Being a woman in recovery has granted me the opportunity to make up for all the times I was not only a shitty version of myself, but also a shitty friend. It’s not that I meant to be a bad friend, I just didn’t really know any better. I also wasn’t asking myself “what does it mean to be a good friend” as much as I was wondering what kind of liquor I’ll be drinking. I really never asked myself whether I was being a good friend. I was hoping more that my friends wouldn’t catch me in the lies I was telling myself and them, on the rare occasion that I was aware that I was even lying. I know I am not alone in this.
If you are sober now and relearning your entire life like I had to, you get to ask yourself questions and live your life with intention. What does it mean to be a good friend? What do good friends do?
You don’t need to know all the answers and you don’t always need to have the perfect response up your sleeve. Sometimes, we don’t know how to be there for someone and that’s okay. One of the ways I show up for people is by asking them “how can I support you”?
Do not offer unsolicited advice without permission. You know that feeling when you share something vulnerable with someone and they just give you a laundry list of advice or try to fix your problems for you? It can be really invalidating. What if we asked them “do you want a listening ear or do you want my honest feedback”?
Show the fuck up as your true self. Your friends want to know you, not the person you are pretending to be.
“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect — and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude and joy into our lives than by mindfully practicing authenticity.”— Brene Brown
Set your boundaries. Ask yourself what is acceptable and what is not. You are not doing anybody a favor by not having boundaries. Brene Brown states that we set boundaries not to ruin a relationship, but to maintain it. I set my boundaries because I honor and respect you, myself, and this relationship. Not setting boundaries leads to resentments and you know what they say about resentments.
You don’t need to be perfect to be here. I repeat, you do not need to be perfect to be here or worthy of love and connection.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage”- Brene Brown
When we are vulnerable, we allow ourselves to truly connect with one another. We allow ourselves to walk along this journey called life together, which can make the fun times more fun and the sucky times suck a bit less. By practicing vulnerability and speaking our truth, we give others permission to do the same.
Let your freak flag fly with trusted friends. Let’s learn from each other’s mistakes. Let’s stop living in our secrets that keep us sick.
Admit it when you fuck up. Take responsibility for yourself and make amends. It’s okay. We are imperfect. People will fail you, too, just as you will fail them. That does not make them or you a bad friend, it makes you human. Allow the practice of vulnerability and compassion to set you free from resentments.
A good friend tells you the truth, not just what you want to hear. A good friend loves you enough to risk hurting your feelings for a minute by calling you out on your BS to help you grow into the best and healthiest version of yourself. A good friend does not co-sign your bullshit.
“We can say what we need to say. We can gently, but assertively, speak our mind. We do not need to be judgmental, tactless, blaming or cruel when we speak our truths.” ― Melody Beattie
Let us know in the comment section below, how do you show up as a good friend?