Why I’m losing my friends (and 4 ways to keep yours)

Over the past two years of blogging, Living Rich on Less has brought more blessings into my life than I can count. But one unexpected challenge has been the impression it seems to leave on my friends.

There have been many times when friends and family members have told me they are reluctant to invite me to their homes because I “have that blog.”

I assume what they mean is that they feel their homes may not measure up to some perceived level of cleanliness or organization reflected on my blog. And that is probably because they see photos that look like this:


While the reality often looks more like this:


This false idea that I somehow keep a perfect home or, worse, live a perfect life, is very troubling because it leaves the opposite impression I want on my readers!

Like most home/DIY bloggers, I assume frazzled folks out there are looking for inspiration and motivation. They want proof that, despite the chaos life brings, beauty is possible. And it is even possible with less money and resources than they realize. Unfortunately, all the pretty pictures shared on these blogs (and Pinterest ;)) can unintentionally create feelings of inadequacy.

So in an effort to be more relatable and stay true to my calling, I came up with four areas where I can improve as a blogger and friend. I wanted to share them with you because I believe they can help and encourage all of us to build more authentic relationships.

1. Share the good … but also the bad and the ugly.

I have always been a huge proponent of performing with excellence; going above and beyond the call of duty; and putting my best face forward. In fact, as a military member, one of the core values ingrained in us from the moment we begin training is “Excellence in all we do.”

The problem is that excellence often gets confused with perfection. And, let’s face it, nobody likes a perfectionist.

Interestingly, one of the Air Force’s other core values is “Integrity first.” And integrity is defined not only as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles,” but also as “the state of being whole and undivided.” To me, that means I shouldn’t try to portray an image of myself that isn’t totally accurate, or “compartmentalize” my life so others only see the good parts.

2. Ask for help.

As much as I’m a proponent of excellence, I am an even bigger fan of self-sufficiency. I hate admitting I need help! But this philosophy can also hinder my relationships. Nobody likes a know-it-all or a do-it-all, right?

Surprisingly, I’ve discovered over the years that what seems to attract others to us is our vulnerability, our shortcomings.

In one of my favorite books, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,ย Stephen Covey writes that our maturity as a person begins with our dependence on others (as a young child), followed by independence (learning to do things for ourselves), and finally interdependence (working with others to achieve a common goal).

Stephen notes that the greatest human achievements come from people working at this third level of interdependence. What we can accomplish together is greater than what each of us can create on our own.

3. Listen.

I’m sure we could all probably work on improving our listening skills in some way. That’s why I wrote an entire blog post on the subject, which you can read here.

Some of the particular areas I personally struggle with are keeping my mouth closed and not blurting out my own experiences in a situation, and asking permission before giving advice.

4. Give generously of time and resources.

One of my favorite virtual mentors, Michael Hyatt, likes to use the mantra in his home, “There’s always more where that came from.” I love Michael’s philosophy of “abundance thinking.” Michael says abundance thinkers are happy to share with others; default to trust; welcome competition; ask themselves how they can give more than expected; and are thankful and confident.

“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” – Proverbs 11:24

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.ย For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38

I can’t tell you how many times these biblical principles have rung true in my life.

There are always opportunities for me to improve in the four areas mentioned in this post. In what areas do you think you are doing well as a friend? In what ways can you improve?

I’m linking this up to Women Living Wellย and Fireflies and Jellybeans.

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22 Responses

  1. Amy Frye says:

    I think you would be a great friend to have. Since you have “that blog” you may have great ideas for helping my house look blog worthy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Meghan Williams says:

    You are a great friend! Life with kids is crazy! And if you ever run out of things to do (yeah right!), come on over. I have 1,500 sq ft of basement and it ALL needs help!

  3. Gina says:

    Life is colorful isn’t it? I wish my life was more of the “after” pictures, but, alas, no. It is made up of far more “before” pics. But that is okay, I am just trying to do what is important each day… And, that, is what brings me true contentment and peace!

  4. awesome, honest post. Love it! I am a home Stager and I dont live in a staged home, lol.

  5. Judy H. says:

    True friends are friends regardless of what your or their homes, cars or wardrobes look like.

  6. Valerye says:

    Beautiful post. I have been opening up my home more and more to others and finding it bring me more happiness to share with others than keeping all to myself even if things are not always perfect. I your blog.

  7. I love that description of abundance thinking – very inspiring! I will remember that.

  8. Sharon says:

    You know those times when you read something and you think, “Oh yes, I’ve done that or thought that or felt that”?
    Your post today was that for me.
    I chuckled at your laundry room picture with everything everywhere. I think anyone can admit to having days, weeks or sometimes months like that.
    I loved that you added scripture to give another way of looking at things.
    I , for myself, can improve in every area you touched on. Another one would be in the area of judging. I find that hard. I can do much better. Thanks for taking the time to put down your thoughts. They have certainly touched my heart today.

  9. Oh I love your laundry room! Or at least the staged version!! lol

    Yes, non-bloggers don’t realized that most photos are staged & the spaces don’t look like that every day. But at the rate that people keep plunging into blogging, pretty soon we’ll be in the majority ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Jayni says:

    I want to say how much I appreciate this post. It’s about REALITY–one of my favorite topics–and also about INSPIRATION–another favorite. I was raised by the Queen of Denial, and I RUN from anything that seems to obscure reality. At the same time, creating the best possible reality with what we have to work with in terms of space, budget, etc., is one of life’s bonuses. Thank you for continuing inspiration–and for addressing the reality that may intimidate some readers. So, besides addressing two of my favorite topics, you’ve revealed yourself as my favorite kind of person: VERY HUMAN.

  11. Joy2Journey says:

    LOL, Mr Man always knows what was getting photographed on any given day by the clean area in our home. ๐Ÿ™‚ We spend more time trying to inspire than showing reality. I live by the 80/20 rule. 80% inspiration and 20% real life. LOVED your post!!!

    • Susan says:

      I thought when I started blogging, my house would look better overall. Ha! You are totally right about the little “clean” area that is getting photographed. The rest … pure chaos! Hugs right back at ya! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Shannon says:

    I also appreciate your honesty – but knew “it” already! You just try to help make things nice and show how to do it frugally! I think you’re great! I have to go finish my laundry! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Dicksi says:

    Sooo needed to read this post. It’s hard to keep things perfect! It’s ALWAYS those days when you JUST didn’t feel like doing your routines and you hear the doorbell or a knock at your door and you cringe in embarrassment! Glad to know I may not be alone in this. ๐Ÿ™‚

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