Friendships – Help and Support

One issue that still sticks out from the last friendship I ended is the kind of help you can expect in a good friendship.

For me, helping a friend when s/he is in trouble is something that I do automatically. I do not wait for an invitation, nor would I expect one. I think this is one of the defining characteristics of a good friendship — if something is wrong you keep in close contact and make sure that the friend gets better — and intervene if necessary.

To put it differently, when you see someone drowning and going under, you have to show initiative and enter the water to help the person out. Telling the person “call me if I can help you” and then walk away — that reaction would not be tolerated if it came from a bystander, much less from a friend.

BTW, it has nothing to do with mind-reading, but with interest, being able to listen, empathy and perspective taking. After all, if the person is your friend you know enough of the person to gauge how this person thinks and feels — and what you can do to help this person. In this regard I strongly agree with the following quotation:

When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.
Edgar Watson Howe

And if your friends are not willing to do this for you — and they don’t react well to feedback regarding this behavior — then they have failed the parachute test of friendship. And then it’s time for better friends. Friends who watch your back when you need them.

Because one day you will need them.


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