I have had several sister friends reach out to me because they are experiencing difficult times. Some are dealing with the end of a marriage. Others are grieving because they have not attained their goals relative to career, relationship, family, finances, etc. One particular friend is dealing with coming to terms with life experiences she has avoided but now must face in order to move forward with her life. These are some pretty heavy and sensitive issues, it takes strength and courage to ask for helps when one is so vulnerable.
Those that truly know me know that I am that person to call in the middle of the night to cry to, laugh with, or cook a meal for them. Loyalty and support is what I give to all of my friends, but especially to those I consider sister friends. One thing I had not realized however, is support does not look the same for everyone. In one instance, support is silence on the other end of the phone when the other person is crying their eyes out. In another case, it can be preparing a meal for a friend in distress. Support can look like anything, but the most important thing to know is: what does it look like for the person who needs support?
In the case of my sister friend, whom we will refer to as Grace, she needs a listening ear. Grace is embarking on a journey of unearthing, confronting, forgiving, accepting and moving forward. Make no mistake, this journey will be a personal investment of time in self. As a person she has requested support, I am working to be aware of and recognize, based on her requests both stated and unstated, what support she needs from me.
What that support currently looks like is listening to Grace talk about her fears of what she is attempting to do and about the emotions that are coming up from this journey. She goes through the ups and downs that all will experience when they make this level of commitment.
As you read this entry, you may be asking, “How do I show support?” To that, I say, I don’t know. It really is based on the individual person and what and how they communicate their need. In some cases, the person may be unable to verbalize what they need. At that point, if what they need is not obvious, I would recommend just being there. Be available for this person, in whatever way they need. If you are not in the same geographic location, send a text message if the person does not like to talk, pick up the phone if they do not like to text, send an email, video chat via FaceTime or Hangouts. If it is financially feasible, go visit that person for a few days. But just being there will go a long way. So often we feel we need to fix it by doing something. In some cases, the best thing way we can support is to sit still and just be there.