Everyone wants a friend who they know will do anything for them. Maybe not commit a murder for you, but stand by you when things are really hard. Or stand up for you when you need them. True friendship, the kind where you have a person who is willing to go to bat for you, no questions asked, is hard to come by. But when you find it, it’s life changing. A recent Twitter post nails why true friendship like that is so vital.
In the Twitter thread (itself allegedly a repost from Tumblr) a student was perceived by her classmates as “dumb.” Mainly because she asked a lot of questions that could be considered “silly” or “stupid.” In spite of this, she still asked as many questions as necessary. And without shame.
Despite people believing she was asking “silly” questions, this girl was getting good grades on all the in-class exams. Of course, this left everyone scratching their heads. Like, how could this girl be so clueless yet passing with good grades? So the narrator just had to find out what was up. And that’s where the story turns heartwarming.
Turns out, the girl’s friend, who she always sat next to, was the one who actually had the questions. But because she has severe social anxiety, she couldn’t ask the questions herself. So she wrote down the questions and then her friend would ask them. And because she was helping her friend, the girl didn’t mind that people made assumptions about her. She was willing to just let people snicker and taunt her if it meant looking out for her friend. That is true friendship.
“I think it’s so important to have support from people who don’t shame you for your shortcomings, who help you during hard times and don’t embarrass you or leave you hanging, even if they could,” the narrator writes.
True friendship is doing whatever is in your power to be there for your friend. Whether that means asking “stupid” questions to help them do well, or something else. Perhaps it means making phone calls on behalf of your friend because they can’t. Or helping them to run errands to alleviate stressing them out. Some people have anxiety that makes seemingly easy tasks impossible. And those are without a doubt, the friends we need to be looking out for the most. But this level of true friendship goes beyond friends with anxiety too.
As adults, we often find ourselves wrapped up in our own shit. Sometimes that makes us less than ideal as a friend. But true friendship is being able to acknowledge those missteps. And not only acknowledging it, but making an active decision to be better. Making the choice to change is harder. Because sometimes we just can’t wrap our minds around being out of our comfort zone. But the only way to truly be a good friend is to put yourself in their shoes. Even though we don’t want to admit it, going out of our way to help our friends is hard.
Having just one friend you’re willing to make sacrifices for makes you truly priceless. Knowing that you have a true friendship, one where the other person is willing to help you when you’re at your most vulnerable, is rare — but it shouldn’t be. Because those friendships are the ones that bring the most to our lives. Our friends who will go to bat for us show us we are not alone. If only more of us were willing to support our friends unconditionally.
Being there unconditionally for a friend is hard, there’s no doubt about that. We’re human, and it’s easy to grow resentful of the needs of a friend. Sometimes their problems are so consuming, you feel like you’re losing yourself. But if you can be there to boost them up, why not do it? The key is striking the balance between your needs and theirs. Designate specific times to help them. And if they need you but you just don’t have the bandwidth, be honest. True friendship is supporting your friend through the harder parts of life and assuring them that their hardships won’t drive you away.
While we don’t know for sure, the girl with the questions probably felt like a burden. But clearly her friend was happy to take that burden on. She understands that you boost your friends when you have the means. That’s why she was willing to take other people’s shit for it.
The narrator of the Twitter thread makes an interesting point. Social media doesn’t always paint the most accurate pictures of friendship. We’re only seeing a highlight reel that likely leaves out the more complex parts of a friendship. So people believe that friendship is full of Instagrammable moments without any real substance. And some friendships are just that. Many of us don’t feel the need to publicly talk about the private parts of friendship.
Maybe you don’t need outside validation to know you’re a good friend. Supporting your friends, even when it’s not glamorous, isn’t something you do for attention. You should do it because you care about that person. True friendship is more than the moments you can slap a filter on. It’s showing up for them when they need you, no matter what.
Holding your friend’s hand through the more difficult parts of life can be draining. Having to guide your friend through the lower points of their life can bring you down too. Standing beside our friends when they need us isn’t always the easy choice. But when you care about them, it’s the only choice. True friendship is when you know something is hard and do it anyway because it’s what feels right.
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