Sometime life just plain sucks.
Cancer. Death. Job loss. Injury. A family member’s incarceration. Unexpected fatherhood. The list is never ending of events that may leave someone battling emotional or physical demons. What can we do for a friend in those shoes?
I have friends currently battling many of those demons. It can be awkward knowing how to act. Do I stay away and giver the person room to grieve? Am I staying away because, quite frankly, I don’t know what to say or how to act? Does my codependent personality kick in an I become nuisance wanting to help? Am I hyper-focused on what is troubling my friend? Yes. Yes. No, Probably. Sometimes. I don’t really know sometimes.
Perhaps the universe is recognizing my confusion and faux pas, because over the past week I have heard several folks talking about they haven’t shared their angsty events just to be spared from the reactions of others, to be able to be treated as a normal person. Not that they don’t want to be held or have a shoulder when needed, but they don’t want to be avoided or treated like the event is all they are.
Perhaps the best gift you can give someone suffering is a little bit of normalcy. Not to say you can’t acknowledge what is going on, but don’t hyper-focus on it unless they really want you to and ask for that directly.
Sometimes a little shift – instead of “How are you?” asking “What’s up?” Replacing “I’m worried about you” with “How about them playoffs? Let’s get together and watch. What can I bring?” Offering a slice of life outside the seemingly never-ending fog of their woes.
So my friends, if I get off path with you, please tonk me across my noggin’ and let’s get back to sharing a giggle.