The strong friend is the go to person when you need advice, prayer, a pick me up, and just being around their energy gives us a sense of comfort. We can subconsciously place our friends or loved ones into subcategories to best fit our needs based on our admiration. We view those friends as the pillar of strength which can be taken for granted in us not recognizing their needs as well. The strong friend seems to have away with words, and they totally appear outwardly to balance it all in having it all together.
Our bubbly friend seems to always remain upbeat no matter what it looks like she’s going through in personal struggles, so it’s apparent that she too can handle the emotional spills from our life providing us a good hearty laugh making us forget our troubles. Our most spiritually sound friend just seems to have it all together, she’s full of wisdom, she’s our prayer warrior, and she’s on speed dial for times of distress. May we never forget about our sassy, no holds bar, outgoing, and assertive friend who’s like having our own “Xena the Warrior Princess” who’s tough as nails never appearing to show weakness. Do we ever consider that there maybe a few things that our “strong friend” in the group may have on their heart as well?
You’re very fortunate to have a strong friend to depend on in your life, and it’s an honor to be considered a true friend of reverence in someone’s life. However, it’s equally important to view our friends °360 in being human. If you are considered the “strong friend” don’t conceal your vulnerabilities, communicate your needs, be open to critiques of love, and not fear repercussion in being transparent on how you really feel. There’s no hierarchy rank when it comes to true friendship, but there are friends who we hold at a higher standard. Simply put, you’re either the strong friend or you have one in your life. Guess what, your strong friend has things that they may want to share as well. Be an equally supportive friend, and place no friend on a pedestal.
Here are a few things that I can attest to in feeling the pressure of being considered by some in my life the “strong friend” that I am grateful in taking on the role, but equally I have longed for in understanding in love:
- I don’t place the unrealistic expectations for you to be perfect, so please do the same for me as a friend: I’ve had those who got to know me more personally beyond a social media post in knowing what I balance as a caregiver, wife, mother, and amongst other roles who were taking back when they saw the load up close in person. I literally had someone sarcastically say, “But, you’re Purpose Filled Mommy. Everything seems so happy and perfect.” in seeing a tired mom after work navigating with three active kids following a community event. I shared in love that I’m also human.
- I too have vulnerabilities. There are times where I need to trust you in showing and expressing my vulnerable side. Just like you and everyone else I have vulnerabilities and weaknesses. There will be times that I will have a moment where although it looks like I’m keeping it cool I’m actually a tad overwhelmed. Everyone’s tolerance and reaction to different situations varies, so please don’t think I’m numb because it looks like I can easily handle a lot at one time. I’ve been hurt, betrayed, and even pushed to the side by those who I thought were my friends in letting my guard down. There were some friends who turned their backs on me by letting them see the transparent truth of raising a child struggled with behavioral difficulties, co-parenting, caregiving in balancing both a spouse living with sickle cell and a special needs child, coping through high functioning anxiety, and seeing the close struggles of a budding entrepreneur. It was like they wanted to know my life behind the scenes, but they were turned off when the curtains were lifted. I was hurt by a former friend when our family’s dynamics shifted in her pouncing on the opportunity to throw some pretty petty jabs. If I let you in to see me in every part of my life don’t use that sense of insight against me to exploit it because it’s rare that I allow others in so close. Also, don’t count me out in showing my authenticity in being vulnerable.
- There will be times I don’t have all the answers. I appreciate your trust in me in providing sincere advice, and I will do my best to never stir you wrong. I will admit that I don’t have all the right answers to solve all of your issues. I will however listen to you without judgment, refer you to someone who can give you what you need if I don’t have all the answers, and I will always be your prayer partner.
- I need your encouragement too. I may not need a word of affirmation everyday, but I do need to know that you’re in my corner. I can recall a speaking engagement where I could tell a friend was super nervous. I could sense she needed some assurance throughout the event because the audience was kinda lackluster. It was actually the first time I felt a little shaky following a speaking engagement myself. However, my friend dominated the conversation fishy for compliments, later overly bragging on her achievements in away of discrediting others, and she never once reciprocated the same support back.
- Don’t emotionally dump on me! I am here for you, and I hear you when you are in distress. I may not share with you this, but there are times when what you share with me sticks with me just as heavy. I am naturally a patient friend, but don’t take it for granted by emotionally dumping on me constantly. There were some people in my life who seemed to repeatedly stay in a downward cycle. They didn’t want change, but more or less someone to vent to. I get occasionally getting things off your chest for a relief. I learned however if there was a pattern of just venting only from a person to change the subject, speak up in love in calling a friend out who does that, or limit my interaction.
- Know that I love you, and I will always be there. Strong personalities, independently minded, and those who are more on the alpha side don’t throw around the term friend loosely. If you’re a friend please believe you are truly considered a friend. I care for you wholeheartedly in good times, bad times, and trying times. I am capable of offering sincere prayer, a pick me up, a boost of motivation, and occasionally what may appear as tough love with no strings attached. I’m here for you as a friend without a doubt.
In other words, be authentic in walking your journey no matter what role you play in a friend’s life, and be a true friend in welcoming acceptance of your friends °360 in equal respect.