03
Sep
10

Motivation versus Actions: friendship

I’ve said many times on this blog that motivation matters to the values we can work with. It’s not just what we do but why we do them.

For example, if you see your friend in the hospital out of duty and not out of a desire to see your friend, you may harm the value of your gesture.

Also, here’s a scenario (that I think mainly effects guys, but I’m open to being enlightened). A girl says “I noticed you didn’t do X.” Guy says “o you want me to do X, fine, consider it done.” Then the girl says “No, I don’t want you to do it because I asked. I want you  to want to do it on your own.”

Very infuriating sometimes, but I confess, the point is actually an interesting one, which is that some gestures only have value if they are NOT DERIVATIVE. If someone has a desire to try and accommodate his girlfriend on various things, and finds out that she wants him to take out the trash, and then he forms a desire to take out the trash, his desire is derivative because it came from his desire to do some things she wants. But the point the girlfriend is making is that such gestures lose their power unless they are original. She was hoping that he would want to do this for her, not because he wants to do the things she wants him to do, but because he wants to help her in the kitchen, or whatever.

Anyway, all this is leading to a small point about friendship. I manage my time very carefully, and I try to leave MORE THAN ENOUGH time leftover for friends, so that if someone calls and asks to hang out at a random time, I can say yes. But there is a difference I find between having enough time and more than enough time for friends. If you have just enough time, you have to think carefully before going out with friends. You have to bring them into close competition with other duties. But, if you budget more than enough time for friends, than you can leap instinctively to hang out or help without having to weigh friendship up against other things you have to do.

The two are not different in principle, but if my point about motivation is right, then being able to accept invitations to hang out instinctively instead of deliberately might make a real difference to the way one experiences friendship. I know for me that I feel much happier when I know that I’ve kept a very healthy bubble of time in my schedule so that I can say yes to a friend as if it were the only thing I was planning to do that day.

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