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Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

            I’m going to cheat a bit here.  Our chaotic move to Tennessee trumped blogging (and temporarily eliminated Internet access), leaving me many weeks behind topic wise.  Here is my noble attempt to catch up (not all the way up, but as close as I can).

            A few weeks ago, I asked the group if they are able to ask for help.  The next week, Moma Rock asked us what are some of our deal breakers when it comes to friendships/relationships, etc.  I let both topics simmer for a bit and eventually I came to realize they were connected, to me anyway.

            Moma Rock’s topic really made me think.  My gut reaction was:  trust.  If I can’t trust someone, I can’t be in a relationship with that person.  That was easy, I silently gloated.  I thought I was done.  But then the subject popped back into my head, and the more I mulled, the less confidence I held in my answer.  It seemed too simple, too pat.  Too easily could I think of an example of someone I called “friend” but whom I don’t totally trust.  Like, I can think of a friend whom I would trust with my children, but not with my husband.  Or friends to whom I’d hand the keys to my house, but to whom I’d never tell a deep, dark secret.  Trust is a funny thing, and complete and total trust isn’t easily earned.  Few have . . . but not all.  So I kept thinking.  I came at the question in the positive; I didn’t ask what would break the deal but instead wondered what sealed it.

            Then it hit me:  All of my friends have my back.  I can depend on each and every one of my friends to take care of me.  Maybe not in the same exact way, but in one way or another, my friends are behind me.

            I thought about the friends I rarely see – but those I know I can call in a pinch and they will be there in the way I need them.  There’s an awesome line in a Bon Jovi song that immediately (and not surprisingly) springs to mind:  In the years and miles between us/It’s been a long and lonely ride/But if I got that call in the dead of the night/I’d be right by your side.  That describes my friends.

            And that of course led me to think about my topic, about asking for help.  I’m not so good at it.  And it’s a shame, really, because I’ve come to learn that a great way to strengthen a relationship is to depend on the other person.

            Generally, asking for help fills me with anxiety.  I hate it.  Hate.  It.  I hate feeling like I need help, I hate seeming needy in any way, I hate imposing on anyone else’s time or resources.  Who doesn’t want to be self sufficient?  From picking up a kid from school or requesting simple advice, I hate to ask.  So I don’t do it very often.  And when I do, I try to ask only my closest pals, the ones I’ve known the longest. 

            But then I noticed something.  I like being asked to help.  I really do.  I like feeling useful.  I like lifting someone else’s load.  Most importantly, I like knowing someone trusts me enough to depend on me, to trust me with their kids or their house while they’re out of town or whatever. 

            And then I realized that when someone asked me for help, our friendship grew.  It solidified.  The request brought us closer.  It allowed me to show the other person that I?  Had her back.

            Yeah, sometimes I’m a slow learner. 

            Now that I am 500 miles away from most of my friends, the struggle to ask for help looms large.  I know it’s coming.  And I know it will make me feel all icky.  But right now, I don’t even know anyone to ask for help (other than my good law school friend, Alex, who lives in Nashville and to whom I’ve turned to several times in the past few weeks.  And she?  Had my back.).  But one thing I do know:  even though my friends aren’t here with me, they are still there for me.  I can call or I can text or I can message them, and they will be there for me in the way I need them to be.  I will ask – and I hope they will, too.  Because if I got that call in the dead of the night – well, I’ll let Jon say it:  Blood on Blood.


  1. Great post and I love how you merged the topics. Trust is definitely important in a friendship and I agree about the different levels of trust. Someone whom I trust to watch my house when I'm away isn't the same person I trust with my deep secrets. I ask for help when I need it. I also try to help others when they ask. I can only do so much though. Once you develop a community of friends in your new place, asking for help will probably come easier. Did you ever connect with the one friend I have in Nashville? I introduced you via e-mail.

    1. I haven't -- yet. I still have some kid-related stuff to figure out before I can meet my own peers! I was happy to even see my friend Alex once! It will happen, I know. And I appreciate the connection.