Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What's Your Currency?

Sorry it's been so long since my last blog. My frustration over actually getting my last blog to APPEAR has kind of left me unmotivated. Oh, and I'm really busy at work.

But I wanted to talk to you all a little bit today about emotional currency. What's yours? What the hell is it, you ask. Well emotional currency is what you USE or what you GET in a relationship (any relationship - friend, family, lover) that is valuable. Some people's currency is words - they say nice things in order to show that they care. They expect others to say nice things to them. It's their way of trade in order to show affection, attraction, or care. Others use actions as currency - DO something for me to show me you care. THIS is what I'm doing for YOU to show you that I care. Still some other people actually use CURRENCY as their currency - pay my bills and I'll know you care, etc. Of course, they don't always have to match. Some show in one way but expect to receive in another.

So anywhoo - my challenge for all of my blogreaders today is to examine your own emotional currency. What do you do for others to show that you care? What do you EXPECT from others?

This was a topic of conversation at work yesterday that led me to analyze my own emotional currencies. And what I've come up with - NOTHING! I can't pinpoint anything.
I think I pay out in every denomination. Money tends to be something that I dole out as often as possible to those I care about. I try and ACT on anything or in any way that I think other people may appreciate. I try and express my feelings as much as possible - even though words seem lacking to me so often. As I look at myself - I see myself continually paying out all day long, in every way I possibly can, almost to the point of exhaustion - just because I feel like that's what I need to do. But I'm not sure if it's allowable to pay in every denomination - perhaps I have a specialty that I just can't see. Can anyone else help me out on this one??

And as far as what I expect? Oh geez...this is something that I'm struggling with a lot. Because of my own silly self-esteem issues I tend not to EXPECT anything from anyone. I simply don't accept emotional currency well. Of course my friends and loved ones do and say things all the time that make me feel special and cared for - but there is nothing that I particularly look for as a sign of this affection. I feel like I *should* - I feel like I should pick one and start holding people to that standard. But choosing is nearly impossible. The closest guess I can come up with right now is simply communication. I want you to tell me what you're thinking and feeling. Nothing is more gratifying to me than for "you" (my theoretical giver) to open yourself up to me for a few minutes. Let me peek in for a while. Show me *you*. Is that an allowable currency? Is it wrong for me to ask?

This is a post full of questions. Please - let me know!



At 8:26 AM, Blogger Agent 99 said...

Oh my goodness... is this a loaded group of questions.

First; my currency comes in all forms. It really depends on the reciever and their individual needs as to what I give to them. I have friends that have needs on many different levels. Based on the development of our relationship and my knowledge of their needs, I try to provide.

My relationship with my husband is a little different. He relies very much on actions. "Don't tell me so much (although he wants that sometimes); but SHOW me how you care."

I think that my personal strength comes with my ability to effectively communicate. I am NOT a big fan of confrontation, but I am a great communicator. Listening and counseling (with what little advice I can offer), are to particular talents that I have been given.

As far as what I require from my relationships... WAY TOO MUCH. Because I put so much into my relationships, I tend to expect the same from others. Most of the time, I get disappointed from the results. I wouldn't consider myself really a needy recipient. Rather, I want to know that in times of crisis, I have someone to turn to. Again, I am a big communicator. I am completely open and honest with friends and family. Sometimes, too honest. (See my last blog.) I look for friends that will be just as honest and open with me, as I am with them.

Trust and commitment... they are priceless. To trust someone enough to truly have an open "give & take" relationship, where you are totally vulnerable to eachother; those relationships come along only a few times in a lifetime. Priceless.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger L said...

wow...what an interesting topic.
you know....i'm not sure what mine is. usually when i care for people, i make them stuff. paintings and mix cd's tend to be on the top of the list, just cuz they are what i like to do best. from other people, i really expect emotional support. i'm not too big into the money type of currency. however, i can be realllly emotionally needy, especially with signifigant others. stuff like constant reassurance, telling me that things will be ok, hugs..etc.
perhaps i should come back to this when i have a more formulated answer...

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Tiger said...

Excellent question, Darbi.

My emotional currency is pretty simple:

Time and Resources. To be there for my true friends in their times of need as well as times of joy. It's easy to be present when the good times are happening, less so when times are tough and a friend has a real need. One way I can identify a true friend is that they're someone who I'll be there for even if it's highly inconvenient.

Time and Resources, pt. 2. As contrary to the above as this sounds, I strive not to be a constant drain on someone else. As a friend, I have needs from time to time, but I never, ever let myself become a continuous drain on someone. Asking for occasional help is part of being human; requiring constant assistance is a sign of not being an adult. I'd never want to be thought of as a user, and that's the term I've heard repeatedly by those who take and take on a regular basis.

Your term of emotional currency brings up an analogy I've often used for relationships (any sort, either romantic or platonic):

A relationship is like a bank account. Each person gets a balance.

Good things (good times together, getting the support you need, etc.) adds to your balance

Bad things (bad times, fights, being put out by demands or constant needs from another) subtract.

A healthy relationship is one with a good positive balance.

That's my $0.02; worth every penny.


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