Sometimes we feel like we’re unable to be open with our friends because we’re worried about how they will react. Or maybe we already know how our friend will respond.
We might worry that we'll be judged.
Or we know how our friends will respond when we bring it up. Sometimes, we’re conflicted with the decision that we’ve made and that makes it harder to talk about it with our friends. So what does this mean? Maybe, we ourselves need time before we can share with our friends. And that’s okay. As long as you’ve got other friends that you feel safe sharing with, you’re still getting the support that you need.
It can leave us feeling isolated...
...when we can’t reach out to our friends, especially when we need that support.
How do we take care of ourselves when we’re unable to share with friends?
Maybe it's about going through your rolodex of friends and asking yourself what you need from them. It could be their company, without any words exchanged. Or maybe it's time and space for you to talk without them dishing out the advice.
And it's okay.
You can even set a time-frame for your friends to check in with you. Or let them know that you won't be able to answer the phone for the night. You are allowed to ask for space. If your friend loves you, she/he/they will understand and respect what you are communicating.
If they don't get it, you know that it's their own stuff that's coming up for them. Their response lets you know that they're uncomfortable with you setting your own boundaries and what you need. But by being able to get through that discomfort with that friend and by talking it out with him/her/them, your friendship will get even stronger.
So how do you ask for what you need?
It might look like...
"Hey I don't have the energy to talk right now, could we just sit and watch a movie?"
"I'm feeling really sensitive, and I just need someone to listen. I'm not looking for advice right now."
"I'm really exhausted, could we just go to a show and have fun?"
"I can't talk today. I'll let you know when I'll have the bandwidth."
"Hey can I vent without any feedback?"
"I just need you to listen."
"This is hard for me to share. Would it be okay if you just listened?"
"I'm worried about feeling judged. I really need your non-judgment right now."
"It's been a long week. Can we catch up next week?"