I believe in being a shoulder to cry on.
Being the baby in the family, I was never the person listening but the person talking. My siblings were always there for me, no matter how ridiculous my problem was. My attempts at trying to articulate my predicaments to one of my sisters or my brother through the uncontrollable sobs have helped cement this belief.
The time when my unsuspecting brother called for the fruit pizza recipe reminds me that all you need is an ear that is willing to listen and an occasional pat on the back to help comfort. As I was telling him the last of the directions, my voice quivered. It could not be helped; I was in junior school and every problem is life-or-death. Even though we are not the closest of siblings, he was there for me when I needed someone. He allowed time for his ears to be filled with middle school drama and had advice handy to help me through this “bleak” time.
My siblings may have left the house, but luckily for me, they are only a phone call away. Now, it is my turn to allow someone to use my shoulder to cry on. Even though I may have not experienced much more than the person confiding in me, my ears are always willing to listen. The responsibility that comes with being there for someone is not only the sporadic comments to let them know you are paying attention, but the understood tacit law of silence.
My first memorable run-in with being there for a friend was eighth grade. My friends and I were doing our hair and make-up, the few cosmetics we were allowed to wear, when she came storming into the room. She blurted out her story along with some tears, and we all comforted her to our best capabilities. We gave advice and tried to calm her down. The story I heard was one that made a huge impact on my life but has never been repeated to anyone.
Being on the receiving side of the story, allowed me to realize why my siblings listened. It is not to make us feel better about our lives; it is not the feeling of importance because they chose to tell you; it is the sheer act of being there for someone. Allowing someone to get their tears and boogers on you is a great reminder that the world does not revolve around you. Besides the Beatles said it best with “I get by with a little help from my friends.”