Sometimes, it’s really hard to be a good friend.
I mean, just being a good conversationalist is enough work to keep one occupied on a regular basis, and that’s during the good times. During the hard times, it’s nerve-wracking.
Here you have someone who you love, and whether it’s their own personal issue to contend with, or a disagreement between the two of you, you really just want them to be happy. Happy with you, happy in the now, happy in the long run . . . just happy in general.
Arguments are extremely difficult, because they’re uncomfortable on two levels: 1.) You want to make your point and be heard – and sometimes apologized to and 2.) You want to get back to being friends with your friend! However, as difficult as arguments are, the hardest thing about being a friend is when the other person is going through a personal difficulty that has nothing to do with you.
Whether it’s loss/grief (break-ups, death, etc.), stress (especially from change) or illness that is hurting this other person, there is NEVER a good How-To book to get you through the situation. All we can do is try and think of how we would like to be treated in the same situation, except . . .
Well, most of the time you just can’t know. Either we haven’t had to deal with the situation ourselves, or we have completely different coping mechanisms than our friends. Even the most similar of personalities can handle extreme stress in very different ways.
Do they want to talk, or does that seem pushy? If I don’t bring it up, will they think I don’t care? Will a night of frivolity get their mind off of it, or will it make them feel like you’ve forgotten? People who are dealing with something extreme often say that they want the people around them to just act normal . . . but normal isn’t the same anymore. The graph has shifted, and we are finding a new equilibrium point. Normal before doesn’t even exist on this new plane.
The worst part of all of it is that you can’t ask your friend, really. What people need is rarely allowed to break free from the coping mechanisms within. Humans are terrible about asking for help when we most need it, or even at knowing what to ask for.
Wow, this was a depressing blog.
The moral of the story, kids, is to have patience with your friends. They love you and are trying as best as they can. It’s not easy . . . even when we’re not the ones directly impacted.