Occasionally, I would realize that I had subconsciously divided friends into categories. Late one night, my washing machine refused to drain water and forced a new, unexpected division.
I was stuck with towels and flannel nightgowns to wring by hand. The next morning, I asked my neighbor across the street if I could spin the overly wet clothes in her machine. She insisted on drying them as well because she didn’t want me carrying wet clothes home.
Soon, I needed use of a washer. My temporary friend categories became friends you take your dirty laundry to and those you don’t. No one actually refused because I was careful about whom I asked. Some women I allocated to the second category were long-standing friends.
After a few days of imposing, I found that there were different categories. When I mentioned I was awaiting the delivery of new appliances, women who had been in the “No Dirty Laundry” category earnestly, voluntarily offered their machines. They were more flexible and accommodating than I understood. Later, I realized the true division was whom I was willing to be vulnerable with and whom I wasn’t.
Has vulnerability brought you unexpected help?