A friend of mine died the other day. Since she lived alone, nobody knew. After a couple of days the neighbors noticed they hadn’t seen her, so they called the police to do a wellness check. When the police arrived they found her beloved Great Dane sitting on top of her body. He wouldn’t let anyone near her. That’s loyalty. How many people do we know who would be that loyal? Is it even possible?

I’m not suggesting that we run around sitting on each other. I do wonder how many of our relationships are completely self serving. How many relationships do I remain in because of what you do for me? Do I even stop to think about whether I do anything for you? If you asked me for some favor that was completely within my ability to perform, would I do it? Do I even consider, every now and then, what I might do for you without you having to ask? If our answer to most of those questions is “no,” we don’t really have to wonder why we feel unsupported.

There’s another side to this question. If our relationships are not mutually beneficial, why do we continue them? Might the reason be laziness? Is it easier to just continue in a half-hearted way in friendships that died long ago? It might be easier in the short term, but in the long run those relationships become drains on our energy, time, and happiness. Every now and then, it’s good to do a relationship inventory. We should be honest with ourselves about what is working and what isn’t, and if we can’t change what needs to change, perhaps we should learn to let go.

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