Friendship bartering works like this: I share a piece of me with you, and you share a piece of you in return.
Although at times it felt risky, these are the best deals I’ve made over the years.
This is how it goes. If I trust a friend and want to strengthen our relationship, I share a personal part of my life that has emotional capital. He or she listens. At times, my friend responds. Other times, he or she may just listen intently. Often, I feel a weight lifted or a sense of loneliness dissipate. I might receive a piece of knowledge that improves my perspective. Almost always, I feel unconditional support.
A door has opened. My friend now feels safe. It may be the next day or weeks later when my friend confides in me. Now it’s my turn to be an honest and supportive receiver. I may have something substantial to offer. I may not. It makes little difference. Our friendship has reached a higher level due to mutual trust and sharing.
This kind of bartering has made my life richer. I’ve rarely have been burned. Instead, I’ve gained greater perspective on important issues in my life and cemented intimate friendships that have lasted a lifetime.
It’s like Alka-Seltzer. ”Try it… You’ll like it.”