After a particularly grueling few months, a friend and I sat down for a much-needed wine night. We discussed a few fringe topics - the weather, our families, our jobs - and quickly noticed that neither of us was very tuned in. Without skipping a beat, my friend (unknowingly) asked the question that would alter our conversations forever going forward.
She asked, “How do you need me to show up for you today?”
Imagine if everyone greeted you this way. This offering of herself was like receiving a hug, a high five, a box of chocolate-covered pretzels, a new blanket and a favorite romcom all at once. This one, simple, honest question has transformed the way we discuss life events and even small daily interactions. Our lives are complicated, messy, busy and ever-evolving. Most of the time, we need different forms of support for different situations. Something we forget is that others process things differently than we do, so offering up your different “versions” of support is a quiet way of showing solidarity and understanding. It’s like saying, “I’m here for you in whatever capacity you need me. You call the play, I’ll follow.”
There are so many ways to “gift yourself” to others. Offering up your undistracted time and support is a love language. It is a way of showing someone you care while filling up your cup at the same time. A win-win, if you will. Positioning yourself to be a person of genuine support is a way of saying “I love you.” We find ourselves talking with friends and listening to their stories - but are you really there? Are you invested in their well-being, their growth, their hustle? The beauty of friendship is that you don’t have to be everything at once. And, with a simple honest question, you have the ability to be there for them in the way they need most at the moment.
Friendship really boils down to connecting with someone who understands your emotional well-being. Being available to your friends is less about physically being there, and more about making yourself available to what they need most.