Humans are incapable of unconditional love and support. We aren’t Jesus or Golden Retrievers. But friendships often get tested, which can determine if they fulfill even the basic tenets of a steadfast alliance.
Nothing separates friendship wheat and chaff like personal crisis.
The issue has less to do with the strength of the bond, and more with our individual strength of character. Therefore, you’ll see fringe acquaintances rise above all expectations during hard times, while lifetime “besties” often fall flat in providing emotional support … or helping you move.
I avoid risky physical endeavors so I’m not rendered paralyzed or suffer a traumatic brain injury, because few of my friends are inherently kind enough to drop-off Miller Lite and Advil or remove my Christmas tree without wondering what’s in it for them. I’ve replaced these friends with ones I can rely on, like Instacart and Uber Eats.
“I’m Sorry I annoyed you with my unwavering friendship.”
When my mom’s cancer recently spread to her brain, requiring an ominous surgery, I didn’t see her for months while she was hospitalized due to Covid protocols. “Close” friends knew full-well of my struggle. But after two weeks, the check-ins ceased. As if sending a text was too cumbersome. I realized that my friendships existed only because of sarcasm and alcohol. Truth is that many people don’t have enough nice-juice to sustain lengthy compassion or empathy.
Some people are simply too distracted or facing their own trials to tap into much more. They need your crisis to abate before you quickly drain them of their courtesy reserves. Guys are the worst with this; unless they’re a pastor or bartender.
In 2020, support of any kind became a luxury, with an entire populace spread thin contending with the flurry of bummer-hail reigning down. But care still abounds – you just need to know where to find it. Here are a few “ins:”
1. IN an Animal Shelter. Consider adopting/rescuing a pet. The positive emotional and mental impact a pet (or, four) can have is both quantifiable and immeasurable.
2. IN a Side-Hustle. Jump hastily into a passion project or side hustle. You aren’t defined by your job, unemployment, or mental state(s). You are the sum of your passions and related contributions. The World needs your gifts.
3. IN the Now. Stay rooted in the moment (aka, mindfulness), from one single instant to the next. Do not look to the past, and certainly don’t project into the future. There’s nothing in either place for you.
4. IN Beads of Sweat. Before you can vibe and attract the right people, you’ve got to be your best self in body, mind, and spirit. Exercise will get you 33.33% closer to the goal. Whether it’s regular walks or hikes, weightlifting, CrossFit, or taking your new rescue pup to the dog park, get your glisten on.
5. IN Volunteerism. Philanthropy is the quickest and most direct path out of your own head. It’s also bastes your psyche in much needed catharsis and perspective whenever things feel the direst. Start here: https://www.volunteermatch.org/
6. IN Introspection. There is considerable value in self-examination, to include analyzing your own motivations and actions. This includes examining why you attract and roll with your current tribe. Once you better understand yourself – whether by brief epiphany or wholly “knowing thyself” – you’ll allow only the highest caliber of people into your circle.
Be your own best friend first, and you’ll meet some equally awesome ones along the way.
In the meantime, you’ve got me and my rescues, Thelma & Louise.