Confessions of a "Strong" friend
About five months ago, I wrote a blog titled “Don’t let her fool you!”. You might remember it. It was all about recognizing and appreciating the "strong" friend in your life.
We acknowledged that being the “strong” one is a blessing, and a burden. While we take great pride in being a source of wisdom or comedic relief... we are sometimes left drained and feeling misunderstood when our nurturing goes overlooked or even abused.
That was one of my most cherished writings... because not too long ago, I was that friend. The one who gave everything, but no one checked on or poured into. Thankfully, since then, God has blessed me with an amazing system of friends who go over and beyond to love and support me. (Shoutout to my boo thangs!!)
Well, for the last couple weeks I’ve felt the need to revisit the topic of “strong friends”. I can’t exactly figure out why, but it may be because of all the “check-on-your-strong-friend” statuses that flooded my timeline after the unexpected deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
However, this time around I'm not necessarily speaking to the "strong" ones... I'm talking to the ones who have strong people in their lives, yet having a hard time figuring out how to return the favor.
I'll be the first to admit that "strong" people are also some of the most complex. So, I asked a few of my strongest friends this question:
"What do you wish your friends understood about "strong" people?"
Here were their answers:
1. We are masters of self-neglect.
Honey, if this ain't the TRUTH! Often times, "strong" friends do not enjoy taking care of themselves. In fact, she is likely much happier, and much more willing to take care of YOU.
With that said, if you want to show your sincere appreciation, give her a gift she won't give herself. Maybe that's a girls night out, or a few hours away from the kids... whatever it is, do it without request, because the truth is: even if you offer, she likely won't accept.
2. ”No” isn’t in our vocabulary
We say "yes" to just about EVERYTHING, even if it is doggone near impossible to achieve. If you see us drowning in the demand of our own charity, do us a favor: SAVE US. Tell us we're doing too much! Sit us down somewhere! We won't like it, but we surely will need it.
3. We are bold-faced liars
I want you to ask five strong people "How are you today?" and see how many give you an honest answer. I'm willing to bet that every one of them will give you a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed "I'm great! You?!" --- even if they aren't.
Us “strong” folk have issues being openly vulnerable. So, if you sense that something is wrong... trust your intuition, not our mouths.
4. We are sensitive as HELL!! (Close your eyes, Mom!)
Listen.... who ever said "strength" equals "cold-hearted", was one of those bold-faced liars we just got done talking about!
Yes -- strong people are resilient, but they are also deeply affectionate and perceptive individuals. When our friends hurt, we hurt. When our loved ones cry, we cry. We need hugs and unexpected I-love-you's just like the next person.
The moral of the story here is: we could all open up and be a bit more compassionate when it comes to caring for our circle of friends. Whether you’re the “strong” friend.... the silly friend... the always late friend... the Turn Up friend or the never-answers-the-phone friend, we all need a little TLC — even the ones who pretend like they don’t.
Until next time,