Do you have a friend that keeps score? Or are you someone that keeps score? Keeping score goes something like this…
“Well, I paid our way to the movies last time, so she owes me lunch.”
“He didn’t buy me a gift last year, so I’m not getting him one this year!!”
“The government is making the cost of gas high, so I’m going to cheat on my taxes this year.”
This is called keeping score and most of the time people do it because they are clueless that it’s happening.
I’d be seriously in the red if I tried to keep score because I have a lot of friends and loved ones that go out of their way to do nice things for me. My friends are always showing their love by inviting me to their homes, planning fun activities and sometimes by just listening to me when I’m having a lousy day.
I never consciously try to “keep up”, but I am always available when a friend needs me. If my plate is full at that moment, then I make every effort to be there at a later date. Usually if you conduct your relationships with people, whether it’s your spouse, your boss and co-workers or even your friends, with thoughtful consideration in mind you’ll never be on a scoreboard and you’ll never want to keep one.
When I was younger I was a bit more self centered and selfish. I think everyone goes through that stage. I would eat the free lunches and accept the gifts and never reciprocate because it never occurred to me that I should. Sometimes it never even occurred to me to say “thank you”. I had a few friends point out my bad behavior and once I got over being pissed at them, I realized they were right.
As I got older I had the circumstances reversed and I was the one always giving to certain friends and never receiving anything in return. I’ve gone through the same thing with family. You send them a birthday gift on their day and when your birthday rolls around…nothing. Not even a phone call or an email. It hurts.
But keeping score hurts worse.
That scoreboard you carry around in your heart is only seen by you. The people you perceive as being in your debt have no idea that they owe you anything. And really, they don’t owe you anything.
Here’s a good rule of thumb…if you give, then give of your heart for the purest reason and that is because you want to give, not because you ever expect something in return. If you receive, then receive with grace and gratitude because no one has to ever give you anything in life. Cherish the Givers in your life and count them as your blessings. Give them the respect and the time they deserve because they are a gift.
The world doesn’t owe you anything, but if you’re out there keeping score then you owe yourself an apology. Love yourself, know yourself and forgive yourself.
We’re all human beings.
Take just a moment to remember a recent kindness. Maybe it was a button your wife sewed on your favorite shirt, or someone who helped you fold your laundry at the laundrymat, or a friend that whispered “sweetie, you have salad between your teeth…” so you wouldn’t be embarrassed when you laughed out loud at the dinner table. It could be something that only you can appreciate, but that makes it no less significant.
You owe it to yourself to know that when you’re keeping score it means the person losing is you.