#34 A friendship skill everyone should have
I had a brilliant week. I went for a work-getaway with two friends: we had a lot to do and thought it would all be much more fun if we just went somewhere nice to work together. We could intermittently socialise, have a nice fire in the background and escape the city for a bit. It was great.
One of the many things I was considering while away was my interactions with my friends. Specifically, how I’ve recently started to open up to people.
I’ve always been cautious about opening up to others. Partially because of the concern for how others might think of me if they knew more, but also a huge guilt around wasting someone’s time with my issues.
When it comes down to it, our problems are really quite easy to solve. Think you’ve gained weight? Eat less and gym more. Heartbroken over a guy? There’s nothing you can do, just wait to get over it. Your work manager treats you awfully for years? Just quit and find a new job.
I tend to give these straightforward answers to myself in my head, and therefore am terrified to go to someone with the problem, because well… I do have the solution. Why waste their time?
But on this getaway, and recently with another friend too, I’ve tried to share my struggles. I state the solution too, but also admit I just seem unable to do it. That I’m exhausted, or heartbroken, or hurt, or abandoned or insecure.
And it’s felt incredible, even though no amazing solution was offered.
This seems obvious, but we don’t really go to our friends for solutions. We go to them to be listened, to be understood, and to even be cared for a bit.
We don’t need or want to be told what to do. We want to have a space to say that we’re in pain despite knowing what to do, and to be accepted anyways.
And it works in both directions! When friends come to us, they don’t always want to hear “well just break up with them then”, they might just want a hug, a listening ear, some support and love.
And although it’s not a solution to the source of the problem, it’s a solution to a much broader matter: that of experiencing loving, genuine, open, emotional connections. The true matters of life.
Grateful to all of my friends and wishing you and yours a brilliant week,