I have a friend in my men’s group that I just love. I mean, this guy is absolutely brilliant! That’s why I’ve reached out to him numerous times for help when I need to have my workshops tweaked. He’s really good at that kind of stuff.
I was taken a little aback when he came to me one day and said, “Red, this is what I can do for you and this is what it would cost.” My first thought was, Woah!! Wait a second, I wouldn’t charge my friend. What’s going on?
That’s when I realized that, just because that’s how I feel, that didn’t necessarily mean that my friend has to feel that way too. Plus, if he wanted me to coach him, would I really want to do it for free? I mean, it may be okay a time or too, but if we worked together for any length of time, then I might want to charge him too or else I may feel taken advantage of, like our friendship gave him the right to take parts of my time I might be unwilling to give.
Regardless, my friend told me that this was what he needed, so we negotiated a fee. (I truly believe that the amount of the fee itself wasn’t the big issue, he just wanted some sort of compensation for his time.) Now we formalize our meetings like any other business relationship and it works out perfectly. My friend is helping me make my workshops that much better and he is getting compensated for his time and his talent. We both win.
The great thing is, because we have this incredibly honest relationship where we can talk about things like this, there is absolutely no anger, no bitter residue of all of the times he has helped me for free. We were both able to share how we felt at that moment and came to an agreement with each other that satisfied us both.
This incident serves as a great reminder that, just because I feel a certain way about something, that doesn’t mean that everyone else feels that same way. It’s okay that we have different ideas of how things should go and, as long as we’re honest and open about our expectations, it will all work out in the end.
By talking to each other without hidden agendas, without pushing each other’s triggers, and truly listening to what the other person needs, we can honor the relationship while still setting healthy boundaries. Since my friend and I have that type of relationship, I am confident that, even if I had said no, that I couldn’t or wasn’t willing to pay, we’d continue to love each other still today.
Sometimes our wants and needs are different from those around us and we need to understand that. When we do, it’s so much more wonderful because it allows us to create a stronger connection, a stronger bond. We come from a position of mutual respect, even if we want or need different things, and this is where true friendship lies.