When I first started blogging more than a year and a half ago, one of my very first posts was "What Kind of Friend Are You?" At the time, I had been trying to help a friend through a really rough situation, and just didn't have any answers for her, or know exactly how to be there for her. Going through life, we all get hurled curve balls, and then that gives us moments to reflect on life. I have been doing a lot of reflection about what type of friend I am? Am I nurturing the friendships that I have?
So looking at that post, I had a few thoughts, to share from my original thought process.
“I think looking bac, that for my closest friends I've always been a pretty hands on friend. I've been a pretty opinionated, but always supportive person. I'm usually the one that has some profound words, always the biggest cheerleader. I'm definitely the one that is always thinking of new ways to help a friend in need, and to be there for them.”
While that hasn’t changed, I am realizing lately that maybe the question should be “what type of friend am I to myself?” If I’m constantly worried and wrapped up in everyone else, what everyone else thinks, feels, or their opinion, then I’m not really being very kind to me. I’m not being myself - and that in fact doesn't make me an effective friend. My friendships were forged in the first place, because my friends were drawn to the authenticity of me. If I'm worrying about everything I do, I'm not being the authentic me!
“I have been having a few moments lately, where I feel so bad for a friend, for the situation they are going through, and I don't know how to help, what to do or what to say. I know that there are two sides to every story, and while I try to be supportive, I do give my opinion and try to make them understand the other side, and help them to let go.”
I was able to help her through that rough situation, by listening, and in that moment, that’s what she needed. She did come to me a while ago, with the same problem, and again I was at a loss for words for her, but found that just being myself, being honest, and telling her that I really don’t know how to help, but I cared, I loved her, and would be there for her, made a difference. Likewise, I can think of moments when friends have done this for me. It has helped immensely, to feel supported. I can also think of times, where I craved someone to listen to me, and sometimes a single person in particular, and felt very let down when this couldn't happen.
“One thing that I never thought I'd learn, and didn't realize I had room for improvement in was - listening. Just listening. I've been told that my listening, and genuine care/concern, makes a world of difference. So even when you don't necessarily have the right things to say, just being a constant presence in a friend's life, when they are going through a hard time... means a lot.”
This is still a HUGE learning curve for me. It seems that personally some times everything hits me all at once. Like, literally EVERYTHING. It throws me for a loop, and I sometimes fail at having that grace under pressure to be able to keep all the balls in the air. I become selfish, and think that those friends and family that are close to me have nothing going on in their own lives. Then I obsess over my unhappiness to them, and ask for help, when if I would have stepped back, become attune to the situation, I would have realized, they, just like me, were at the end of their rope with their own drama. That they had no capacity to help me in the way I needed. That maybe I needed to take a step back, and stop worrying about myself, and LISTEN to them, that they needed someone.
Stating earlier how I was upset when someone wasn't there for me, had I listened, and realized everything that was going on in her life that she was dealing with, and realized that she just didn't have the capacity to add anymore to her plate, I should have been accepting, and realized that. Hindsight sometimes is 20/20.
I do try my best everyday to work on that trait. I know it’s a weakness. I am blessed to have amazing friends and family as my support network. I am truly married to my best friend. I may not have tons, but I have a great handful of people that support me. For that I’m grateful, and work towards being a better friend.
“I've been really lucky, and touched lately by the amount of comments from some of my readers, some that I've met through different outlets, others I didn't realize even read my little blog. So I go to you to ask you, what do you do?”
My readers still continue to support me everyday, and what I love most about it, is the friendships that have formed over time with them. I’ve met some pretty incredible ladies online, and IRL. In fact, I sometimes don’t get to see them enough. I thank all of them for being involved, in great hyper-local community groups like GLO - Girls Lunch Out, and Philly Social Media Moms. As well as larger networks like Bloggy Bootcamp (SITS Girls).
“What kind of friend are you? What do you do when you have someone that you are close to that is going through some really life altering hardships? I'm not going through what they are, nor have I even come close to experiencing what they are, and it breaks my own heart... how do you help them cope? “
I still would love to know, what nurtures your best friendships? How do you keep your friendship skills in check?