Has your self-worth and self-esteem ever gone so low that you resorted to buying your friends?
Sadly, I can answer yes to this question, but I learned a very valuable lesson in being this way for years. Anyone who allows themself to be bought time and time again, were really never a friend to start with.
The image I like to paint most often of this is of the barfly who has money to spend every night they go out on the town. Week in and week out they frequent some establishment buying round after round of drinks for various people. They become quite popular with the other patrons so much so that the stools around them are rapidly occupied each time they are there. There never seems to be a dull moment in their life at any of the places they go out for a drink and conversations always appear to be plentiful to them. But one day when their money runs out, they head out to one of those bars only to find once there, that they’re sitting alone and completely friendless.
I remember those days when I’d regularly say “The drinks are on me!” and I was instantly surrounded with loads of people who wanted to spend time with me. Unfortunately, I never got to learn the lesson that barfly learned during my own days of drinking, as I never ran out of money like they did. When I became clean and sober, my self-esteem and self-worth were so low that I honestly believed I didn’t have much to offer someone to want to be my friend. Much of that related all the way back to me being the nerd that no one ever wanted to be around in my early grammar school years. Regrettably, I’d go on for a very long time after this finding innumerous ways to buying my friends.
Whether it was constantly paying for someone’s dinners or movies, or taking someone on an all-expense paid vacation, or giving frequent gifts to someone, or loaning money to someone who I knew was never going to pay me back, or having sex with someone I really didn’t even like in that way, it became a habit to buy my friendships in ways just like these, all because I had such an incredibly low self-esteem and self-worth. And when each of my parents died and left me some inheritance money, this habit only grew worse.
I’m not exactly sure when it was that I fully woke up to the fact that many of the “friendships” I thought I had were actually not friends at all. If I had to guess, it was probably during the time I was hanging out with this Harley-Davidson biker guy. During that period, my mental and emotional health deteriorated greatly and the only things I received from this friend while that was happening were either criticisms of my state of health, demands for free meals, or requests for money to borrow. When I refused to offer anything except my company, he was consistently nowhere to be found.
Thankfully all of that led me to finally work on my low self-esteem and low self-worth enough to the point where I learned how to unconditionally love myself. Because of that, I now enjoy spending time alone and don’t feel the need to do things anymore such as buying my friends. While I may not have too many of them in my life at the present time, I believe the few who are there treasure my soul and my company more so than anything.
So if you happen to be someone like I once was, who is regularly buying your friends, you may want to take a moment, breathe, and start working on improving your self-esteem and self-worth. As the more you do, the more you will find yourself unconditionally loving that which you see in the mirror every single day. And the more that continues to happen, the more you’ll find friends coming into your life, not because you’re buying their friendship, but because your heart and soul is that amazing they are drawn to that and that alone.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson