Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fact Check: A True Friend is Always There for You

Poppycock!  Seriously, I'm calling a big baloney on this one.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this is a girl truism.  We women think this is true.  We tell other women it's true.  We all want to have that kind of friend.  We all feel pressure to be that kind of friend.

Well, let me tell you right now, I don't believe this kind of friend exists.  I don't believe this person exists.  And if she does, she is very unhealthy emotionally.

Let's talk about a real friend.  Let's call her Jane.  Jane is a great friend.  She loves you and supports you.  She listens to you when you are struggling.  She calls you on it when you are avoiding things out of fear.  She loves you even after you yell at her when you're having a bad day.  She is a great friend.

But Jane has crises in her life, too.  Jane sometimes leaves town.  Jane sometimes gets sick.  Jane sometimes gets angry with you and doesn't want to talk to you.  Jane sometimes has emotional breakdowns and has nothing left for you.

When you've had a fight with your husband and think your world is ending, Jane may be dealing with the loss of her dear mother.  She just can't comfort you right now.

Sometimes Jane just isn't there for you.

Why?  If Jane is a true friend, why won't she put everything in her life aside to make you feel better?

Because she is a person, too.  And she's not in charge of making you happy -- you are.  She is in charge of making herself happy and taking care of her emotional needs.

That's why we all need a support system.  Not just a best friend.

As part of self-care, it's your responsibility to build a support system for yourself.  No one is going to do it for you.  People aren't just going to fall into your life and become important to you and supportive of you without any effort on your part.  You have to reach out.  You have to open up.  You have to risk rejection and find those people.  And it will probably take many of them to get you through this life.  Because life is tough and we need others.

No one should be the ONLY person in the world who understands you and can help you through.  That's just not a kind position to put someone in.  It's unrealistic and it's selfish.  Even if it's your spouse.

Reach out.  Make friends.  Find support.  Let your friends be real people. 

And if you're Jane, quit trying to be everyone's saving grace and just be Jane.  A good friend who helps and supports when it's healthy to do so.


Birdie said...

I would put this on a greeting card if I could. It is perfect.

Support systems are exactly what we need.

PS- Have I said before that I love your header?

Bonnie said...

Oh, my gosh, AMEN and AMEN and AMEN.

Sela Toki said...

In all honesty you're right on the money. They always say, your best friend has another best friend and so on and so forth. It's a reaching out process. Thanks for the post.

Day said...

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes Yes YES!

Also: the problem of then it is and isn't healthy to give support is an interesting, sometimes very hard problem.

Rubye Jack said...

Wise words Robin, and ones I certainly need to hear.

btw, your header is great. I keep forgetting to say that.

Melissa said...

Very well put! Indeed we are in charge of our own happiness! And people are always caught up in themselves...human nature.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Fabulously true.

Anonymous said...

Wise and true. There is an absolute danger in making one and only one person "our world" whether that person is a friend and specially when that one person is our spouse.

Lisa said...

I swear there is a reason I save your blogs. And it's always for the perfect time! I honestly think this blog just saved me from a lot of grief/guilt I've been feeling. Thank you!