Panda Hat: Differing Support

Photographer: Doris Juliette

Photographer: Doris Juliette

Some people are just good at those clichéd, late night heart to heart conversations. They’re incredibly charismatic, and they seem to have that special chemistry that allows you to open up without even realizing it. Their voice is a spectrum of reassurances and condolences. At one end is that protective, blunt tone, the one that goes “Whose butt do I need to kick?” or “You deserve better than that jerk,” at the other extreme is the quieter, sweeter one that holds you in its cadence while your friends look at you with heavy eyes that share the weight of the world with you.

With these people, their sympathy seems to strive for empathy. Sympathy is simply feeling compassionate, to feel regret for a cause, to feel fire for someone’s conflict. Empathy is when you take on that pain; it’s when you feel what they feel, and your heart becomes in tune with theirs. Regardless, they’re easy to talk to, and they welcome your vulnerabilities. But they can get so emotionally drained from that investment, so make sure you’re there for them, too.

It’s good to have friends that aren’t a homogeneous mix of the same perspectives and feelings.

I’m not even bordering on empathetic with people’s problems, and sometimes I’m not that sympathetic, either. It’s just not how I react to things. That doesn’t mean I don’t listen. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to help you resolve what’s troubling you.

People are a mix of logic and emotions; a lot of times it can depend on the day. It’s good to have these different ways of processing information, though. It’s good to have friends that aren’t a homogeneous mix of the same perspectives and feelings. Friends who challenge you as they support you are just as valuable as friends who comfort you. Friends who cry with you are just as important as friends who go through the information step by step to find how they can help make the message your positive.

I know I’m telling you what you already know. However, as college throws all-nighter after all-nighter at me and as life winds up for a curve ball… every once in a while, it really is friends that save me. The different perspectives they bring, the diverse mixtures of objectivity and subjectivity, interweave into a net that can give various options, countless words of encouragement, and infinite support.