A friend of mine is having a bad day. I asked her how she was doing (not knowing she was having a bad day) and her response was that I probably wouldn’t want to talk to her today because she had nothing happy or positive to say.
Another friend is dealing with some real struggles, one sick family member after another and it seems the bad news keeps coming. And by sick I mean cancer and other terrible very serious things. She’s been very distant and I only hear from her if I reach out, the conversations then seem very short and a bit like twenty questions.
It occurred to me that by being so outspoken about my preferred positive view I may be inadvertently being a bad friend, or making myself unapproachable.
I get it, I’m not crazy, and I know there are lots of real and very bad things in the world. People are dealing with different struggles and hardships all the time. I’m no different. Life isn’t all sunshine and butterflies, I just prefer to focus on the good things in my life and not let the hardships and struggles define who I am and how I see the world. But I do see where maybe I’m making myself not someone my friends who are struggling want to talk to. I’ve always had a ‘pick yourself up, and dust yourself off’ kind of attitude that I suppose can come off as unsympathetic or cold. I think some of that comes from not wanting to see people struggle and not wanting to see people wallow. I’m a little bit of a fixer in that way. I like to have solutions and suggest resolutions (as appropriate), ways for people to get from where they are dwelling to where they might be happy.
But maybe all of this makes me unapproachable to those who are going through a hard time? I’m not sure I will ever know if this is how people feel or not – it’s not like there is a way to ask that without making someone’s struggle about me which of course would be selfish and pretty crappy.
The only solution I can think of is to keep offering support and a listening ear. I’m here if they need me.