For most of my life, I’ve wished that I had some sort of a handbook for being a friend. I think I do a pretty decent job (although, I suppose you’d have to check with my friends on that one), but there’s no way to be there for someone perfectly all the time.
I mean, how many times have I told a friend I knew how they felt without really having any idea whatsoever?
How many times have I just jumped to giving advice and solving the problem when all they needed was a sounding board?
How many times did I know someone was struggling, but I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything at all?
The truth is that there’s no perfect way to be a friend, and that’s especially true when you’re trying to help a friend admit they need help, seek that help, get the help, and manage their recovery. There are way too many variables in play.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little guide for that journey?
That’s why we created the Be A Friend resources.
“Make a fist. Now I want you to punch the air!” yelled Dr. Lin.
“Was this what you do in therapy? What is the point of this?” I kept thinking. I sat there reluctantly, refusing to have a fake fight with the wind blowing from the ceiling fan. This was pointless, and I just wanted to leave.
“I don’t feel like it. I’m not angry, and I don’t need to be talking to you.” I cowered back. This short, impatient man was not going to waste my time. I was in a state of too much denial and self loathing to accept that I needed help. I may not have been externally angry, but there was no question I was angry with myself.
Needless to say, my first therapy appointment was a total disaster. The reason my parents had forced me to talk to a psychologist was because I was deciding whether I was going to transfer high schools in the middle of ninth grade. Before making the investment to send me to private school 20 miles away, they wanted to make sure this was the right decision.
Upon reflection, it was really not that much of a surprise that I had been the target of so much bullying. As far as middle school went, I had failed in pretty much every way possible to be cool. I was overweight, unathletic (and worse didn’t even know things about sports), musically talented, an unbelievable push-over, and worst of all, Jewish. At my middle school in northern NJ being anything but white, athletic and Christian was more or less a death sentence on the middle school social totem-pole.