Updated: Feb 8
“I am always that go-to friend.” Many of us can relate. You are that personyour friends can count on whenever, wherever. Whether it is about relationships, careers, finances or just plain ole life, you always offer the best company and advice. And there’s no need to deny; you love it.
The funny thing is, the same motivational speech you just gave is practically the same damn thing you need to be hearing and absorbing for yourself. This is frequently my issue. So why is it so hard to listen to the advice we so freely give? Over the years, I continue to be that dependable, lip-sealed friend for many people in my circle. However, I also cultivated my own go-to people for my much needed moments. You can too. Here is how:
1. Recognize you need support too People choose to go to you because you are trustworthy, wise, kind and compassionate. Because of these very traits, you also get hurt easily. You may also feel like you have to be strong alone and don’t want to burden anyone else with your pains and sorrows because you know about all of theirs.
Sometimes people feel better about themselves and what they’re going through when the person they trust let’s them know that they are not alone. Next time a friend calls you in a panic, let them release their stress and share something stressful in your life too. Of course you don’t want to take over and make it about you, but opening up might just allow your friends to feel even more comfortable with you when they are reaching out for help.
2. Find an accountability buddy Just like you’re that go-to person for others, find one for yourself. Make sure you choose him/her/them wisely. You can have one for different aspects of your life, or just one person overall. This person needs to be someone you trust, someone you know will not spill your beans around town, someone who may not be a part of your daily life but can easily integrate in and out. Having an accountability buddy means that when in doubt, you always have a lifeline. Let this person know what he/she means to you and that their friendship means more than just going out and having fun. It is way beyond that.
3. Be intentional in sharing your stresses Now that you have a buddy, make sure you are consistently expressing what is on your mind as well. You may prefer to write over talking on the phone, or texting or emailing. Whatever floats your boat is the way to go. Once a week, once a month, twice a quarter, more or less, set reminders on your phone or calendar to make sure you’re frequently giving yourself opportunities to unload your own pains and aches since you tend to be the one to carry that of others. When you’re intentional about balancing yourself and moving back to the center, you become a better go-to person for your friends too.
4. Write down the advice you give others You have a special talent: you give the best advice and action steps when in the moment of crisis. Your friend’s stress escalated to the point they lost control and needed you to guide them on what to do next. You come up with brilliant ideas and as soon as the storm settled, you can’t seem to remember what you said to your friend. He or she is no longer crying, they seem to have found all their marbles again, and you’re just glad you have walked your friend off the ledge.
Jotting down your advice somewhere serves many purposes. First, you can be reminded of what you shared with your friend and hold him or her accountable. Secondly, you can remind yourself when you or someone else need that same advice someday.
Life is a funny thing. We all may come from different backgrounds or experiences but the same life problems often apply a broad spectrum of people. It’s just a matter of when and how you deal with it that determines the outcome.
5. Keep sharing your perspective Don’t stop being that go-to person. We all know we enjoy it anyway. Sometimes it may feel scary because it could seem like someone else’s life is in your hands, but know you are capable of being the compassionate, good listener your friend needs, at that moment and always.
When you start taking your own advice, you allow yourself to open up and are no longer just a listener but a confidant. You begin to cultivate an open and safe community for you and those around you to find comfort and companionship when most needed. Warm fuzzies all around!