Who Do You Call When You’re Sad, Excited, or Sh*t Just Hit The Fan?
In the past week few weeks @thedrmoore and I have been chatting and she mentioned that she’s always said “you have to know who to tell what to”. It was one of her earlier lessons through friendships and relationships. But with SO many ways to reach out to someone today through technology (more on that later) and the desire for others to be so accessible to use, how do we know WHO to talk to? So as wonderful as LaTanya is, she shared her thoughts and below is a collaboration of the minds.
Though some people brag about having that ONE person they can tell anything and everything to others must pick and choose topics that they want to share. I laughed and made my usual Grey’s Anatomy reference to having “YOUR PERSON” but its not just a thing on a tv show and not everyone has it. It is SO important to have multiple people in your life who provide what you need (and hopefully we can reciprocate). We all have innate needs as it relates to the types of support we gain from others. For some this may mean significant feedback, advice, and validation. For others, this could indicate just a listening ear with no response warranted.
This concept actually sounds like a communication skill. After all, we have been taught for years that there is an art to communication, no matter who you are conversing with. However, this is more about your intrinsic needs from relationships, friendships, overall conversations with others and compassion. How do we get it? Who do we give it to?
Simply put, it is knowing where to go to get what you need OR picking the right person at the right place at the right time for the right issue or situation.
In therapy, we often ask “Who are your natural supports”, the people you would turn to if you were in need. We realize as therapists how important this concept is for any person who will face challenges at some point thus it is not limited to clients but ourselves as well (or any living person for that matter).
To gain access to what you really need from others, you must identify what your needs are and set boundaries on how you provide them as well as how you ask for them. If you identify the need for a motivating person who is supportive and becomes excited on the other end of the phone then that’s fantastic! If you identify the need for someone who challenges your way of thinking and offers new ideas/thoughts, that is great as well. The important part here is seeking to gain essentials from someone who has the capacity to provide it instead of setting yourself up for disappointment by consistently contacting someone who does not provide what you need.
I mean, we’ve all been on the phone with someone who you really just want to listen, but they end up “one upping” you in some way. Not helpful at the time right? And let’s be clear this could be your BEST friend or your significant other if the timing isn’t right or someone’s having a bad day. Or we have the friend who we know we usually can call at any time that lends the BEST advice, but maybe we also know that person is going through something tough right now. Can we really expect them to provide the usual support at the expense of their own headspace?
We like to think of this in a practical way by considering who should be contacted if various services were warranted. If we needed someone to give us an estimate on cutting our grass, we would call a landscaper. However, if we needed someone to cut our hair, we would call a salon. Choosing to contact a landscaper to cut our hair would not provide the results we’re searching for to be effective. It is the same concept with gaining gratification for intrinsic needs. If you need someone to motivate you, call a friend or partner who is motivating and inspirational but know that Timing. Is. Everything. When you want feedback and recommendations, go to the person who you best can guess will provide those things. If you need support from someone who has experienced a situation, contact someone who has been there and done that! But in that, remember that if those people don’t provide you with what you’re searching for that perhaps they are just doing the best they can with what they have to work with for that day. Or maybe you just realize THAT person isn’t the one to go to for THAT thing you seek. Both are okay.
Now, this does not endorse having “yes men” in your life to rationalize every decision, gripe session, or poor choice to be made. Nor is it a pass to go outside of your relationship in an inappropriate manner and chat with someone who provides what you need! (There may be some communication and/or relationship work to be done there if that’s what you’re thinking.) But it does mean being cognizant of how relationships and friendships meet your needs, conversing with partners about what you need, and intentionally reaching out to people who can provide what you need. Or on the flip side, doing some reflection on if and how you choose to associate with those you ultimately or rarely provide you with what you need in your relationships (and yes, that even means family or close friends).
It starts with you! First, identify your needs by keeping a running list (intrinsic needs may change with situations and with age). Second, look within since it’s hard to expect compassion from others if it isn’t a trait you regularly provide. Third, love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does!
A few Resources if this post piqued your interest!
My Co-Conspirator is none other than the amazing @thedrmoore.
LaTanya Moore, Ph.D, is an Implementation Specialist at FPG Child Development Institute/UNC Chapel Hill. She provides active implementation support at the community and coalition levels. Before joining FPG, Dr. Moore served as Clinical Director of a mental health organization, where she was influential in implementation and sustainability of enhanced mental health programs. Dr. Moore completed her Ph.D. at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Organizational Leadership. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in North Carolina and is an active member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Dr. Moore is the creator of "Driving My Dreams" goal setting and strategic planning webinar series. The series assists with intentional goal setting and action planning, creating a shift in mindset to align with skillset. Through the series, Dr. Moore becomes your accountability partner, providing strategic check ins and resources for success. Building networks, challenging adverse thoughts, and building momentum for progress are also objectives for the course. To learn more about/sign up for “Driving My Dreams”.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Instagram @thedrmoore
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