Why Do You Help Friends When They Struggle?

Do you want the good friend credit for helping out when a friend is struggling?
Photo by Hian Olveira.

Here's a question to ask yourself:

If you have a friend who is going through a hard time and you're trying to step in to help or console them, are you mostly concerned with their well-being, or with simply proving that you are a good friend?

Looking back in my life, I can definitely see examples of both. The giveaway of the less-than-noble intentions are the times when I have felt some level of territorialism over being the one stepping in. Where, if I'm honest with myself, I didn't want other people to get the glory of being the "good friend" who was there in a bad time.

Obviously, this crappy attitude (or craptitude) is rooted in insecurity. I mean deeply rooted. It's just jammed right down deep in the mucky fear that I might somehow be replaced because maybe, just maybe, I am somehow not quite good enough.

I don't know about you, but I really don't like it when I see the ways my insecure side influences me. It's gross to use a loved one's tragedy as a way to cement my position of friendship with them! It also means that my focus isn't where it should be: them getting the support and help they need.

Of course, it's never JUST about one thing or the other. Even when I have had this attitude, I was also genuinely trying to help out. I just didn't have the purest motives, and that may have shown in the way my "help" manifested.

As I get older, life is getting REAL for me and my friends. People have kids, they try to move with kids, they lose jobs, lose parents and other loved ones, lose partnerships they thought would last a lifetime, get sick, go back to school, and on it goes. Life keeps happening! This means I'm going to have to check on this motive more and more often to make sure my help is actually helping.


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