Recently my life has taken a bit of an unexpected turn.
I won’t go into the gory details right now — let’s save that particular gore for another time, shall we? — but suffice to say, the shit hit the fan. I mean ALL the shit hit ALL of the fans.
My family have been amazing and I’m so thankful I have them. It’s my friendships that I have found to be of interest, though. You can’t pick your family, but you choose your friends, right? And I feel that, at the age of 31, I’ve wrangled myself a good bunch.
However, in my recent crisis, I’ve seen them take on different roles and I couldn’t resist forming a little list:
The 'call me anytime' friend
Oh, how you love this gal — or in my case, gals. They’re the ones who listen to you talk in circles, or even if you just want to sit in silence. They let you cry until you have no tears left and maybe shed a tear with you. There is no guilt or worry that you’re bothering them, because they make it clear you’re not.
Bless their cotton socks for taking on your emotional baggage and carrying it for you for a while.
Listen: Breaking up with a friend is hard to do, as The Well explores. (Post continues after audio.)
The mama bear
You know these friends: “Are you getting enough sleep?” “Did you eat breakfast this morning?” “I’m just going to nip to the shops and get you some vitamins.” “Have you showered today?” “I’m just popping this lasagne in your fridge.”
I'm so grateful for their care and answer them with “Yes”, “No”, “Thanks”, “No” and “Yum”. They don’t show their love like the previous friend — they keep you going physically, in the hope the emotional wellbeing will follow.
This friend hears your problem and wants it fixed. They want it fixed yesterday and they’ll be damned if it continues into tomorrow. They offer advice, make appointments for you and will even be your chauffeur (if your Mama Bear didn’t offer first).
The downside to this problem-solving saviour is that not all problems can be resolved. Sometimes the only option is to do absolutely nothing and this doesn’t fly with this friend.
The boozy buddy
This mate finds out about your crisis and texts: “Let’s get hammered.” No questions, no emotions, just booze. Although I’m sure the emotions would flow after ingesting the booze.
Now, I don’t mind a drink as much as the next person, but I’m not really feeling it right now. The text gave me a smile though, and that is something to celebrate. I know this is their version of reaching out. This is their, “Are you ok?” and it’s important I recognise that.
I will take up the offer down the track and we’ll drink all the drinks, just not today.
The present one
This one is always a surprise. This friend is someone you have in your life, and you didn’t expect it, but they are totally and completely there for you. Perhaps they’re on the periphery of your friendship group, or you don’t see them very often, all you know is that they have heard about the crisis and they’re by your side. You probably knew all along they’d support you if asked, but it still swells your heart to see them at your front door with banana bread.
Listen: Why not all friendships are created equal, on The Well podcast. (Post continues after audio.)
The absent one
This one’s a bit ouch. This is the opposite to the previous friend. This is the person you assumed would be there, but isn’t. They’re MIA and it’s not okay. You expected a phone call or a text, especially since you helped her out of that jam with that dude about that stuff. She probably means to reach out, but can’t for one reason or another.
You’re not mad about it (but really, not even one text?!) it’s just something to file away in your memory under A, for Absent.
So there you have it, the six friends you have in a crisis. Or at least, these are the six that I’ve had. And it has to be said, I’m aware that most friends are a mixture of the above descriptions. But have I missed any? Join in the conversation and tell us about them.