Leaning on friends when we are going through a hard time can be the most potent acts of vulnerability we can show. Allowing our closest allies to show up for us when we most need them can be a great way to navigate difficult emotions caused by a break-up or missing out on a promotion. There are some things, however, that a listening ear and a cup of hot tea don’t quite resolve. These challenges are the inevitable moments in our life that we need to accept that we might need more professional support.
Friendship is a Two-Way Street
A good friendship is all about balance, and the wonders of having a community of people around you to pick you up when you’re down is something we’ve been doing as a species since we crawled out of the primordial ooze. We are social creatures and talking about our feelings is a great way to process them.
Generous friends will listen, but there comes a time when a particularly tricky problem starts to consume that friendship and the balance tips over. It’s at this point your listening ear can experience burnout. What’s more, you may find yourself feeling like they aren’t interested in how you feel anymore which can compound uncomfortable feelings.
The Power of the Therapeutic Relationship
A therapist can really help. A clear and boundaried relationship where there is no friendship, and therefore no balance required, means you can talk about how you feel in any way you want, without judgement. A good therapist can even offer techniques to help you deal with how you feel more quickly or more thoroughly. A weekly or fortnightly session with a therapist will allow you to tackle some of the trickier things going on in your life and give you the space to nurture your balanced friendships and avoid anyone getting overwhelmed. It really is good for everyone.