Life isn’t easy and we all end up needing a shoulder to cry on.
Certainly, I do.
When things go wrong, we all need that friend who will listen and be supportive.
Perhaps you’ve had a horrible fight with your spouse and need that friend to listen without judging. How about that friend who will still love you after that terrible mistake you made.
And hey, if you’re reading this and thinking “That’s me. I’m Marie’s shoulder”, then yes, yes, you are. I’m blessed to have more than one.
Often it’s not who will listen but who is worthy of the privilege of witnessing your vulnerability. No one is perfect, right? We’ve already established that we can be imperfectly perfect. The problem is that not everyone can handle seeing imperfection in others.
Far, far too often we demand that others accept our imperfections while we quietly – or openly – deride them for being flawed. No one wants to be that person. Let’s look at those intolerant friends and see if we recognize ourselves in them.
Accepting Imperfection in Others
There are all types of people in the world and you may know many of them. When it comes to sharing your imperfection with others, you need to choose carefully. Sharing with the wrong person can be detrimental for everyone involved. It is hard to be vulnerable. Choosing unwisely can make you shy about sharing again and it can lead to a broken relationship.
The truth is that everyone is not ready to handle all situations. A person who has not yet embraced their imperfect side won’t rise to the occasion to celebrate yours. We have all been that friend who has been less than tolerant. Recognize when you are acting in this way. Let your friend know that maybe you aren’t the one to confide in at this time.
Then, grow beyond where you are and learn to be more tolerant.
You might like:
How to Deal with a freeloader (without giving in or losing your mind)
6 Types of Friends that could be you (but hopefully are not)
If you recognize yourself here, don’t fret. You can change.
This friend feels that you just aren’t sorry enough for whatever mistake you made.
She has a duty, she feels, to act mortified on your behalf (since you obviously aren’t mortified enough). Her shock and upset tosses all sympathy for you out the window.
This friend definitely feels sorry for you. She pats you on the back and shakes her head. The message that she is giving, though, is that that she’s very glad that she isn’t in your position.
It’s a very patronizing position that you don’t need when you’re upset and vulnerable.
This is the friend who puts you on a pedestal and thinks you can do no wrong. The sun and the moon rise and fall on your command.
When you profess vulnerability by sharing a mistake, of course this friend feels let down, and you feel worse because you have burdened and upset him. People who are put on pedestals inevitably fall off, and everyone involved gets hurt.
This friend doesn’t like to admit that he could be vulnerable too.
In an effort not to face his own faults, he doesn’t know how to deal with listening to yours. He needs someone to blame, and he will blame you – or anyone else – in order to feel more comfortable about your mistake.
This friend wears rosy glasses and pretends that the situation was not as bad as you are making it out to be. The goal – conscious or not – is to make you feel bad no matter what. It’s really important to realize that we can do this while sincerely trying to make our friend feel better. “Chin up. Everything will be fine” is rarely the right attitude to take.
This friend never wants to hear your problems except as an opportunity to show that she can share a better story of vulnerability than you can. She won’t be outdone. Many of us fall into this because we try to show how we can relate to them. To the person who is hurt and vulnerable, though, it often feels like “Oh, you think you messed up? I can do better than that.”
Being imperfect requires friends who are willing to go the extra mile. Is that you?