This is a continuation from the previous post.
Oh, the number of times I’ve felt like I was sucked dry. Dry, from trying to be that friend that everyone could confide in; from putting everyone else’s happiness above my own. I felt like if I didn’t make everyone else happy, I was by default a bad person, or just a bad friend. This went on for a really really long time, and I would even lie to my friends and sugar coat things for them, so they wouldn’t get upset. But really, trying to be that friend gets no one anywhere.
People will take you for granted. You will feel under-appreciated. And in the end, you’ll start to feel bitter. While you may think you can hide it, it will eat away at your heart and eventually the venom will seep slowly into your exchanges. Your friends, instead of realizing that what you need is their appreciation or just general concern, will think there’s something wrong with you. And all because you felt like you were responsible for their happiness.
You’re not. You are not their provider of joy. You are not responsible for their happiness. You are also not responsible for their misery or their sadness or their grief. But let me clarify.
This doesn’t mean that you can treat people any way you want, well, I mean…you could. Though I doubt anyone would want to be your friend if they’re treated poorly. Be the friend you want people to be for you, yet don’t expect it of them. When you offer someone something, don’t be surprised if they don’t return the favor.
So yes. Ask your friends what’s bothering them when they seem down. Let them know that you are there for them, and that you have their backs. Spend time with them, let them know their friendship is valued. Love them, and tell them lovingly when they’ve made a mistake.
And that’s where the line needs to be drawn. Being someone’s friend is not and should not be the full-time job of keeping someone happy 24/7. You can’t do that. Everyone will have, and is even entitled to really bad days. There is only so much you can do for someone. The point of being friends with someone isn’t to be their magical problem solver, because most of the time, you won’t have the answer either.
All this is just what I think, but really, I feel that being someone’s friend is about just being there to hold their hand when they’re lost or going through a tough time, while letting them go through the experience, because I mean – experiences like that really do build a person’s character as long as they handle it well – and in the event that they don’t handle it well, simply being there to let them know that someone loves them is really all you can do.