Twitter’s debate of choice over the past few weeks has been about where you draw the line in a friendship. For most people, the rules of friendship are implicit but pretty much arbitrary. But an ongoing discussion about whether or not you should ask your friends for certain favours is making many people rethink their ideas of friendship.
It started back in January when Twitter user Cathryn Lavery tweeted a screenshot of a conversation with her friend. She wrote, “As an adult, don’t ask your friends to help you move. Hire movers, save a friendship.”
As an adult, don’t ask your friends to help you move.
Hire movers, save a friendship. pic.twitter.com/2rOvXsSfnE
— Cathryn (@cathrynlavery) January 15, 2023
Her tweet divided the internet. The replies are flooded with people nodding along, but many more seem to passionately disagree. Cathryn clarified in a reply that she did not want any of her friends to get injured moving heavy furniture when professionals could do the job instead. But it triggered a debate about whether it is okay to ask that favour from a friend, to begin with.
Or you need better friends that don‘t make you feel bad for asking for help, I love helping my friends move it can be very tiring, but it‘s worth it for the bonding you do with your friends while doing it.
— codewizard.tech (@codewizardtech) January 16, 2023
More recently, another tweet went viral for similar reasons. This time it was about whether or not it is acceptable to ask your friends to pick you up from the airport, and it followed pretty much the same format.
As an adult, don’t ask your friends to pick you up from the airport.
Use uber, save a friendship. pic.twitter.com/O12x2wJKZr
— Codie Sanchez (@Codie_Sanchez) February 25, 2023
As one can expect from Twitter, the debate has spiralled beyond just these two threads. It quickly became the question everyone was attempting to answer. Putting down such non-negotiable rules in a friendship seems odd to many users online. Maybe moving is too stressful and inconvenient an affair, but receiving a friend at the airport is not the end of the world.
every day people log on here to say they won’t pick up their friends from the airport they won’t help their friends move they won’t help take care of their friends children and suddenly it becomes clear why so many of you are lonely
— tasbeeh (@THerwees) February 26, 2023
More than the issue at hand, it was the tone of the interaction that irked people online. While there should be boundaries in all relationships, it shouldn’t feel burdensome to ask a friend for a favour in a difficult time. It should be acceptable to reach out and ask, in the very least, even if the answer is no.
The most concerning question of all is this: could you really lose a friendship just for making such a request? That doesn’t seem like a bond worth salvaging. Nowadays, we are far more vocal about our boundaries and how much physical and emotional labour we put into all relationships. Protecting your peace is a priority, and there’s no doubt about the fact that it should be. Such debates, however, make one think about the fine line between prioritising oneself and icing out the other person. The discouse is reminiscent of another tweet that went viral for drawing boundaries in a way that many found cold and off-putting.
PS: Someone reached out and asked for an example of how you can respond to someone if you don’t have the space to support them.
I offered this template: pic.twitter.com/lCzDl60Igy
— Melissa A. Fabello, PhD (@fyeahmfabello) November 19, 2019
It is ultimately up to each person to lay down the rules of their friendships, and if never helping each other out works out well, then sure, good for you! But judging by the majority of the hot takes on Twitter, it feels like a superficial approach to friendship, one that cannot possibly create a genuine bond.
To get some more perspectives, we decided to ask people from our community if they would help a friend move or pick them up from the airport. Here’s what they had to say:
“It very much depends on how long you’ve been friends and how close you are. Of course, you can ask your best friends for favours that might be a little overboard for them to do.”
– Rhea, 19
“At this stage in our lives, a lot of friends are moving abroad. So when they come back to visit, why wouldn’t I want to go pick them up at the airport or even drop them off and make that experience special for them? Everyone likes seeing someone waiting at the airport to receive them. If you don’t think your friends deserve that, you shouldn’t be friends.”
– Aaryan, 20
“It goes both ways. I would feel comfortable asking my friend to pick me up at the airport or help me move, but if they refused, I would completely understand. It’s not compulsory. But there should be no hesitation to ask either.
– Sargam, 22
“Friendship is not just about hanging out when times are good. It is only fair to help out with practical things when you can. Why should my friend spend an exorbitant amount on an Uber when I can just drive her home from the airport? If one can manage it, there’s nothing wrong or unacceptable about it.”
– Ishan, 19