No Black Friday shopping for me. I'm so not into the hassle of fighting thru those crowds! I have several friends who just love the experience, but it's just not my thing.
This morning, nothing much made it onto my list of "my things" except sleeping in and taking it easy the rest of the day. I ended up having a rather odd night. After updating my blog, I headed for bed. It was sometime around 1am when I finally laid down. And then the phone rang...at 3:49am.
That is never a good thing. And as I jumped out of bed to answer it, my heart was just pounding, fearing what I'd hear when I answered it. Turned out to be a friend of mine who was basically having an emotional melt-down and desperately needed a shoulder to lean on. This is not a typical thing, mind you. She's called once or twice before in this state of needing someone to talk to, but never at 4am. We ended up talking for about 45 minutes. It's tough to be jarred awake at that hour and be fully present and helpful, so I was relieved at the end of the conversation to hear her say that I'd actually helped a lot. She and I are not the "closest" of friends, but friends none the less. We don't see each other all that often, but the times we do spend together are pleasant. My anxiety about the friendship is that we don't see eye to eye on things. Not that I do with all my friends, and its not a requirement to agree on everything. But she often asks for my advice, and I feel like my view runs very contrary to how she sees herself and her life. It leaves me feeling rather hog-tied. She didn't ask me to help her make any decisions, thankfully. She just asked me to help her get some clarity, and get a handle on her emotions. She felt stuck, and panic-stricken, and in one of those whirlpools of black emotional abyss. We talked, and I asked her questions, and reminded her of some things she's taught me over the years. I told her how I could relate, and what I did when I felt similar things, and what got me out of it. She was thankful, had a few Ah-Ha! moments, and sounded genuinely relieved by the end of the conversation.
I'm glad she called, despite the time. I'm glad I could help. But I would like to tell her a whole lot more. I don't know if my solutions would solve her problems, but I often feel like she is being particularly blind to her own contribution to her problems, and her seeming unwillingness to acknowledge the legitimacy of the other person's complaints.....how do I say "You are being very selfish here! *** has real complaints that you are ignoring out of spite, fear or childishness. Your "position" on this is selfish and unproductive, and if you really want a relationship built on trust, mutual happiness, and respect, then what you are doing won't get you there".
But she didn't call for my opinion. She called for a shoulder to cry on. She called because she was in a near-panic attack. She called for understanding and empathy and kindness. And all I really did was tell her how I handle it when I have feelings that are overwhelming and which I'm stuck in.
Can I really call that help?
Reading this post, and re-thinking how I handled it...I feel like I sold out. I feel like I let her down, cuz I didn't give her the cold, hard truth. I didn't tell her what I really thought about the situation. Strangely enough, when she describes the situation, I often feel like she's telling it to me from the other person's perspective, and I think "If that's how you see this, then how do you even have a leg to stand on?!? You just made their point!!"
Sounds crazy, doesn't it?
What am I missing here? Anyone? Thoughts?