Find Out Who Your Friends Are



I would look you dead in the eye and tell you I’m really good at asking for help... and in some ways, this is true. From accepting meals from friends to assistance with work tasks to help from my husband, I am all about the idea that many hands make for light work. I also love to delegate, especially when it comes to my professional life, but also at home too. There are many, many things that other people in my life are much better at than I am.


But I recently realized I’m not good at asking for a certain kind of help.


In fact, I seriously struggle with asking others for emotional help and support, especially when it will be an imposition on someone else.


The week was quite difficult for me and starting on Wednesday, I began to reach out to friends to meet up. I needed to talk to one of them in person. I just longed for some connection, because I know every time I go for a walk or have a drink with a friend, I feel 10,000 pounds lighter afterward.


I tried six friends from Wednesday morning until Friday evening. Finally on Saturday morning, I went for a walk and then an outdoor brunch with my friend Katherine. I knew if I could just spend time with a dear and wise friend, I’d feel better.


You might wonder how it is that six women didn’t have the time to spend with me during my moment of need. Of course, they would’ve made time for me if I had asked… but I didn’t. Rather than let them in on my emotional state, I kept things super-casual and upbeat, even throwing in some fun emojis.


Three of these friends were out of town and the other three already had plans during the times I had spots in my crazy schedule to meet up. What I needed to do, but didn’t want to do, was text, “Hey, could you make some time for me? I’m in a really hard place right now” or “I know you’re driving for a few hours… could you get on a phone call with me?”


You can’t tell when someone is crying while texting.


And we also all know that crying while texting is often very lonely.


Especially when your friend is having a great day while you’re having a terrible one and you have to stifle your emotions and tell them to “have fun” or say, “That sounds great, hope it goes well, I’ll catch ya later.”


When your fingers are typing a text, your friends can’t hear the crack in your voice. Our written words are beautiful gifts, but they can hide so much pain. Hearing a voice gives you a better window into someone’s emotional state. Even better is actually seeing someone in the flesh — then you can see the tear running down her face or the stress in her shoulders or the evidence of red puffy eyes from hours of crying (girl, we know it isn’t allergies… we weren’t born yesterday!).


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken much of that in-person interaction away from us. As a result, loving people well when they are in the dark places of their lives is so much harder.


When Katherine and I were walking this past weekend, I told her all the things. She and I didn’t solve anything important. She shared with me about her life too, which happens to have its own roses and thorns, and we just enjoyed catching up.


There is no pill you can take or vice you can indulge in that will give you as much comfort as time with a good friend.


I feel confident many of you similarly struggle with reaching out when you’re in emotional pain. Somehow it’s way easier to ask for help with a broken leg than a broken heart. We respond to wounds we can see. Emotional pain can be invisible, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.


I am convinced after my almost 180-degree turnaround that the only way we will survive our uncertain future is to survive it together. To be transparent about when we are in an “SOS” phase of life. To allow ourselves the freedom to impose on another person, knowing if we were on the other end, we’d be honored to bring a light to help our friend struggling with the darkness.


We are all in the same ocean and it is rocky and unpredictable... but we all are in different boats. Sometimes your boat feels as though it’s sinking. Sometimes your boat feels pretty secure, strong, and able to withstand the wind. The good news is on this ocean, we can call out for help, knowing we’ll all need it on this voyage to whatever our new, post-COVID world looks like.


There is a country song (#nosurprise) about this topic by Tracy Lawrence. It captures the essence of friendship so well.


“Run your car off the side of the road

Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere

Get yourself in a bind, lose the shirt off your back

Need a floor, need a couch, need a bus fare

This is where the rubber meets the road

This is where the cream is gonna rise

This is what you really didn't know

This is where the truth don't lie

You find out who your friends are

Somebody's gonna drop everything

Run out and crank up their car

Hit the gas, get there fast

Never stop to think ‘what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far'

They just show on up with their big old heart

You find out who you're friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back

Wants to shake your hand

When you're up on top of that mountain

But let one of those rocks give way then you slide back down

Look up and see who's around then

This ain't where the road comes to an end

This ain't where the bandwagon stops

This is just one of those times when

A lot of folks jump off

You find out who your friends are

Somebody's gonna drop everything

Run out and crank up their car

Hit the gas, get there fast

Never stop to think ‘what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far'

They just show on up with that big old heart

You find out who you're friends are

When the water's high

When the weather's not so fair

When the well runs dry

Who's gonna be there?

You find out who your friends are

Somebody's gonna drop everything

Run out and crank up their car

Hit the gas, get there fast

Never stop to think ‘what's in it for me?' or 'it's way too far'

They just show on up with their big old heart

You find out who you're friends are, you find out who your friends are.”


So to mix metaphors, the past year was basically like being in a hurricane on the high seas on a boat that isn’t fully equipped for such things and a country song all mixed together.


I hope you’ll join me in learning how to send out an SOS signal when you’re in emotional need. In doing so, a very cool thing will happen: You’ll find out who your friends are 💕


And here’s a challenge: If you have a friend you think might be wanting to send out an SOS but is too worried about imposing, how about you reach out to her first? If someone just popped into your mind, then that is a sign telling you to reach out!


I hope that if you find yourself in a dark place, you’ll make sure you’re reaching out with an SOS call. And when you’re not in a dark place, I hope you are the friend coming over with a lantern to bring someone else some light.


Eventually, we’ll each end up doing both… making the call and answering the call, and that is what makes life so beautiful.