Here’s a real question for you. When’s the last time you really checked on your friends and relatives? We’ve seen the memes, the tweets, the Instagram posts, the quotes and whatever else encouraging us to check on our “strong friends”. Well, I’m here to say, whether you think they’re strong or not, check on them! There are a lot of silent strugglers among us yearning for encouragement and a glimmer of hope.
Disclaimer: I’ve been wrestling for a while with whether this is a topic I should be speaking on… mainly because, you know, practice what you preach. I’m definitely shouting at myself in this entire post.
In this day and age where socializing is pretty much restricted and limited to the internet and social media, we tend to go days and days without meaningful personal conversations. It’s all about the selfies and the likes and the retweets and the casual DMs and the memes. Oh my gosh, the memes! Believe you me, memes are fun and they do tell pretty good stories that we can all relate to but what about really inquiring about your friend’s happiness and well-being?
Sometimes, a simple yet meaningful conversation can change things; brighten a mood, offer reassurance, bring hope and cheer to someone who needs it. Oh, and definitely don’t wait for someone to call first, talking about “if they cared, they would’ve called”. Maybe they’re so deep in their struggles that they really can’t find the strength to make that call or send that text. We need each other to survive. Dare to be your brother’s keeper. We’ve heard that before. It’s such a cliché but it really is true.
Are you your brother’s keeper?
And speaking of brother’s keeper…that term gets a bad rap ever since Cain killed Abel…you know how that story went. If not, take a minute to read it, please. The truth is, we can’t be expected to assume responsibility over the actions and choices that our loved ones make. We can’t study their whereabouts and be consumed with their every move. However, we can be so caring and interested in the well-being of others to extend a wellness check. Check on your friends.
Asking your bestie if they’re alright out of formality is simply not enough. How many of us have replied to a “hey, what’s up” or a “how are you?” with an “I’m fine” when we know deep down that we’re far from fine? Ask real questions and seek real answers. Try not to stop at the small talk and the quick “I’m fine” responses. Get deep sometimes. Be specific and intentional with your questions and ask for specific and intentional answers. Really check on your friends. By no means am I saying that you should be divulging sensitive information about your thoughts and feelings to every single person. We should be wise enough to know who the sincere and real ones are.
Check on the strong friends too.
I’ve noticed that the likelihood of us checking on the friends who we know might be going through some things is greater. Maybe we know someone who is going through a bad breakup, experienced some kind of tragedy or experiencing some kind of loss. We are more inclined to check on them and it’s understandable. But what about the ones who are always the first to help, the ones who have all the connections and can get you out of any jam and pull you through our own life struggles, the one who has life all figured out, or so you think. Still check on them! Sometimes the so-called strong ones need a break from being so strong. It is important to consider that a full cup will become empty if we’re constantly pouring from it. At some point, you must replenish the contents of that cup.
Men need the wellness check, too.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that we seem to check on the females more than we check on the males. They hurt too. They struggle too. This is a whole other point that I think a man would be better at articulating… but here goes my two cents. Men are expected to be the head of everything, the tower of strength, the shoulder to lean on, the leaders, the providers, the protectors, the hunters and all that jazz. All these responsibilities and expectations have been placed on them and rightfully so, if you ask me. This is all the more reason why they need the wellness check despite their appearance of being tough and macho, wearing their whole armor of fake strength so as to not appear weak.
The moral of the story is simple. Check on the folks you care about regardless of how wholesome they may appear. Make it your mission to really be the kind of friend that you would want to have.
So here’s the takeaway…
be specific and intentional when asking about the well-being of your friends and relatives
be intentional and specific about your feelings
don’t just wait for someone to reach out first
meaningful communication is important
check on your friends whether or not you believe they are strong
guys need the wellness check too
we need each other to survive