into bed. After staying up all night waiting to hear how surgery went/ keeping my parents in the loop/ stressing out, he devoted himself entirely to taking care of me. Before dinnertime came around, my new-found friend (one half of the aforementioned two people we knew in town) texted to see if we were home. Then, about twenty minutes later, this girl showed up on our front porch with multiple meals worth of food, an assortment of teas, and CHOCOLATE cookies. I, of course, tried to get up and hang out, because I felt bad about her doing all this work and coming all this way just to go back. She just gave me an “are-you-kidding-me-you-just-had-your-Fallopian-tube-untwisted” and left.

    That, for me, was an “I can never repay you for this” moment. She knew exactly what we needed and took care of us, when we thought we were all alone. She allowed my exhausted boyfriend to sit down and have a meal and not worry for a while. She made my poor stressed out mama back home cry when she heard that we had people up here that were looking out for us. And, seriously, she brought enough chocolate cookies to last the entire week I spent in bed.

    • Tamar

      Point being- this girl rocks! People/friends rock! And, darn them, sometimes they just do something that is impossible to thank them properly for or pay back with any sort of equity.

    • KC

      Oh, the beauty of people who a) bring helpful meals when you’re super-sick, and b) recognize that when you’re super-sick, social-ness is not ideal, and hence *leave* and do the social thing some other time. :-)

      (if one were just immobilized from something and bored to tears, that’s different, and it seems that the same friends then take the extra time to chat you up and give you something other than the walls/ceiling to look at for a while. But seriously: recovering from intense pain and surgery: usually not chatty time! And I love those people.)

      • Tamar

        YES! Exactly. I was so grateful that she didn’t let me give into a feeling of social obligation. And later, when I was able to get up and around, guess who was there to hang out and laugh and drink wine.

        I love those people, too!

  • Jennie

    Nine days away from our wedding and this is exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been feeling so guilty about how far everyone is traveling just to be with us and how many people are putting in so much time, energy, and money to make everything happen.

    I think my strategy from here on out is: these people are here and helping because they want to be, not because they are required to do so. Enjoy that amount of love and know that it’s reciprocated.

    PS: oh my goodness, I’m so excited! Is it ok if I’m feeling wedding zen already (mixed in with the holy cow, how will everything actually get done in time)?!?

  • Anon

    It sounds cheesey but true friendship isnt a sprint but a marathon. Although I know I am going to be overwhelmed by the love and support and gifts of time and presence showered upon me at my wedding in a few weeks I know I wont feel guilty if I dont “repay” those immediately because I know they will be repaid over time. Many of those opportunities wont arise for months or even years. But thats how friendship works. For many of those people I will return the favor and fly far and spend a bunch to attend their own weddings or graduations or other big life events as they come up like they have done for me. For others I will be by their side in an emergency or help them through a rough time or help them move. Or honestly even support a mutual friend who is having a rough time which in turn reduces the burden on our other friend. Just like when my fiance does something kind to me or goes out of his way or makes a career or life sacrifice for me I don’t expect to rush out the next day and immediately find a way to reciprocate. Over time those opportunities arise because thats part of what being in a relationship is. Learning to accept your friends’ love and support without feeling like you need to repay it in ways you wouldn’t already do as a good friend will only make those friendships better.

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    I really want to say something more meaningful, but yes. Yes to the awesomeness of penguins and yes to the difficulty in accepting help/favors/compliments. So very well said. Thank you.

  • Zia

    Oh penguins! I lived in Dubai for a couple of years, and whenever my friends/partner came to visit I would take them to have a penguin encounter. It was amazing. You get to hug them and give them kisses. All in a very controlled environment.