The other day my parents and I got into an argument about helping my sister move down to DC. She currently lives in Philly, but recently got a new (and better paying) job down there, and thus will need help moving stuff from her Philly apartment down to her new one in DC. My parents suggested that I use both days of one of my "weekends" to do this, or even take off from work to help. I have a huge problem with this, and before you think I'm just a terrible person, let me explain why.
I have a very limited amount of time in the summer. I'm behind on money, and I need every cent that I can make at work. Which means that when it comes to taking time off, to do anything much less physical labor, it's not something I'm very inclined to do. The problems I have in doing this is not about physical labor though, as that's something I really don't mind. I have no problem doing that sort of work at all. The problem is in who it's for.
My parents' argument was that well, she's family so you're basically obligated. I don't think that's the case.
When I left for school, there were people I thought would keep in contact that did, people I thought would keep in contact that didn't, and people I didn't think would keep in contact that did. Moving 800 miles away suddenly makes you realize who the best and truest friends are in your life. Based upon that experience I realized that no matter how much you want to make a friendship work or how much you put in or contact the other party, it has to work two ways. One person doesn't make a friendship on its own; it takes both. It takes effort from both, understanding, and sacrifice.
Now I'm not saying that it has to be a super strong friendship, but given the length I had traveled, if we weren't already close we probably gained some strength simply because I had the sense to recognize how much it took to really try to stay in contact.
Of course at school I found new friends, and some of those only lasted a semester, some a year or two, and some just fleeting moments (or so it seemed). There are a few that I consider myself very close with at Clemson, even. I think that's just the way I'm made up, I'm not one of those people who has tons of friends, but more a good number of acquaintances and a few close friends.
The point I brought up in all of this is that I know that these close people would go out of their way to help me out, and I would too. My mom said, well someone has to take the first step and make the first move. Honestly, do you think that the first step would be when I'm 21 and my sister is 24? That's bullshit. Many times I have tried to contact her, set something up where I could visit in Philly, whatever else and it just goes to waste. She is too entwined in her own daily activities, and that's fine. But don't expect me to come running to help out of nowhere when I've been blown off time and again.
Let's examine another relationship for a moment, the one I have with my brother. We may not talk often while I'm at school, but we do talk; whether it be texts, phone conversations, skype, emails... they do happen and we both know and understand that if we need something or need to talk, the other is right there, even if physically we're 800 miles away. On the contrary when my sister moved out her body language and attitude made it clear that she didn't want that. She is so wrapped up in her own life she is too blind to realize that when she comes home all she does is sit on the laptop or on her phone or whatever and misses all that is going on in front of her. And I am over it, I just don't care anymore. But I'm not going to go out of my way to help.
With a few friends I have, it's quite different. Moving out at school or moving to another apartment is not easy. It's even harder when you have too much stuff to fit in your car, and harder still when you don't even have a car. And yet, listen to all the things friends did for me when I had to get all the stuff out of my apartment. Kendall offered me a place to put my stuff so I didn't have to pay for a storage unit, let alone find one. He said he had the space in his apartment and it wasn't a problem. He even helped me carry all my shit up a flight of stairs to his apartment. When he left and I had one more box, Taylor said sure, go ahead, put it at my place, no problem.
And there's other things too, that weren't just at the end of the year. When I didn't have a car, I often bummed rides off people. They never complained, never asked me to chip in for gas, and even if it was out of their way, took me home no problem. And so I aim to pass the torch on. I now have a car, and offer rides to people as much as possible, make it known I am willing to be the taxi, no problem. When Jordan missed the bus back to campus (or maybe it just never showed up) I rolled out of bed at his phone call, threw on some clothes and drove him back to campus. But I know should I ever be in a tough spot, I know I could count on him.
Like I said before, it takes both people making sacrifices for each other for a friendship to work. I don't judge people based on what their title is. Whether they're family, or a friend, or the fucking President of the United States, I will judge them based on whether or not they're willing to be that sort of a person that will help and I ask myself, would I be willing to help them? It's not something that you say, "Well I guess I'll help this once and hopefully they'll help me one day if I need it..." You just sort of know. You can tell the sort of character people have.
And so I stand by my argument. Why should I waste my precious days off driving all over fucking creation, lifting furniture and packing stuff up to move someone who can't seem to find the time to contact me but a handful of times over the year, and only after I've contacted her? I don't think I'm in the wrong here.
And when it comes time for me to move, and it will, and I have too many things, I am fully capable and comfortable doing it on my own if need be. And if they're available, maybe I'll have one or two of those great friends help out.