The bargain of friendship

Have you ever considered what friends are worth?  It’s futile to put a price tag on friendship itself, though it’s fairly easy to argue that someone without any friends is bankrupt in some way.  It takes time to cultivate friendships; this process can’t be accelerated by throwing money at the problem.  Having a lot of friends is good in some ways; having a few very good friends is good in other ways.

It’s a fool’s errand to quantify the price of friendship because building friendships takes time, not money.  Time is not money; time is far more valuable than money because time is irreplaceable.  Your friends get (or should get) your time, which is your most valuable commodity.

Hence, when the friendships that you’ve cultivated pay dividends, as it were, it appears that the friendships are a great bargain.  Huge money savings seemingly come out of nowhere.

When the waters are about to rise

Right now, I’m writing this post as we’re waiting to get walloped by Hurricane Sandy.  (Glasses up for WordPress autosave.)  A few months ago one of our friends (after advising us in our installation of a generator switch-over system) checked our sump pump, and said that we really needed a larger one.  The one we had worked, but it was underpowered, old, and could easily fail if put under a large load.

My wife shared this on Facebook, and some other friends piped up and made comments.

Fast forward to this week.  We had totally forgotten about the sump pump discussion a few months earlier.  Hurricanes were on my mind when there was a chance that it might interfere with our planned vacation to the Outer Banks, but now that this had passed, the National Hurricane Center wasn’t on my radar.  So, Hurricane Sandy snuck up on us.

One of the friends that had joined the discussion on Facebook earlier asked us if we had upgraded our pump yet.  That got my wife’s attention, and she took action with her dad to install a new sump in time for the rain this week.  As it turned out, there was a lot of sludge at the bottom of the sump barrel, so it was only a matter of time before the poor pump failed.  This morning, the water was flowing into the barrel at eight gallons per minute, so we’re very thankful that the pump is in now.

Just like we help out our friends, give them things, spend time with them, they do the same for us.

It’s not a this-for-that economy.  It’s a series of little windfalls.  And the windfalls really look like great bargains when they happen.

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize the good deals in life.

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Comments

  1. Often, friends are better than relatives because you choose your friends.

  2. Absolutely fantastic post. Our friends are truly priceless. Not only do they keep us sane with our weekly get togethers, but they are always there to help us no matter what (and the other way around). I was reminded of that last weekend when our two closest buddies were getting themselves sore muscles and paint stains on our behalf because our old house needed to be painted for the incoming renter. With their help, it took 6-7 hours. Without their help, it would have taken us 2-3 days. I love my friends. :-D

  3. The older I get the more I appreciate having fewer but truer friends. I caught myself living a life helping others constantly and when I needed help there was no one there. Although friends can be a great thing at times, and the whole you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours works for the loyal people in life, but in the end of the day it’s important to be there for yourself. In this case your friend reminded you about the pump, but it was still up to you guys to take care of it. It was great that your friend was able to remind you of something that could have truly caused a disgusting catastrophic disaster. I can imagine you look out for your friends quite a bit, otherwise they wouldn’t remember you in these situations.

  4. I have actually been thinking about the value of friendship myself. I have come to realize that a friend a term I used to throw around too loosely.

    It’s high time I protect my most important asset. Myself.

  5. Great post, good friendships really are priceless. It’s okay to spend money if it’s to spend time with good friends. they keep us sane.

  6. @Mae — I think you are right that it makes sense to narrow the term a little bit. We use the term loosely in social settings. But ultimately if by “friend” you mean a person you trust completely and would stand by no matter what, then probably you’re lucky to have 4-5 friends in your life.

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