I used to be incredibly poor at accepting anything friends offered me – even something small like a drink when you get to someone’s place. I always felt like I was troubling people and I guess to some extent I didn’t want to feel like I owed them something. But I think I’ve gotten better at this.
I think about when I offer to do something for someone else. Do I feel like they now owe me? No. And do I feel like I’m being so troubled by what I’m offering? Well, no, otherwise I would have thought a lot more about it before I offered.
So why do we offer to give at all? To some extent I think it’s because we care about the other person and we want them to feel comfortable. It’s not something we have to do, but something we choose to do because we, well, care. But I also think it is a bit of a case of putting ourselves in their shoes and thinking what would be helpful and useful if we were them.
When I couchsurfed with a guy in Lubeck, he offered to pack me a lunch – gave me a tupperwear and everything. He said “I know what it’s like to travel,” and knew how handy a packed meal as well as one piece of tupperwear would be for my trip. I was a bit reluctant to accept at first, but I knew he wouldn’t have offered if he wasn’t happy to give, so I accepted.
And I think the more we experience things, the more we’re able to empathise and care and ultimately do things for other people.
So I can definitely say that travelling has not just made me a better giver, but also a better receiver.
Feature image by fourbyfourblazer