Monthly Musing – May 2018 – Tea for Two

“Did you think I’d forgotten to make the tea?”

It was a Sunday morning and I was in a shared hotel room with one of my best friends. It had been a gloriously indulgent weekend of chatting, eating and pleasing ourselves whilst our respective families pretended they couldn’t cope without us (just for our benefit, of course!). We had been taking it in turns to get up to make the morning brew; this morning was my friend’s turn and as she had disappeared to clean her teeth just as the kettle boiled, I got out of bed to pour the water onto the tea bags.

“No, I didn’t think you’d forgotten,” I replied. “I was just saving you having to re-boil the kettle.”

“So it’s not that you think that I’m incapable of brewing up, then?”

“Of course not!”

“I could be offended by that.”

I stared at her. “What?”  I’ve known my friend for longer now than I’ve not known her.  She is well-read, thoughtful, wise and considerate.  She is without question someone I turn to when life gets a little rough and I am blessed to have her as my friend.  I would never dream of doing anything that would upset her.

She laughed. “Remember when we were talking about not knowing what goes on in someone else’s head? Even with something as simple as making a cup of tea, if you don’t say what’s on your mind then the other person will always put their own interpretation on the events. You might have been being kind and saving me a job, but I might have thought that you didn’t think I made a very good cup of tea.”

We’d been talking about those moments when you say something to someone and then worry for hours afterwards that they were upset by what you’d said – even though they’d never given it a thought. Or that someone had looked at you in a particular way and you’d taken offence when actually, they had something on their mind or something in their eye.  I try not to do that these days as I am old enough now to know that the reality of that being the case is usually very slight, but I have wasted hours in needless worry in my teenage years.

As a family, we have for many years made a point of saying if we’re feeling sad or grumpy as it’s too easy for those feelings to cause an argument if they’re not expressed, but it hadn’t really occurred to me that explaining to someone why you had done something would be helpful too. After all, wasn’t it obvious that I had only filled the cups to save my friend a job?
Actually, no. So often I will tell my girls not to worry about public speaking because no one knows what’s going on in your head – and that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? No one knows what’s going on in your head. What troubles could we avoid if we just gave an explanation with our actions sometimes? It certainly gave me food for thought.

“So are you going to finish making the tea now you’ve started?” my friend asked, hopping smartly back into her bed and waiting for her brew.

“I thought it was your turn!”

“It was until you took over. Not too much milk in mine, thanks.”

I told you she was wise.

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12 Responses

  1. simplelife says:

    You make a very valid point, one I'm sad to say I hadn't really thought about. I often do other family members jobs to make life easier, lighten the load or just because I can, but now I see how they could actually see it as me thinking they don't do it properly or good enough. And truth be, I have had those same thoughts myself when someone has done my task for me.
    I see the easy solution is to ask if they would like some help or for me to do a specific task and at the same time to see it as a gift of kindness when some does something for me.
    Thank you
    Cheers Kate.
    PS a weekend with a dear friend sounds divine .

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I think it's something that we've all done and it's not until you stop and think about it that you realise that someone else might not see it as you do. I think that asking someone specifically about the help is a lovely idea and I am sure that once you start to do that, others will start to behave in the same way towards you which – fingers crossed – will make everyone feel better! xx

  2. Anonymous says:

    So glad you and your friend are sharing special times, and how as we travel life's road things take on different meanings and what a good idea to let people know what is in your mood 🙂 Bluebell

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It's so easy to forget that someone can't see our thoughts, isn't it – although it shouldn't be as we know full well that we can't see someone else's! What complicated beings we are! xx

  3. Unknown says:

    We are supposed to take turns making tea when we go away??????? NOW you tell me!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I think that if you're prepared to drink the concoctions that I make first thing in the morning without my specs on then you deserve to have a brew made for you! 🙂 xx

  4. Sue says:

    Wise indeed! I have similar conversations with a long standing friend I holiday with for a week every year now. We're spending over three weeks in each others company next year & I think we're each wondering how we're going to manage!!

  5. Christina says:

    Glad you both got a cup of tea in the end 🙂

  6. Susan Rayner says:

    Food for thought!! Having got up and made tea for my husband every day now since he retired I am thinking about taking turns! But then that means he would have to cope with our elderly incontinent dog first thing and I don't want him to have to do that! Because I KNOW I clean up better than he does!! I hope I haven't been hurting his feelings over something as simple as washing the kitchen floor every morning for all these years!! We must talk about it – and other jobs I assume I do better! Thank you Christine for timely musings!! Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

  7. selina says:

    hahaha that gave me a good giggle, friends, we'd be lost without them
    thanx for sharing

  8. Lilly's Mom says:

    I think you've brought up a very valid point. I, too, have said something that later I feel could be taken wrong. As, it is not my nature to ever offend someone. Last week a new couple from church came over for dinner. There was a gift left for me and I wasn't sure who had brought it. I felt terrible not knowing who to thank. Luckily, all turned out fine. But, all the time I was thinking that they would think of me as rude and inconsiderate. I hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy your the spring weather. Pat 🧦💐

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