During a recent Ustream conversation with a couple of cool girls, we discussed how difficult it is to watch your friends do things that are clearly bad for them because no matter how much advice you offer, it is seldom followed.
It’s fair to say that we’ve all been through this, especially with our closest friends in tow. You see them going down a path that has you shaking your head the whole time, and no matter how many times you tell them what to do, your advice falls on deaf ears.
I’ve done some unsavory things in my life and I can only imagine how my best friend has felt about them. There have only been a few times when she’s openly shared exactly how she felt about my actions. In fact, I find it important to note that for many things, she has not passed harsh judgment on me. I feel we have an understanding that we’re both grown up enough to know the possible consequences of our actions. We know that we don’t need each other’s approval for anything we do, but what we will always need from each other is Unconditional Support.
Unconditional Support is what you give your friends because no one else has the capacity or understanding to offer it. You give this because you understand that people are going to do things that don’t fall under categories of things you find acceptable.
We’re all going to do some silly things in life and we’re going to need someone on our side. We are going to make mistakes and we learn from them the best when we aren’t being scolded or made to feel ashamed.
When a friend walks through your errors with you, you can review your actions through a new lens. As humans, we have the misfortune of only ever knowing anything about life via our limited experience. This makes it difficult for us to see things the way others do and that is why we don’t often understand why some friends give the advice that they do. We take things the wrong way, we feel offended, and we fail to see, sometimes, that they want the best for us.
We are going to be stressed out about a lot of things. We’re going to disapprove of certain pregnancies, certain boyfriends, certain career moves, or any moves at all that make us feel uncomfortable, uncertain, and afraid.
If we only ever choose to be supportive, it could really change the dynamic in our friendships. However, being supportive doesn’t mean that you automatically approve of what happens. You can make that clear to your friend: I support you, but I don’t approve of this, personally. But I’m your friend and I only ever want to know that you’re okay and safe and happy.
Not easy at all. But no lasting friendships are ever truly easy. You will know you’ve got a great friend when they can openly tell you that something doesn’t seem right and still never lose having them by your side.
Featured Image by SinfulEyes