“Check on your strong friend” is a phrase that’s commonly placed on social media by people with very good intentions. What’s usually missing is a plan to check on them in a manner that is impactful. The phrase brings awareness to the individual that is often overlooked because they appear to have it together.
Guess what? It’s a facade, your strong friend is not going to burden you with the weight of their problems. I know, I hear you, you don’t see their problems as a burden. Although it’s commendable, it won’t be effective enough to make your strong friend share the weight of their problems.
Let’s talk more in-depth about your strong friend and how to identify them. Your strong friend is usually the person everyone can go to, but when they are in a bind, they don’t go to anyone. Your strong friend probably talks about their problems as if they aren’t a big deal, by making light of it in a joking manner. Your strong friend seems to have insurmountable strength, but vulnerability is not their strong suit.
How to Effectively Check on Your Strong Friends
Ask them how they are doing without talking about yourself: Your strong friend probably doesn’t voluntarily share how they are doing or get asked often. Show more concern about knowing how they are doing than knowing their business.
Be intentional in your efforts: Your strong friend will not say they need help, you will have to be intentional and offer practical help. Give them scenarios where you can be helpful instead of saying “let me know if you need anything”.
Be encouraging even when it doesn’t seem like they need encouragement: Don’t reserve encouraging words for people that are down. Your strong friend will not tell you when they are feeling sad or worried. Sprinkle kind words like confetti!
Don’t compare your problems to theirs: Your strong friend doesn’t view their problems as pressing as they really are. Your strong friend doesn’t share their issues because they don’t want to feel like they are complaining. When you begin comparing your issues to theirs, they will shut down.
Ask the right questions and listen with intent: Your strong friend wants an ear more than answers, so listen and ask thought-provoking questions. Listen to understand them, their emotions, and the impact their issue has on them.
Your Strong Friend is a Rarity
Your strong friend, unlike other friends, doesn’t need a lot. Your strong friend needs a genuine listening ear and intentional support. I know a lot about the strong friend because I am a strong friend. I have been blessed to make meaningful connections with some women who ask me how I’m doing and stay around long enough to hear the answer.
If you are the strong friend, realize that vulnerability isn’t synonymous with weakness. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with the right people that make you feel safe and heard. You can’t continue to be the go-to person for people you can’t go to, that is a recipe for depletion. You will be pouring from an empty cup if you don’t have balance, boundaries, and self-care. Strong friends are a rarity, so if you have one, don’t forget to effectively check on them.
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