Have you ever gone through something in a relationship that you kept to yourself for fear of backlash from friends? We call our girlfriends with quickness to discuss new gossip or to plan an outing, but will stay isolated when dealing with difficult relationship issues. Why shouldn’t we want to tell your bestie everything that’s going on in our life? Friends are supposed to be there for you through thick and thin…right?
Unfortunately, our friends don’t always convey supportive intentions. Although our girls might want nothing more than to protect and encourage us, we end up feeling belittled, degraded, and straight up judged instead. Actually, there are some friends that put you through more cross examination than any judge! In fact, you might have been guilty of this as well.
There is no denying that the majority of our friends, go into attack mode when they learn that someone has hurt us because they love us and just want to see us happy. But it might be more important to be objective; allowing our friend to hear all potential approaches and outcomes in order to take the necessary journey toward her own decisions for learning purposes. A friend’s perspective is beneficial, as it is not clouded by emotions; but even when we feel very strongly about our opinion, we must allow our friend to come to her own conclusions. It is important that friend’s keep it real without being real critical, because we wouldn’t want to deter our friend from seeking our comfort and support. If you follow these tips below, you can be the supportive friend without judgement.
Tips on how to be the Supporting Friend:
Give Advice You Know– A lot of judgment normally comes from people giving advice about matters that they themselves have never experienced. How can you advise someone on something you never been through? If you can relate to the issue at hand, share your experiences. If you can’t relate, then just help your friend assess the different points of view, positives/negatives, and potential outcomes. A friend’s responsibility is to guide each other –not to tell one another what we should and shouldn’t do.
Just LISTEN!!– Like the old saying goes “We have two ears and one mouth. So that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. Believe it or not, sometimes friends just want to VENT! Every conversation isn’t meant to be a trial, full of judgment, advice, and reaction. Listening to your friend shows that you are there for them, not for the gossip, not to judge…just to be there for them.
Be HONEST, but RESPECTFUL– A good supportive friend isn’t necessarily one who tells you everything you want to hear. There will clearly be times when friends have a difference of opinion. If as a friend you feel very strongly about something, you must be honest about your thoughts and feelings but respect the decision they make regardless. There’s nothing worse than having a friend who shares their opinion about your life with everyone but YOU.
Like romantic relationships, friendships are built on deep connections, flexibility to grow, and strong communication. There is no perfect friendship, but there is always room to learn and make it a better friendship. Don’t get too hung up on what your friend is doing or not doing. Instead spend more time showing them you support them on their decisions. After all, it is their life and whether that relationship works out or not; a good supportive friend will always be ready and willing to either cheer you on or provide a shoulder to lean on.
By Ness Baker