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How to Be A Friend

I am facing a little bit of an internal struggle these days.

A new friend of mine is going through a difficult time right now.  Her husband told her that he wants to take a break.  She confided this in me and I want to be supportive for her.  I have been there to listen to her and I have offered her advice when she asked for it.

But, here’s my problem:  I am afraid of being too supportive.

Every day I try to “check up” on her.  If I know I’m not going to see her, I send her a text message to say hi and ask how she is doing.  I send her little messages to let her know that I am thinking about here and that I am here for her if she needs someone to talk to.  For the most part, she has been very receptive and appreciative of my efforts to he friendly and supportive.

But then I got scared.  I am worried that I will overwhelm her (like I did to someone before).  So, I stopped sending her messages every day.  The problem with that, though, is that I am much busier than her and I worried that she would think I didn’t have time for her or didn’t care anymore.  But I am having a hard time finding a balance.

I don’t want to swing so far to the other side of “being a supportive friend” that I actually stop being supportive, but now I don’t know where that boundary is.  Without thinking too much about the past, or dwelling on what happened before, I have been trying to reflect on what I can do differently.

I think the biggest difference, that I can see at least, is that this friend actually confides in me and tells me what is going on – at least that makes me feel like she does value my friendship.  She isn’t pulling away from me (as far as I can tell).  Maybe i should let that be my guide.  However, is it right to let it get to the point of her feeling like she needs to pull away from me?

I just don’t know anymore.

Where is that “being a good friend” sweet spot?

6 thoughts on “How to Be A Friend

  1. My first instinct is to tell you to talk to her about it. Explain it to her like you just explained it to us, and tell her to let you know if it’s too much. If she’s a good friend and a good person, I think she’d be receptive to that. At least, I think I would.

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  2. Having been in an awful situation before with a spouse, having people check in on me once or twice a week was good. More would have been too much. But everyone is different. It would have helped some of the awkwardness if people had said they didn’t know how supportive to be and asked me what I needed.

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    1. Thanks, Victo. I guess I am more worried about giving off the impression that I don’t care. I also see her more than once or twice a week regularly anyway. She also told me that I am only one of a few people she told. It is just an overly delicate situations for both of us (for different reasons).

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      1. But if you tell her you care and tell her you don’t want to smother or be too stand offish (maybe even tell her why this is a worry for you) and ask her what she wants, that cannot possibly offend and it will reduce your stress level considerably.

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  3. Although experience has shown me that I’m often attracted to similar personality types in people, none of them are identical and it’s impossible to predict how anyone will react to us. However, this friend sounds very different to me, because she’s chosen you to share her secrets with. My advice would be to let her know you’re thinking of her and ask her to let you know if there’s anything you can do to support her. If you see her often anyway, that should be enough. It’s also nice to be open and honest with someone who’s been open and honest with you, so telling her about your fear is nice, especially if you talk about it as something from your past that makes you nervous about friendships, and it doesn’t become all about your problem. Not that I could imagine you doing that.

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