Last week, a close of friend of mine had a rough few days. She’d received some unexpected news, had to make a difficult decision, and was struggling with the best path to take. She didn’t announce her dilemma to her friends, or post it on Facebook, or write about it on Twitter. She chose to confide in me, and I couldn’t have been more touched.
I felt awful for my friend, because it hurts me to see her sad. And yet I was deeply moved that she felt she could share her problems with me. We talked a couple of times, and I offered comfort and advice, and I was relieved and delighted when my words seemed to help.
My friend thanked me profusely over the days that followed, but I kept telling her to shut up and keep her thanks to herself. What she didn’t realise was that it was me who felt grateful for being given the opportunity to help her. There is nothing more gratifying than supporting someone you love, particularly when they’ve helped you so much themselves.
Too often I fail dismally when trying to help my loved ones. My twelve year old will talk to me about some mean kid at school, and I’ll say, “Why don’t you try laughing and saying ‘Yeah, whatever, dude,’ and he’ll say, “Mum, you don’t get it, that doesn’t work in this day and age,” like I’m 170 years old, and went to school in the 18th century.
My husband will mention some big problem at work and I’ll say “Well, can’t you just call the Minister and ask for a favour?” and he’ll roll his eyes and say, “No, Kerri, that’s not really how the architecture industry works.”
Or my mum will tell me about an issue with a friend and I’ll say “You should ring her right now and tell her how much she’s upset you,” and she’ll say, “Her mother just died and her son is getting divorced, I’m not really sure that’s appropriate.”
So you can imagine how much it meant to me when my friend genuinely valued my advice.
A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday, and my ten year old gave me a present. It was a hand-knitted mobile-phone holder, which was lovely (if slightly unusual), but what really got to me was her card.
You always give me good advice and help me with my problems, she wrote. I love you.
Never have I felt more loved or proud of myself. It was the best birthday message ever.
Twitter – http://twitter.com/KerriSackville