John & Alejandra

Part 1: John

When I met John* (name changed) in late 2020, we were at the one of fanciest restaurants I'd visited all year.

"What would you like?" our waiter asked.

"Bring us whatever you recommend; we'll eat all of it!," We completely disregarded prices and went all out- it was SO MUCH FUN.

John unexpectedly picked up the tab. "You just bought a house! This is a celebration of you!" I could tell that he had no other motive and I was deeply touched.

I trusted John after that. When the snowpocalypse hit, I didn't think twice to house him. It wasn't even to repay him for the dinner; it was because the spirit of giving was alive with us. And my giving with no other motive opened our friendship even more; soon we were talking about personal matters with a lot of trust.

He's coming over soon to help me assemble furniture, to thank me for my care last week. He doesn't have to, he WANTS to. And next time I help him, it will be from a selfless place too. It feels natural.

Part 2: Alejandra

Tonight I was at a brewery, eating a sad little beet salad and slightly hating myself.

"Take some of my pizza! It's so delicious!" my neighbor Alejandra* (name changed) said.

"Okay!" and I didn't feel bad for taking any from her.

Because when I first moved in, I brought her a poinsettia for her birthday. "This grows wild in my home country!" she said, her face lighting up.

And when I came back from Christmas, I found an assortment of goodies waiting on my doorstep from her.

And during the snowpocalypse, I helped her turn off her main water valve when she came to my door, panicked, in the middle of the night. And when her car got stuck on ice, I told her it would be okay and started defrosting my car to come get her.

So I can have some of her pizza. She'll have some of mine later on.

This is weird, but I've never been good at giving, or taking, from others. I think I was scared of being taken advantage of? I dunno, I was coming from a scarcity mindset for sure.

But a friendship built on giving just feels SO much stronger. I can't wait to do more of it.

PS- While I will shout from the rooftops about how they've helped me, it feels weird talking about how I helped them. That's private, you know? So, I've changed their names.