A letter from your ‘strong’ friend:
You forgot to check on me.
Did you feel that in your gut? Stop. This is not about guilt. I know that feeling all too well. Guilt over friendships, over missing appointments, over raising your voice or eating that donut. This isn’t about guilt and I want to be clear about that.
This is about awareness.
We flew our ‘check on your strong friend’ flags high and preached to the world about depression and anxiety when fashion icon Kate Spade tragically took her own life. Months later, are we still checking?
You’ve asked me where I’ve been.
You said I seem off.
You’ve told me through messages and texts that you miss my videos and my posts.
You know what I heard? ‘Why aren’t you playing the role I need you to play? You aren’t keeping up. You are failing.’
I have over 1,400 friends on Facebook and over 1,000 followers and I can count on one hand who has actually ‘checked’ on this ‘strong’ friend.
I meet you for drinks when you’re facing a disaster. I bring you dinner or flowers. I send you texts. I’m your sounding board. I’m there to help you plan an event or troubleshoot an issue. I’m here to spread the word about your newest venture or achievements.
I haven’t been there recently. Have you noticed? Are you upset I’m not meeting your needs? Have you thought to ask why?
Maybe you’ve told yourself over and over that you haven’t heard from me, you should probably text me or check on me later…but you haven’t. I know. I do the same things. Again, this isn’t a guilt thing.
For months now I’ve been battling depression, anxiety, and some enormous personal hurdles. GASP.
Did you expect me to put it all out there instead of withdrawing because I’m ‘strong?’
I’m not ready.
Did you expect me to continue to invest as much as I could in you, in my social media presence, in our friendship, despite my state of mind because I’m ‘strong?’
I don’t have it in me.
Did you wave away thoughts of checking on me because it would be too hard for you personally to listen, to truly listen, to me and my struggles because you just need me to be the ‘strong’ friend?
I can’t play that role in your life right now.
Perhaps you’re thinking: ‘How are we supposed to know if you don’t tell us?’ or ‘I’m going to give her space, she knows I’m here if she needs me.’ That’s what I’ve done. I’ve done it to all my ‘strong’ friends.
It just doesn’t work like that, at least not for me.
So, what? Now what? What is my point? This week, check on a strong friend. I don’t care if her Instagram feed says she just won the lottery and she lives in heaven. Truly check on her. Meet her for coffee if you can. Let her know you are there for her. Let her know you are a safe space.
Check on your ‘strong’ friend, she’s faking it.
Love you, friends.
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