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BEING THERE FOR A FRIEND IN NEED WITHOUT NEGLECTING YOURSELF

When helping out a friend, don't forget to take care of you, too!

Whether your vina is crashing on your couch after a rough breakup, or is constantly calling and wanting to hang after losing her job, being a good friend means being there for her. But what happens when being a good friend interferes with being good to yourself? Here are some tips to take care of yourself while helping your vina get back on her feet:

STAY TRUE TO YOU

When a person goes through a big life change, they tend to act totally differently for a while. Maybe your friend who was in a controlling relationship suddenly wants to go out all of the time, or your friend who had an uptight job wants to do everything together after losing said job. The key to navigating this situation is not changing your lifestyle just because your vina is changing hers. “Being there” for someone is more important on an emotional level than a literal, physical level. You can continue to “do your thang” while your vina is redefining herself, but if you find that she is being really pushy to have you tag along, remind her of how things were before the big change happened in her life. If you never went out with her on Thursday nights, she shouldn’t be guilting you into going now. Don’t do things you don’t want to just because you think your friend will feel better- think of ways you can spend time together within your comfort zone.

KEEP IT REAL

When a friend has been hurt, it can be easy to want to make her feel better in any way. While you want her to snap out of her funk, you shouldn’t just tell her what she wants to hear. Sometimes she just needs to hear the harsh truth. What are friends for, right? So when your friend is sulking for days about how much she misses her shitty ex, remind her that it wasn’t a good relationship and she shouldn’t be so eager to crawl back. Tough love might be hard to give, but it is the first step to healing. Don’t mistake this advice as instructions on how to tell your friend what to do. At the end of the day, all decisions are hers to make, but those decisions need to be informed by the truth of a situation, rather than just some BS that will make her temporarily feel better.

SEE CONFLICT AS CONSTRUCTIVE

If in the midst of “being there” for your friend you start to crash heads, keep it cool. It can be easy to simply cut someone off when it feels like they aren’t appreciating everything you’re doing for them or they aren’t listening to you. In times when it feels easier to just let her deal with it on her own, remember what your vina is going through. This does not mean accommodating her every desire or avoiding making her sad or angry, but rather drawing her attention to where you feel she isn’t treating you fairly. Talking things over calmly is much more effective than a yelling match, because your vina will be forced to hear you out and see the error of her ways (who knows, maybe you’ll see the error of yours too). When things get heated, people get defensive, and once walls are up, it’s very hard to bring them down to see the heart of the conflict for what it truly is. Keep the paths of conversation open, and soon you will not only have helped your vina get back on her feet, but you might even improve your friendship.

Have you ever helped your vina through a tough time? Let us know what worked (or what didn’t) in the comments! 

(Feature image via Jenavieve Belair)

 

I am a college student studying in San Francisco, CA. Being a transplant from New Jersey in a city as unique as SF has proven to be very fun and interesting. I continue to grow every day through my writing, experiences, and friendships. It is my pleasure to share some of what I have learned with you :)

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