It’s a simple message sometimes tragically forgotten.
The last time a friend came to cry on my shoulder, I felt honored and realized it was a blessing to be able to provide comfort. When I went to my cousin with my own worries and tears, she told me that it made her feel like I “trusted her, valued her advice, and felt close to her.” It is a testament of friendship when a friend comes to you with their problems. Some forget that it is also a testament of friendship when we go to a friend with our problems.
I don’t want to be a complainer and dump my problems on my friends, though. Why not?
Because I don’t want to assume that they have time to listen to me moan and groan. This is your friend you’re talking about, right? When was the last time a friend called you crying and you were thinking “Jeez would this person shut up so I can get back to my movie?” If you wouldn’t do that to a friend in need, what makes you think that when you’re in need a friend would do that to you?
I don’t want to be a “Debbie downer” and just be miserable all the time, though. Remember that to hide the sad moments and only show the good moments isn’t too far from being pretentious: trying to keep friends by misrepresenting the real you. People respect people who stay true to themselves. And why apologize for being your self? If you feel the need to do that, there might be a bigger issue.
If you’re still reluctant to share your miseries with a friend, just keep the following in mind and you can’t go wrong:
- Make no assumptions–Show verbal appreciation for their time and advice.
- Respect their time and advice–If the subject of grief is something that you can do something about, you and your friend might both come up with a plan of action. Don’t be ungrateful for all of your friend’s time and consideration by not following through with that plan and coming back next week crying about the same thing. Doing this a few times will qualify you as a sympathy addict that is using your friend to get a fix (of sympathy).
Like a muscle, you strengthen a relationship when you work it. Don’t be ashamed and let your concerns and worries fester or go to waste–do some healthy venting and give someone you care about the honor of being your comfort and source of advice.