So there’s this friend. For sake of her privacy, let’s call her Joan. During our amazing, unforgettable time of undergrad, Joan and I connected on such a high level that we are still friends to this day. Then, there’s Toni. Toni was the third to our musketeer circle but over time things changed and we grew apart (if that’s a thing). You know, I’ll never forget the day when Toni betrayed Joan. In the heat of the moment, trying to make sense of the betrayal, Joan felt inclined to reach out to her friend and understand her why. In doing so, Toni immediately jumped to the defense and asked, “are you calling to check me?”
As an “innocent bystander”, I was filled with anger. According to the urban dictionary (because yes, that is a qualified source these days), to check means to put someone in their place. When people are trying to understand and get clarity from a friend, why does it have to be a check? One thing for sure, I don’t “check” friends.But the truth is… so many do. So I’m just dropping some truths to help you be a better friend moving forward if that is you (or if you have a friend that might need this word today).
Stop trying to check and start checking in.
With every dilemma, there is a mannerable way to go about handling it. Sometimes emotions can get the best of us but making a friend feel less than just that, a friend, is not the move. Instead of calling to bicker, how about chatting over dinner to understand one another’s perspective? Become acquainted with the backstory to have a better understanding of your friends’ motives.
On the other hand, though, Stop feeling checked because that’s not what we’re here for.
Why are you so defensive? Why do you want to be surrounded by people who are afraid to let you know that you could have gone about something a better way? With growth comes discomfort. Know that your friend simply wants the best for you. And as much as you don’t want to admit it, you need some “straight no chaser” people in your life. When it’s coming from a place of love, it’s for the best.
It’s not always about you.
If you (for once) just listened to a story without inputting your personal vignettes in the mix, maybe you can hear your friend’s cry for help. Stop starting your advice with, “well when I was…” and be in the moment for your friend. Personal experience is helpful but there are a time and a place.
Know your friend. Know the approach.
The way you go into giving advice or letting one friend know they were wrong, is not the same way you can go into a conversation with another friend. We are humans with different triggers, various upbringings, and naturally unique personalities. A real friend is aware of how to handle conflict with each friend, and if they aren’t, they are on a mission to figure it out. Friendship conflict resolution is no one-size-fits-all trick.
Today’s KeyWord: candor (n): the quality of being open and honest in expression
As creatures of habit, we set the foundation that our friendships are built on and stick to that. If your friendship was built on lies, a lie it will forever be. But if you took the time to build on honesty, I’m sure your candor will be valued. Find you an accountable circle that loves on your flaws, listens to your problems, but lets you know when you are wrong- in the right way. To this day, the word check coming from a friend still rubs me the wrong way. Joan wasn’t calling to check Toni, but rather to hold Toni accountable.
Keep it real but recognize the approach because a friend deserves to never feel checked by a friend again.
True friendship is,