A Radically Simpler Way to Talk to Your Friends

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Last weekend I took a drive out to the beach with my best friend Stephanie. 

 

She just had a beautiful baby girl a few months ago and we spent the car ride talking, laughing and shooting the breeze. 

 

Somewhere along the way - in between our third time listening to Despacito - I drew a blank when Stephanie started a new topic...

 

She began talking about her experience being a new mom - her fears, excitement, intense joy and the big questions: Breastfeeding? Sleep Patterns? Growth Spurts? Tummy Time?

 

What the heck are these things?! I didn't know what to say. 

 

Full disclosure - I don't know a lot about babies. My brother and I are pretty close in age. I never really babysat. You could say I'm clueless. 

 

So when Stephanie talked about the tough stuff, I nodded my head and imagined what it was like to be her. 

 

To be honest, during the conversation I kind of freaked out. I thought I might never have the same closeness with Stephanie as I had before - I mean our lives are so DIFFERENT now - how could I possibly *get* what she's going through? 

 

After a few minutes of me listening she said, "I just want to thank YOU because I feel like you're really with me on this journey." 

 

I thought to myself, "What?!" 

 

I looked at her like she had three heads and said, "But I'm not really *doing* anything. I have no idea what to say about babies." 

 

She then said, "The thing you're doing is just BEING there...And that's what I really need."

 

I let her comments sink in as I kept my eyes on the road and thought of friendship, relationships and the way people's lives change.

 

Sometimes we make the mistake of distancing ourselves, giving canned answers or something worse - avoiding the people we love - out of fear of not saying the "RIGHT" thing. 

 

But, we don't have to know *exactly* what someone is going through to be a good friend. 

 

You don't have to say the "perfect thing."

 

You can just show up, listen and let them know you're there. 

 

You can relate to your best friend's fear - your sister's self doubt - your brother's excitement - your mom's frustration  - whatever it is, you can just show up, ask questions and be there. 

 

"How are you feeling?" 

 

"What's that been like for you?" 

 

"Tell me everything." 

 

You can even disagree with some of their choices. 

 

Stephanie and I spent the remainder of the ride talking. I didn't feel like I had to have the perfect response to everything. 

 

I felt closer to my friend. 

 

And I was probably a much BETTER friend because I'd let go of perfectionism.

 

Transitions happen and you're not ALWAYS going to be on the same page with someone at the same time. 

 

Just showing up with an open heart is enough. 

 

And who knows? You may even learn a thing or two about something you don't know - even tummy time :) 

 

Here's to showing up. 

 

I'd love to hear from YOU! What's ONE thing YOU can do to let your friend, colleague, family member, boyfriend or girlfriend know you're THERE? 

 

Commit to at least one thing and write in the comments below!