Can I Borrow Some Butter?

Saturday afternoon, Marty and I were taking a nap when we heard a knock at the door. We popped up to answer and saw that it was our neighbor, Megan. She came by to see if she could borrow a stick of butter.

You wonder, ‘Why is Diane telling us this? I have a point.Butter

How often do your neighbors pop over and ask to borrow something? Would it bother you if they did? Do you know your neighbors well enough for them to feel comfortable to do such a thing (vice versa)? Do you even know your neighbors names?

Like many of you, I can answer the last question with a big fat – NO. No – I don’t know my (most) of my neighbors names. No – I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking my neighbors for a cup of sugar. And yet, I LOVED that Megan felt comfortable enough to ask for a stick of butter.

Although Marty and I know Megan (and her boyfriend, Matt), we don’t reallllllly know them. At least, not for being right next door to us. Why is this? Is it anyone’s fault? Should we know our neighbors?

In a world that seems to connect more and more via social media (as opposed to direct human interaction), I was more than happy to let Megan borrow some butter. We may not be friends, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

This seemingly insignificant moment prompted me to reconsider my relationships with those around me (not just my friends, but the people I am in direct contact with on a regular basis.)

Here we are, a mere 22 days into the year 2013, and I’m already recognizing that this may be a year of growth and reconstruction.  I’ve realized that I need to reevaluate my friendships and decide which ones are working, as well as those that need some TLC.

Friendship BookI recently finished Rachel Bertsche’s memoir, MWF Seeking BFF, and I can’t tell you how much it impacted me. While I was initially skeptical of how much I’d enjoy the book  (I mean, it sounded kind of strange, a girl seeking out friendship ‘dates’ over a period of one year); I am SO glad that I picked it up. Bertsche (along with several psychologists quoted throughout the book) shares the many difficulties of making (and maintaining)  friendships in our society, yet gives great insight on how to overcome such hindrances along the way.

While I don’t want to sit here and rewrite her book, I did want to include a summary of some of the truths I walked away with…
– Friendships have one flow of dialogue, not two monologues. We need to engage with one another by truly listening to what the other person has to say, while limiting the time we spend on ourselves.
– The average friendship lasts seven years (while I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing – people come in and out of our lives for a purpose – however, there are some friendships that we neglect until they fizzle out.)
-We tend to neglect our friendships once we’re married/dating; however, our significant other can’t provide the same type of intimacy as a good friend. There different (and that’s okay!)
– Relationships take work. It’s a give and take. Why do we expect to hear from somewhere if we are unwilling to put forth our own effort?

I apologize if you found this post to be a bit scattered. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of my thoughts too.

I want to know my neighbors by their first names, I need to pursue the friendships that are starting to fizzle out, I need to disconnect more often and call those who are important to me. While I don’t believe that my brief interaction with Megan or Bertsche’s book will completely alter my life, I do believe that they have changed my approach towards the relationships in my life.

9 thoughts on “Can I Borrow Some Butter?

  1. Love that you wrote about this book too!! I have new neighbors also that I’ve been meaning to ask over. They seem very friendly, just we have fences, and go in and out our back doors. I always knew every neighbor on the block when I was growing up in Minnesota!!!

  2. That book sounds interesting!

    Regarding knowing your neighbors, I “know” mine (knowing meaning I know their names) to my immediate left and right and no one else! Eeek! I SO badly wanted to go to my neighbor a couple weeks back. I just needed *one* single egg for a recipe I was making and had none! But I totally wimped out on asking! I thought, “maybe it’ll annoy her [the neighbor]”, “maybe she only has one egg left and she’ll feel obligated to give it to me”. Haha! So, I went straight back to the store and bought eggs! Looking back I wished I’d have just asked. I’m sure, like you said, she wouldn’t have minded at all!

  3. I think this post is amazing!! I have been thinking a lot lately how I NEED to make some new friends, because I really spend too much time alone. My boyfriend is the only people I hang out with (which I LOVE, but I DO need that girl time!) I am hopeful that this is a year for many new friendships!

  4. Ooh, Di, I keep seeing that book reviewed and I’m interested to take a gander. I love that your neighbor felt comfortable enough to ask for a stick of butter. A few months ago, I asked my neighbors for an egg and they looked at me like I had two heads! They also said they had no eggs…which I thought might’ve just been a ploy to get rid of me. Haha. Oh well! On the street I grew up on (where my parents still live), we have gotten to know our neighbors quite well over the past 30-odd years, and it’s a great feeling. Nothing super invasive, just a friendly wave, a quick chat when you take out the garbage — and also little helpful things. Sometimes, one of our neighbors will mow our lawn for us, and another will bring our newspaper to the stoop or whatnot. It’s great to feel like we’re looking out for one another!

  5. Sounds like a neat book. And what an interesting statistic–average friendship lasts seven years. It definitely makes sense; I only talk to one of my friends from high school, and we’re cousins, which makes it a little different, but other than that, I don’t really keep in touch with anyone.

  6. I actually really enjoyed this whole post. I’ve always been someone who loved getting to know my neighbors. I always felt more… safe. I mean you honestly never know when you may need them.

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