friends

Support

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn in the past few years is how to be of support to someone I love, to someone I care about. We have automatic tendencies to give advice, to say something of use to another person, but sometimes, that’s just not what the person wants or needs to hear.

I remember hearing of a poem and since then, I have kept it in my mind ever since. It is hard for me, for us, to just listen. To be able to sit in the other person’s pain and not want to remedy or alleviate. But it’s important to sit, to share in, to feel what that person is going through.

This was evident during the summer and following up to last night. Partner was struggling, consumed with anxiety and fear and it was so hard for me to resist comfort. While I failed here and there, I had to learn how to say different things. Instead of trying to reassure and tell him that he would do fine, I had to say that I would be there for him despite whatever outcomes may have arisen. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything at all, maybe I should have.

A few weeks ago, a friend shared difficulties with her partner, about what he was going through and how difficult it was for her to be witness to that. I remember suggesting to her that she check in with the therapist he was going to see, to ask the therapist how she could be of support to him. I have remembered that since because it reminded me of how I should react and also what I need to suggest to my clients. Granted, in that latter position, I actually get to provide the suggestions, but it’s a reminder to the kids and the families I work with that yes, while the kid is the one coming to therapy, in reality, it’s all of them. All key players are a part of that child’s life and how can we all be a team and learn to support what that kid’s needs are?

It’s hard. It’s hard to just listen, to do nothing more than listen. I am still struggling with it. It’s a fine line to cross – at which point is someone asking for advice and at which point is someone not? Is the question implied? Or is a disclaimer needed? What I do know is that I need to be more mindful of when that occurs and truly strive to be as supportive as I can.

Intention

Earlier, as I was driving, I thought to myself: Maybe I should ask if A and B are finally dating. But I also asked myself – why would I bother to ask that question? Would A give me the answer? What is the end game?

Then I realized that asking that question wasn’t going to further my relationship with A and the gains in asking said question were trivial. I started to think more about the relationships that I do keep in my life. While they might not be many, but the ones that I would consider close are meaningful to me.

I’m really terrible with small talk. I can forget things and often times, forget people I’ve only met once or twice. (I’ve even forgotten people who were my Facebook friend!) It’s not to say that I don’t value them as people, but in addition to my poor memory skills, I also wonder if the people I meet are worth furthering a relationship. Will I be a benefit to this person? Will this person be a benefit to me? I don’t mean to say that I judge and place value on each person, but I would much rather have a smaller number of people in my life that I can keep in touch with than trying to juggle a hundred different people. It’s partially for me, but also for the people on the receiving end of this relationship – I want to make our relationship valuable and in order to do so, I need more quality than quantity in my life.

I might not be the best person to keep in touch with and even more so now with my ever-busy schedule, but I hope that to those who are reading, that you all understand that you all have value in my circles.

(This might also explain why I’m holding off on getting another cat – no time to devote!)