Here’s a post dedicated to everyone in the capacity of a loved one, confidant or at least friend, so I guess everyone. But I think more importantly to everyone who sees themselves in a position of influence over someone’s life – trust me, its one thing to be a loved one / confidant / friend and its another thing to realise how much influence you have on the other party.
I personally consider myself very influential to a few people’s decisions, not in a position of pride but that of responsibility. I also have people who’s opinions matter to me a lot.
So, very recently, I have come to realise the importance of blurting out your thoughts and line of reasoning to a “listening ear”. I probably always took it for granted because I had people at my beck and call to rant to, but as life will have it, that doesn’t happen as much anymore.
But, a few things I have come to realise are:
- At times, your friend just needs you to agree with him / her at that moment whether he is right or wrong – they already have their plan but they need an extra push
- At times, they need your opinion to make a decision – they may or may not go with it
- At times, they need you opinion and intend hold on to what you say as the final verdict
- At times, they don’t need you opinion, ideas, similar stories, explanation, consolation or sympathy – they just need you to LISTEN to the “crap” they have to lay down at your feet.
Of all these, 3 & 4 touch me the most. Each have to be applied as at when due
I believe one of the reasons people build a relationship of any form is to have a better understanding of one another, so they can act appropriately as at when due. Slowly and unconsciously we learn about the people we love and care about as we enjoy our daily lives.
They already have their plan but they need an extra push
Your friend Probably need support and back up. Most times, i believe these moments are backed up by some level of strong will from them and there’s almost no turning back. Either way, know what signals your friend passes to show this. (I had a friend who used to smile “sheepishly” when he just needs you to back him up) . As a friend, weight the risk and consequences on their behalf and if you think its won’t cost them so much, go ahead and give them the push they need. Let them know you support them no matter what, but you “think” they can give their hunch a go-ahead. Try not to pass blames if it doesn’t work out as they planned.
They need your opinion to make a decision – they may or may not go with it
Very easy. You hear “what do you think ?”, “you nko ?” “what if ?” etc. Say your honest bit.
They intend hold on to what you say as the final verdict
The scariest bit. Knowing that the responsibility lies on you to decide and hoping they will like you decision after it all. I believe for someone to saddle you with this responsibility, they trust you enough to decide – you are probably well experienced or you are gonna benefit from making the decision as well. This requires one to have all facts right to decide well enough. Put yourself in the shoes of the decision owner and do not take it lightly. Most people do not usually admit it if they are gonna do just as you say, but this is usually displayed by persistent asking, or saying stuffs like “what will you do, if you were me?” , “have you ever been in this situation ?” etc
In my opinion, these conversation just come out of nowhere. They come as a series of ranting and blabbing, as the concerned part just says it as they feel it. The discussion may not even be coherent or coordinated (thats to show, they don’t need you to “get it”, they just wanna talk). There is always the temptation to have a say but, Its essential to let their talk flow, give them a little squeeze on the shoulder or just a tender hug after it all. Thats just you job here!
I believe we need to listen more to the words that are not said in order to appropriately apply ourselves to being the best friends per time. Pay attention to listen and not just to reply.
P.S: This post was inspired by a friend who started a conversation with me last week and I guess he needed a listen but I gave him my opinion. If I could turn back the hands to time, I’d do better. But hey! there will be many more times!
Its close of work (officially), but I have 2 more hours of work