I’m just gonna jump right into this one before I forget:
1. The Please-Just-Listener (The PJL). The PJL does just that: listen. No more words than, “right,” “uh-hun,” and “okay.” The PJL validates your feelings by being non-judgmental and by not, under any circumstances, giving advice. Sometimes a depressed person needs to just talk and talk and talk about how you have no idea what is going on, and how you don’t know why you’re are sad, and how very sad you are. All without interruptions.
2. The Shoulder-to-Snot-on (The SOS-o). Kind of like the PJL, but this person doesn’t mind tears and snotbeing on their clothing. The SOS-o holds you when there are no words and only tears…and snot. The SOS-o makes sure you have tissues, and sometimes the SOS-o is bawling right there with you. The SOS-o actually feels your pain and participates in it. The SOS-o is not a wallow-er. The SOS-o is the strength that holds you just where you are.
3. The Get-Ish-Done-er (The GID). Sometimes, you need someone to put your fears in perspective. The GID isn’t the one saying “everyone goes through this,” because that is supremely unhelpful, and the GID is supremely helpful. The Prag is a little like your friendly therapist, Cognitive Behavioral-style. They help you decide what youare going to cook for dinner, what you’re going to watch on TV, who you can call in the middle of the night when the demons are awake and you are supposed to be asleep. The GID helps you GTD.
4. The Troop-Rally-er (The TP). The TP is the one you can text and say, “I’m having a breakdown,” and five minutes later, one friend is on the phone and another friend is at the door because the TP texted them and told them to get on it. This happened to me recently and I was very grateful and very impressed. The TP can’t always help at that exact moment, but she knew who can — and they will. The TP is usually very well connected, and at the center of your friendship circle. And when they are available, they are often one of the other friends, most likely the Prag because you know you can count on them when the poop hits the fan.
5. The Plan B maker (The PBM). The PBM is the one who takes what you say as if you really mean it and starts making the Plan. The PBM is the person you tell that you REALLY hate your job, and they start working on the exit strategy, updating the resume, and printing out job announcements. The PBM provides the assurance you need that if you really needed to quit your job, you have options. A PBM got me to the ER the last time I truly felt like it was the end. She talked to me about how the ER wasn’t as scary as dying. And she was totally right.
6. The Get-Out-of-Bed-er (The GOB). The GOB is the one that shows up at your door but stands outside and tells you to get dressed and come with them. They take you along on their errands, to pick up their kids, grocery shopping, whatever. The GOB only comes inside if you close the door in their face, or take more than five minutes. The GOB will drag you out of bed, but they’ll be pissed and you’ll wish you just complied in the first place. The GOB might be the most intimately connected to you because you’ll do whatever they say, be mad about it while they are mad at you that it came to this but you’ll be on the phone talking about nothing the next day and feeling perfectly fine about it. And they’ll strip you and get you dressed if need be.
All of these friends need to be unconditionally lovely toward you. Otherwise, they don’t make the cut. And ask friends to be this if you need — recently, my GOB asked me what I wanted her to be, and that was incredibly refreshing. Sometimes she’s my PBM too, which makes sense cause she’ll do whatever’s needed. My TP asks me what I need, and she makes it happen. My Shoulder (in my case, my husband) is strong and solid and is the very best at not giving advice and just being the rock that is okay with a snotty arm. My GID loves tasks. And my Listener, the only one that is not local, has had that role for years upon years.
I lost this friend a few years ago, and looking at this picture reminded me that you should tell your friends how much you love them many, many times.
This post has been on my heart for weeks, so I had to get it out. Would you add anything/one to this list?