it's awkward being silent when a friend is talking.
After all, most people live in societies in which silence
is not a valued trait of a friend. After all,
friends share--thoughts, ideas, feelings, fears. We
share our reactions and our pain and our dreams, and the
only way to do that really is through speech, isn't it?
we also like to give advice. We tell ourselves that
it's because we're friends, but the bottom line is that
all advice is at the very, very bottom an attempt to
control another person's actions in the hope that the
person will have a positive experience as the result of
one of the best things we can do for an alcoholic friend
often is to let that person hit rock bottom.
Sometimes the best thing we can do for a friend who is
hurting is simply to listen, without offering any advice
at all. We usually can't pull another person out of
a depression, but we can be there to listen when that
friend needs to work things out aloud. We can't fix
a friend's marriage, but if we're quiet that friend may be
able to come up with a course of action on his or her own
just by putting into words the feelings or fears that he
or she is experiencing.
be there for our friends, but being there for them doesn't
necessarily mean fixing their problems for them.
Sometimes being there is simply being there, without
advice, without any suggestions. It's difficult to
do, but it can be one of the most important skills we can