Here's a question that I often ask my students:
How do you feel when someone trusts you enough that they
come to you for advice or help when they need it?
They almost always answer that it's a very good
feeling. Then I ask them, Do you really want to
deprive your friends of such a positive feeling by not
asking them for advice or help when you need it?
After all, if they're our friends, they want to be there
for us just as we want to be there for them when they need
Many of us have been taught to keep things to ourselves,
not to bother other people with our problems. When I
was younger, I thought that this was a positive way to
approach problems, for I kept them as my problems, and I
didn't make them anyone else's. Now, though, I see
that attitude as a selfish one, one that keeps our friends
from knowing us better and from helping us. A huge
part of true friendship lies in our abilities to help each
other when we need it, but can that aspect be fulfilled if
we selfishly refuse to ask for help?
"You don't give the people who love you enough chance
to love you enough." Wow--what a thought.
Relationships truly are a two-way street, and sometimes
it's only through showing our own vulnerability that we
allow others to shine, that we allow others to show just
how much they truly care, just how great of friends they
can be to us. I knew a couple once in which the
husband never, ever showed any vulnerability at all--he
thought he had to be a steady, trustworthy rock. The
wife's frustration at never being able to contribute to
his life was one of the things that almost led to the end
of the marriage.
We all have troubles. And the troubles that we're
going through, someone else has gone through before.
If we share what we're experiencing, then we allow others
to help us out, to give advice, to be the friends they
want to be and know they can be--if we give them the